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The Cosmic Computer (Federation)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  955 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
During the System States' War, Poictesme was the general HQ and supply depot for the final thrust at the enemy. When the war ended, the buildings, the munitions, the freeze-dried food supplies, were all abandoned without a thought. Now the colony world is a poverty-stricken agricultural society with only two exports: the fermented products of their world's unique grapes, a ...more
Mass Market Paperback, Reprint; U.S. paperback Edition, 249 pages
Published 1983 by Ace (first published January 1st 1963)
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Roddy Williams
'During the System States' War, Poictesme was the general HQ and supply depot for the final thrust at the enemy. When the war ended, the buildings, the munitions, the freeze-dried food supplies, were all abandoned without a thought. Now the colony world is a poverty-stricken agricultural society with only two exports: the fermented products of their world's unique grapes, and the salvaged war equipment, now selling at about 1% of its true value.

And, persisting over the decades, is the legend of
Tommy Carlson
The Cosmic Computer is basically a story about economic development. It features the same sorts of hardy capable men as Four Day Planet did. It also includes a hardy capable woman. It's set in the same fictional galaxy, as well.

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
Short and almost pointless. Not the best example of H. Beam Piper.

It was just barely okay.
Patrick Justo
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
You know that asshole friend of a friend who is always going around telling people to read The Fountainhead or, heaven forbid, Atlas Shrugged as a way to really get excited about capitalism? And it always turns out that the only things those books do is to produce another asshole who blames his problems on everyone else being "moochers"?

Well, next time that asshole opens his mouth, tell him to read this book instead. This book is the most joyous, vibrant, exciting exploration of capitalism I h
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rex Libris
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book takes place in a "universe" that is a forerunner to the "Firefly" universe. There was a big war of unification/consolidation, and after the war the backwater planets are poor while the core planets remain wealthy. The residents of one of the backwater planets intend to better their situation by cutting out the middleman and to start shipping their goods to market themselves and keep the mark-up.

Meanwhile, there is always talk of mythical, super-computer that was used to win the war, an
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera
The planet Poictesme is in a deep economic rut: the original Gartner Trisystem colonies was almost exclusively an export economy, and when its trading partners gained manufacturing capabilities the Trisystem economy collapsed. After a long depression the System States War briefly returned prosperity, as Poictesme was strategically important to the Federation. At its sudden conclusion, the Federation forces quickly withdrew, taking their jobs and personnel but leaving practically all of their equ ...more
Well, this was enjoyable--especially because it was so compact! It clocks in at 190 pages, for a story that would almost certainly require 300 or more these days. Part of that difference might benefit the modern version, as a novel like this now would probably go to more trouble to flesh out the characters, who are, herein, pretty shallowly sketched. On the other hand, the tight length means it chugs along quite quickly. And the plot really isn't that complex, so added verbiage would not necessa ...more
From my lofty perspective of the 21st century, it is amusing how many classic sci-fi authors were able to imagine computers of near-godlike capacity... and yet never imagine miniaturization. I suppose the former follows, while the latter was dependent on advances and discoveries not currently in evidence.
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
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Oddly, Piper had a very limited vision of what future computer technology might look like, but the story is more about people than about hardware.
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
Shannon Appelcline
Piper's The Cosmic Computer is an interesting artifact of its time. It crosses a lot of genre lines, and the result isn't really scientific enough to be a modern science-fiction novel, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. Overall, it's an intriguing story of a civilization rebuilding itself, with some tomfoolery along the way. The characters are weak, and I'd like to see a bit more action. I also some qualms that the ending of The Cosmic Computer falls a bit close to Isaac Asimov's fam ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people think of older science fiction works as they would a star trek episode, ie stupid and uninteresting. However my immersion into the science fiction of the past has confirmed quite the opposite to me. This book is no exception. It is packed with both adventure and intelligence. Sure, H. Beam Piper couldn't have imagined what a computer would look like in the future, but that doesn't stop the reader from enjoying the book. Or it shouldn't, in my opinion.
Amusing, goofy space opera about the search for a massive computer not unlike the systems that would be imagined by Asimov in the Foundation trilogy. I listened to the Librivox edition as read by Mark Nelson.
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-text
Action-adventure juvie with socio-politics thrown in for good measure... Heinleinesque, if not quite as entertaining.
Daniel Havens
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found that this book was a beautiful piece of writing without a doubt. H. Beam Piper has the wonderful tendency to write all of his books in the same world at different times, and this book is no exception. Tiny references to the other works of Mr. Piper can be found throughout this book, with a background character here and a memorable planet there. These details are nice for long time readers, but what really caught my eye while reading this book was the fact that it shows everything about t ...more
SJ Shoemaker
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the most realistic and yet laughably cartoonish science fiction book I've ever read. The entire book revolves around a massive super computer called Merlin. No one knows where this computer is, having been lost to the ages long ago. No one is even sure who built it or what it's capable of.

