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Space Viking (Federation)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,231 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
When his wife is murdered on his wedding day, Lucas Trask launches himself on a quest for revenge. Using his personal fortune, he buys a spaceship and becomes a Space Viking, raiding worlds while hunting for his wife's killer. But raiding is not his destiny, and he gradually becomes a trader, starting to build a galactic empire. Before he can achieve his new goals, however ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 30th 2007 by Wildside Press (first published November 1st 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 18, 2008 Hotspur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Space Opera
Recommended to Hotspur by: found on Librivox
Shelves: science-fiction
A fun read, in that old-fashioned, chest-thumping, red meat eating and martini drinking fashion. I love a diversion into Space Opera now and again, and Space Viking is a fine example of the genre. The only H.B. Piper I can admit to reading so far has been LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN (a great alt-history type novel, the first of the PARATIME series), plus some well-executed short stories. Space Viking wasn't extremely deep; Piper prefers the bludgeon to the rapier on some of the points he makes, but ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
A sentimental three stars; this was space opera without too much philosophy...Reading his other stuff (particularly Uller Uprising), I found his politics laughably simplistic and increasingly tedious.
Jan 17, 2008 Kirt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read The Cosmic Computer and Space Viking.

The first is the better of the two, involving a man who uses a rumor of a super-computer on his home planet, once a planet-wide military base of the galactic Federation, to start a boom of reclaiming military salvage so that he can get a working hyperspace ship together so he can revitalize the planet by shipping luxury goods grown on his planet to Terra. Along the way, of course, he discovers the computer, which he thought was fictional, is real, and
Jun 21, 2011 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What starts as a Space Chase soon takes a back seat to a strange, demi-Randian commentary on governments and the manner in which they interfere with Strong, Sensible Men. Piper includes a couple of "well, who's to say" equivocations, but it's clear the reader is meant to align with the aristocratic Trask and historically-knowledgeable Harkaman, both of whom hold the opinion that if one wants to make an omelet, one has to firebomb a few thousand chicken coops. On top of this, seemingly the only t ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Anye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My other half picked this at random to listen to on a long drive via Audiobooks on his cell phone. What a great find! We now want to go read all his other stuff.

I kept asking when the book was written, since all LibraVox recordings are in the public domain, yet this book discusses hyperdrives and nuclear power and Hitler... turns out it was written in 1963 but it really feels modern and timeless.

This book is partly a store of one man's quest for revenge and how his life didn't really go as plann
Dec 02, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-scifi
Ok, so I’m a big fan of H. Beam Piper. Yes classic Sci-Fi requires a certain taste, it’s certainly not for everyone, and Piper was a bit more on the fringe of political discourse than many of his contemporaries. Space Viking does tend to exhibit Piper’s personal beliefs quite plainly, but it is so jam packed with space exploration and battles that it’s delicious.
Trask’s development as a character is realistic and interesting. Plus, I love series that span an immense amount of time in a create
B. Zedan
Jul 22, 2008 B. Zedan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Folks who—Shit. SPACE VIKING!
Can we all bask for a moment in the glory of that title?

With Space Kings and their Space Feudalism! And Space Amish (sort of)! It's interesting and I think another example of how Piper (like another favourite of mine, David Drake) pulls from historic battles and whatnot. The only problem with Piper is that his books are great, I just don't want to ruin a fun story for someone else. This one has revenge, though—and a space ship named Nemesis. Oooh. By this point in time, colonising is out, along
Nov 27, 2011 Doris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out well, but with a lot of philosophical muttering and self justification with what amounts to genocide. In the end our hero seems to wind up more on the side of the bad guys than the good guys, in a universe where achievement equates with firepower.
Baron Greystone
This is the first of Piper's books that I've read. Having seen his "Little Fuzzy" in bookstores over the years, I had no desire to check him out. However I recently read the assertion that this book was one of many influences on the Traveller role-playing game. Since I'm a fan of Traveller, and of the series of books that was a major influence on the game (EC Tubb's Dumarest saga), I thought I'd check out Space Viking.

