Into the Quantum With H. Beam Piper

Paratime Stories 4-up

I’m delighted to announce that I have my first article up on the online magazine, “Black Gate.” It’s about H. Beam Piper’s stories of time  and multiple-reality travel. This subject is near and dear to my heart and my thinking seems to align pretty closely to Piper’s in many ways. One of the books I’m working on, a follow-up to ANCHOR, is right in this line. But more about that at another time. For today, let’s delve Into the Quantum with H. Beam Piper over at Black Gate!

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2 Thoughts to “Into the Quantum With H. Beam Piper”

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds

    Thank you for your excellent article on H. Beam Piper! I had just been wanting to know more about him and these stories of time and multiple-reality travel, and you have given us a splendid (and admirably ‘spoiler avoiding’) overview. I look forward to your future article about two Paratime stories unfamiliar to me. I would also be delighted to know more about what you describe as “consciousness travel” stories. For, I had just been wondering whether Beam Piper’s stories may have contributed to C.S. Lewis’s conception of Narnia, Charn, and other worlds in what I like to think of as his ‘Narnia science fiction stories’ – which, from what you present, seems chronologically possible. And you have now got me wondering about the place of J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished Notion Club Papers in relation to “consciousness travel” stories.

    1. lucina

      Thank you, David, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! (Part two is on the way.) Consciousness travel is a very lush topic that I hope to talk a great deal more about in the future. This type of story goes back a long way. We see it in the science fantasy/scientific romance/early science fiction of the early 20th C. and even back to the 19th C. Burroughs used it to get John Carter to Barsoom, Edwin Arnold used it in “Lieut. Gulliver Jones” (1905), David Lindsay in “A Voyage to Arcturus” (1920), and Olaf Stapledon in “Star Maker” (1937). The world of early science fiction is immersed in the supernatural and much less rigidly “scientific” that what we see today (a pity, in my opinion.) When you take a broad look across the mid-20 C fields of science fiction/fantasy you see, as you have noted, many similarities of theme. I have no doubt that there was cross-pollination between all the authors you mention. Why wouldn’t there have been? The fun part is when you start to notice some of the broader influences (such as philosophical) that inspired them. For example, how Lewis Mumford inspired some of the dystopian science fiction stories of the 1950’s.

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