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Preview — The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper
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The Cosmic Computer (Federation)
The adventure isn't quite as rollicking as in Four Day Planet. But nor is the tale quite as simple, either.
The reveals are decent. (One draws a bit from Asimov's Foundation.) The conclusion is okay, short-term, but isn't really a conclusion. But, hey, no one ever promised ...more
In any case, "Junkyard Planet" (I greatly prefer this title) is an unremarkable and yet perfectly competent little tale from the golden age of Sci-Fi. I had to look up whether this book pre- or ...more
At the core of the story is the economic upheaval that can follow a war, in this case an entire planet that was in a "boom town" economy during wartime, but in near collapse after peace returned, because the military had provided so much of its economic structure. He may have used real world cities within the U.S. as a pattern for this, in the way some ...more
H. BEAM PIPER is rather enigmatic where his personal statistics are concerned. It may be stated that he lived in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, that he was an expert on the history and use of hand weapons, that he has been writing and selling science-fiction for many years to the leading magazines, and that he is highly rated among readers for his skill and imagination.
His previous appearances in our collection includes a novel written in collaboration with John J. McGuire: A Planet for T
Conn Maxwell is returning to his impoverished backwater home planet, Poictesme (a nod to James Branch Cabell), after years at the university where he studied computer science. The leaders of Poictesme sent him to school so that he could learn about MERLIN, a legendary supercomputer that is thought to be located somewhere near their planet. They believe that if they can find MERLIN, they will have the info ...more
I grew up reading 50s and early 60s science fiction, and while I don't think I read The Cosmic Computer, it is definitely the future I remember. Let's call it Greatest Generation in Space, all the best of the 20th Century and none of the problems.
Mankind has spread to the stars, bringing along love for industry, exploration and exploitation. (Really, that wasn't a bad word back then, it just meant using something that's waiting to be used.) Many of Piper's characters a ...more
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 ...more
(view spoiler)[I didn't like Asimov's Foundation, simply because I do think that one single charismatic or genius individual can alter history dramatically - whether by political action or by some unimagined invention.
And while general trends may occur, I don't think that you can predict those trends, other than in the short-term. To think otherwise, to me, implies that the future is set and we can't change it.
This book takes th ...more
Frankly it is jarring to read professional women referred to as girls. Everyone smokes and drinks cocktails in Piper's books and the general sexist tone makes you realize how much this book was written in the "Mad Men" era.
There is also quite a bit of elitism in Piper's works. In him I can see the "great" philosopher ...more
There's plenty of adventure and mystery in this sci-fi tale which makes it fun to listen to, but a lot of the characters (apart from the super computer Merlin) aren't as well-developed and honestly forg ...more
It's plot is interesting and enjoyable and the way they thought about where technology was going is so much fun to read.