There is a group of worlds in the Traveller universe called the Sword Worlds.
Rollie Reid
Space opera at its finest. Okay, maybe not, but it was a fun read and it was free on Kindle. When Lucas Trask's wife is murdered at their wedding, he gives up his estate, the Barony of Traskon for a ship and declares himself a Space Viking. His vow is to track down and kill the murderer of his wife. Things don't turn out quite the way he imagined. He arrives at the planet Tanith hoping to find his adversary, but what he finds is an opportunity. He comes eventually to lead more than just one ship ...more
Sean Brennan
Mar 03, 2014 Sean Brennan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, sf-challenge
I have always enjoyed Piper's Terra Federation books and even praised Piper as one of the unsung heroes of SF, but this I had major problems with.

Piper states that both Democracy and Government stemming from it are historically flawed concepts, I have no problem with that. Piper's solution is quite frankly authoritarian to the extreme and also contradictory.

"Then your democracy is a farce,and the people only free on sufferance. if their ballots aren't secured by arms, they're worthless"

Then lat
Keith Jones
Takes a while to get going, and I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t get through it. Fortunately, they got their base of operations established and started trading with the other systems in the area, and the story really picked up. The evolution of their not really planned little empire was entertaining. I also liked the story’s thoughts on governments and civilizations, centering around how all systems are corruptible and all ultimately rely on the goodwill of the governed. The biggest risk ...more
I listened to this novel as a Librivox free, public domain audio book. It is competently narrated by Mark Nelson. He's not in the league of the good professional audio book readers, but he's much better than some of the Librivox volunteer readers.

As for the novel itself, it is a fairly typical early 1960s space opera.
Aug 27, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Space opera cum philosophy.

Written over fifty years ago, but as relevant as today's headlines. The science is better than many contemporary SF novels, despite being written while we were still struggling to dependably orbit a man.

Great pen and ink illustrations in the Gutenburg edition.

Longer review to follow after i've digested this for a few weeks.

A great read.
Jeremy Tyrrell
Now this was unexpected. I almost put the book down after the first few chapters. It was sort of waffling about and stuff, then I realised just what the story was getting at. I stuck with it. It got good. I kept going, it got better. The treatment of democracy, despotism, feudal systems and barbarianism is heavy-handed at times, but this is relieved by some decent action and some more 'human' moments.
I couldn't really get into the characters, but I don't think it matters, that's not what the boo
Jesse Whitehead
H. Beam Piper did not write a lot of books. Little Fuzzy was the height of his short career that ended abruptly when he shot himself.

I've read several of his books, when I can find them, and I've enjoyed all of them. Some more than others. They all have a certain kind of 1940's feel to them.

There are a lot of men, very heroic men, who also know a lot of things and have a lot skills. Piper believed in the very capable man. There are usually women, though not many of them. They are always side cha
John Abbott
Nov 06, 2016 John Abbott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Space Opera...

Great book, love the old style of writing. Piper does a great job explaining some political views as well here.
Blake Walker
Jan 06, 2017 Blake Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Space Viking to add to my retro collection of sci-fi. Entertaining work.
Herman Gigglethorpe
This is my least favorite H Beam Piper book so far, even though this seems to have a lot of fans. Several writers have made fan sequels to Space Viking.

Space Viking is set long after the fall of the Terran Federation. Occasional privateers from the "Sword Worlds" launch raids on the remnants of the Federation and loot them for the Sword World nobility. Lucas Trask is about to marry his love Elaine, though the insane noble Andray Dunnan attacks their wedding and kills her. Lucas Trask sells his p
Aug 01, 2013 Andrewcharles420 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf12
The aptly named 'Space Viking' is about a quest for vengeance when a scorned lover murders his former love after her wedding and steals a ship, blasting off to the barbarous Old Federation planets. The true-love husband (of 30 minutes) sets off trying to stage a trap and find the murderer, mercilessly raiding 'barbarous' planets to quicken his plans. He civilizes one of the Old Federation planets as his base and slowly reorganizes the region into the new sector of commerce and activity.

The book
Jan 07, 2016 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I guess part of this year’s reading has been visiting the “old masters”. Earlier it was Heinlein and Delany, and now it’s a free e-book version of H. Beam Piper’s Space Viking. My lone regret regarding the e-book is that it doesn’t have the really cool cover the paperback edition had when I first saw it in Crown Books (I might have just dated myself with that reference).

The sound bite plot summary is this. The Federation fell years ago and some planets fell in barbarism, others near barbarism, a
Dan Cowden
Feb 18, 2016 Dan Cowden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-sci-fi
This is not a terribly deep book, nor is it very "hard" for Sci-Fi; about the same in that respect as modern military sci-fi, and middling even for the E.E. Smith & Andre Norton stories which were its rough contemporaries. Like much of Norton's work, this book has a mild philosophical moral to pass on -- one which may not resonate well to modern eyes.

