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News Archives - 2007

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October 5, 2007

Dear Friends,

The new book, "War World: The Battle of Sauron", arrived from the printers this afternoon. The book is beautiful, with an eye-popping full color star map for the endpapers.

Alan has recently finished the cover for my new War World anthology, "War Worlds: Beginnings," which will be out in a few months from Final Sword Productions in trade paperback. In this new series, all the War World stories (and many new ones) will be set in chronological order, which is not how they appeared in the Bean Books original editions. There will also be new non-fiction and War World history and background that never appeared in the previous seven books.

There are now three paintings by Alan Gutierrez available as prints from books by John F. Carr: "Great Kings War," "Queen Rylla's Crown" and the "H. Beam Piper Portrait" at the Pod Gallery. The last two paintings are of covers of upcoming books. The prints are of high quality stock, and, include choices of photo paper stock, watercolor glicee, and canvas style glicee. Glicee closely simulates actual paint on canvas. Prices start at $20 for an 11" x 14" size print; prints can be ordered as large as 44" x 55" - the actual size of the original artwork. These are beautiful paintings and highly recommended. I have several of them framed and hanging on the walls of my office!.

All "Battle of Sauron" pre-orders will be in the mail by Tuesday, October 2nd.

I'm almost finished with the first draft of "Queen Rylla's Throne" and expect to have it completed before the end of October.

John F. Carr

August 28 , 2007

Dear Friends,

Lots of news for this post. First, "War World: The Battle of Sauron," is at the printers. Alan Gutierrez and the graphic designer did a fantastic job and it's one of our best covers yet.

We received the printer's blue-lines for "The Battle of Sauron" this week and Victoria Alexander, Pequod's editor-and-chief, and I are going over them now. We intend to have them back to the printer after the weekend. "The Battle of Sauron" will be out and in the mail before the end of September.

For those of you unfamiliar with the War World series, this volume would be an ideal introduction, since it chronicles the arrival of the Sauron invaders on Haven, a barely habitable moon of a Jovian planet, Cat's Eye. It's a space adventure in the mold of H. Beam Piper's work and based on an idea developed by myself and Jerry Pournelle. Five War World anthologies (including "CoDominium: Revolt on War World) and two War World novels were published by Baen Book in the early 1990s. The new novel, "War World: The Battle of Sauron" takes place in the waning days of the First Empire of Man, a future history inspired by Piper's own Terro-Human Future History.

Ad Astra, a gaming company and publisher, and myself are working on new editions of the War World anthologies. We plan to reprint most of the older stories, interspersed with new ones, in trade paperback volumes in chronological order. There will also be non-fiction exploring War World and its peoples. The first volume, "The War World Chronicles: Volume I," will cover the early exploration and conquest of Haven during the CoDominium. There will be five or six new stories in this volume; it's scheduled for release in October 2007.

Alan Gutierrez will be doing the cover art and one or two interior black & white illustrations. A War World role playing game is planned for next year.

My editor at McFarland & Company wrote to say they will be releasing my H. Beam Piper biography next year. To quote: "Your book will appear in our spring 2008 catalog, which means publication in the first half of the year. It's too early to estimate what month at this point." I will post the actual publication date as soon as McFarland provides it. To my chagrin, the title has been changed to the very original "H. Beam Piper: A Biography." However, there is a good chance that Alan Gutierrez's proposed cover art (see Gallery) will be used by McFarland for their cover. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

On May 26th at 9:00 a.m. sharp the Irregulars' Muster met at the Waffle Shop on Atherton in State College. It was a small gathering of Piper fans, but lively with Fred Ramsey, Dennis Frank and myself in attendance.

After breakfast we car pooled and Dennis drove us out to Altoona. First on the itinerary was Fairview Cemetery. Having visited Beam's grave site last year we knew just where to look, right across from Altoona Hospital at the corner of 5th Street and Willow Avenue. Last year we'd "found" Beam's burial plot and it was thought that the corner Hospital parking lot was his former Altoona apartment.