The greatest piece of technology, more advanced than anyone's wildest imagination is about to reappear after a hiatus long enough to have it exist only in myths and urban legends. It could be smart
The Cosmic Computer, originally titled Junkyard, Planet is the fourth work I've read recently by H. Beam Piper. I started with a short story, The Return, which was very good. Then I read Little Fuzzy, also very good. Uller Uprising and this one, The Cosmic Computer, were both disappointing, compared to the first two. So Piper is a mixed bag. Theodore Sturgeon was right when he said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crap. That's because 90% of everything is crap.”
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind cool story about economics/moral choices based in a future where a galactic war ended and the economies of key places needed a reboot. Interesting result in the end. Not perfect, though. I felt it lacked characterization. Solutions to engineering problems came a little too easily for my taste.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun classic sci-fi novel. Set in the same universe as his Fuzzy series.
Manuranga Perera
retro-futuristic feel-good
Zach Miller
Liked it, not too great at anything, but its 1960s.
Terry Mills
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another good one!

Another good Si-Fi from Piper. I have yet to find a Piper book that I did not like. But this is one of the best.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, novel
Contains bits of Graveyard of Dreams short story.
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Classic Science Fiction from the Golden days.
It never gets old.

Sep 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
O, for the future that was!

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
Kat  Hooper
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted with links at Fantasy Literature.

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
Dianne Owens
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't posted a book review in a while due to studies. In lieu of recently cutting down on my workload, I decided to listen to Mark Nelson's Librivox reading of The Cosmic Computer, the fourth of his readings that I've had the pleasure of listening to. It is also the third H. Beam Piper novel, set in the Terro-Human science fiction universe. This is the same setting as novels such as Little Fuzzy and Four-Day Planet. I ended up listening to the novel during my walks along the ocean.

Richard Tongue
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of H. Beam Piper, and this, I often think, is his 'second book' after Space Viking, but though this is a good read – a fun romp, really, with the usual depth of setting that you would expect from one of Piper's books, I'm going to have to confess that on some levels, this is a rather disappointing read. For one simple reason – the protagonist, while likeable enough, never fails. He never puts a foot wrong, he never makes a mistake, even his guesses turn out to be right. On the one ...more
Rollie Reid
This is a book with twists at the beginning and end.

Conn Maxwell has been sent to Earth to go to school and to look for information on a Super Computer named Merlin. The story starts the day he arrives home. After all his study, he no longer believes there is a Merlin, but he has found information on many old abandoned military facilities, and that knowledge is going to make everyone in his home town rich.

Everything is going swimmingly, and they are recovering lots of gear, and preparing ships.
Carly Kirk
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story

I enjoyed this book a lot because of its acknowledgment that people are likely to stagnate while waiting to be saved even when with some effort they might change their situation for their own good. I also enjoyed how someone with an idea can sometimes effect change.
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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.
More about H. Beam Piper

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“To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.” 1 likes
“The fountains are dusty in the Graveyard of Dreams; The hinges are rusty, they swing with tiny screams.” 0 likes
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