*** Summary ***

The old Federation has been dead for centuries, and "civilization" (and the secrets of interstellar flight) were carried on onl
Richard Tongue
Jun 18, 2013 Richard Tongue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this review will be eating up valuable time that you should be using reading the book. So go and get it – for heaven's sake, it's on Gutenberg – and read it. You want to read the review instead? Sigh. I'll say at the outset that I am a huge Beam Piper fan, and Space Viking is one of my favourite books, certainly in the top ten. It provides such a rich picture of a setting, detailed in history and canon, but does it with none of that getting in the way, no prior knowledge needed, and with ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Annette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, gutenberg
A competent, occasionally thought provoking little look back at history presented in the guise of a far-future science fiction tale.
I don't often do well with "anti-heros," and therefore had a little trouble adjusting to a main character who is a self-proclaimed professional murderer and thief - i.e. a member of the Space Vikings who make their living by plundering planets who have lost high (and often even mid) technology. The story, however, made up for this highly unsavory profession by maki
Todd Martin
Sep 29, 2013 Todd Martin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I’d never heard of or read anything by H. Beam Piper, but evidently, though he was not particularly successful as a writer, he supposedly had an influence on the science fiction genre, though this book didn’t provide any clues as to why this might be the case. Space Viking was first published in 1963 and has been made available for free at Amazon (Kindle edition) at:

Space Viking is a short space opera involving the protagonist Lucas Trask and a search for
Thibaldo Manrique
This is definitely one of the classics of science fiction

I read this book for the first time in college. I recently fond it free to download on Kindle. It was a very happy coincidence.

It is a great space opera. A relatively short novella, but a great one at that. The characters are very well developed, the heros likable and the villains hateful. The women beautiful, intelligent and articulate, the men strong and heroic. The situations all resonate with history, in such a way that it all feels fa
May 27, 2016 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
My early SF reading seems to have missed out on some classic Space Opera, authors like Tubb, Piper, E E Smith, and Campbell. I started with Asimov’s *Foundation* and continued with Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert, Gordon Dickson and Samuel Delaney. So it was with great pleasure that I read this little gem of a book. All the foibles and delights of the genre are on display: big spaceships, real men, largely irrelevant women, derring-do on far flung planets, space empires, lone traders, space battles ...more
May 07, 2014 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, pulp-classics
Watch this space. THIS SPACE!


Okay, so this book has a lot to recommend it--even if the GR summary contains SPOILERS for events that happen (to be fair) pretty early in the book. But not at the very beginning, so. Spoilers. Anyway. Mostly a disquisition on the questions of civilization versus barbarism, plus plenty of space ships, space battles, space politics, space vengeance, and of course the titular vikings! IN SPACE!

Given the period in which it was written, some of the way cool future te
Nov 21, 2014 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Turned out much deeper than I expected. There is a Machiavellian subplot with an analysis of democracy. Some of the other reviews I've seen have said a lot of things that, now that I've read the book, really seem like the reviewer didn't even read the book. It's not a difficult read, there's no complexity to unravel. There are a lot of characters introduced in the beginning at one time, which can be a little hard to keep track of, but I believe it illustrates a point - that the protagonist is no ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Product Description

Space Viking is a science fiction novel written by H. Beam Piper and is set in his Terro-Human future history. It tells the story of one man's search for his wife's murderer and its unexpected consequences. The story was originally serialized in Analog magazine. Background Ten thousand refugees from the losing side of The Big War (The System States War of The Cosmic Computer) fled far beyond the boundaries of the Terran Federation and colonized the planet Excalibur. By the b

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Madison Mega-Mara...: "Space Viking" by H. Beam Piper 1 1 Oct 03, 2013 04:06PM  
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Henry Beam Piper was an American science fiction author. He wrote many short stories and several novels. He is best known for his extensive Terro-Human Future History series of stories and a shorter series of "Paratime" alternate history tales.
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Other Books in the Series

Federation (1 - 10 of 12 books)
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  • Ministry of Disturbance and Other SF
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“Vengeance is a strange human motivation --- it can drive a man to do things which he neither would nor could achieve without it ... and because of that it lies behind some of the greatest sagas of human literature!” 3 likes
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