Our big discovery of the day was that Beam and Harriet Piper were in the middle of a family plot, surrounded by the Maurer family members. The Maurer name (having spent much of the last year working on Piper's biography) triggered my memory and I recalled that Harriet Piper's maiden name was Maurer. The oldest (double) gave site was that of Henry Maurer (1829-1908) and Caroline Maurer (1839-1908): we quickly determined we had found the Maurer family plot. [When I returned home, I verified these names with the Harriet Maurer/Herbert Piper wedding announcement.] The only two graves without the Maurer name were Harriet and H. Beam Piper.

Since the Coleman's (Diane specifically) were involved in making the funeral arrangements for Beam it's not surprising they would locate him next to his mother.

There were a number of other Maurer grave markers, most of an age to have been Harriet's brothers and sisters. The biggest surprise was Father Raymond G. Maurer (1910 - 1970), Beam's cousin who was a Presbyterian priest! (The family was Presbyterian so it's highly doubtful that he was Catholic.) According to the marriage announcement, Harriet and Herbert: "were married at 9 o'clock this morning at the home of the bride's parents, 311 Howard Avenue, by Rev. John W. Bain, of the First Presbyterian Church." There is no mention of Father Raymond in either Coleman's "The Early Letters,"" or in any of Beam's diary entries... This was news to Don Coleman, too, I talked to him on the phone and he had never heard of Beam's cousin Raymond, either.

After visiting the Fairview Cemetery, our next stop was the Altoona Railroad Museum for a visit to the Juniata shops where Beam prowled the Yards as a night guard. It was interesting to see the actual Yards, which run for about ten miles! Altoona, in its heyday, was the center where most of the locomotives in the U.S. were made, and had a worldwide reputation for excellence.

Our next plan was to locate Beam's former residences. Since this was an ad hoc investigation, I called home and had my wife go through my notes for all of Beam's Altoona addresses. She located three addresses: 407 Wordsworth, 407 Howard Avenue and 1314 Eighth Street.

We visited the 407 Howard Avenue address first, which is only a few blocks away from the Pennsy car shops and rail heads. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to this area. It's close to Altoona Hospital which has cannibalized many of the nearby neighborhoods. On the 400 stretch of Howard Avenue, there was a parking lot covering most of the block and no evidence of the Piper apartment.

We did find some similar two-story row houses about two blocks away which were probably similar to the Piper apartment house. Dennis used his digital video recording to tape this (as well as the Piper grave site) for future additions to his website.

Next, we walked to the 1300 block of Eighth Street, which is only a block or two away from the rail yards. The 1300 house is still there, along with a 2+1 garage, which appears to match the original structure probably built around 1920. Since there was little need for so much car storage, I suspect the structure served as an early car repair business. The lot next door to the garages was vacant and the last structure was a two-story State Farm Insurance agency, which appeared to be of 50's/60's construction and thereby unlikely to have once housed the Pipers. We plan to do more research and see if more information can be obtained before our next visit.

We left Altoona at about 4:00 p.m. and drove back to State College for dinner, having accomplished far more than anticipated. We had a great time and are looking forward to next year's Muster, and welcome anyone who would like to join us.

In spite of the interruptions, I'm making good progress with "Queen Rylla's Crown" and will have the book written before the end of the year.

John F. Carr

February 28 , 2007

Dear Friends,

Yesterday the final manuscript for The Last Cavalier: H. Beam Piper was mailed via Express Mail to McFarland Books. It should be out within a year, with any luck it will be in print before the end of 2007.

The final manuscript (with chapter notes and bibliography) topped out at 121,000 words. I may have to make some more cuts, but it will be rough slogging.

As it is, I cut over 50,000 words and the appendix, although I added another several thousands words because going over all the material again gave me some new insights into Beam's personality and writings. Then I found a rare letter from Beam to Freida Coleman, written after his mother's death, which actually gave Betty's former "married name." I also discovered some priceless quotes that I'd missed in Mike Knerr's unpublished biography, "PIPER." As Ken White used to say, Beam was a "One!" Hard to get it all into one book... someday I'll do a sequel, "The Tao of Piper."

The Last Cavalier will include some great photos of Beam from Don Coleman from the 1920s, '30s and '50s, but they're snapshot quality photos and taken from 'old' prints that have faded over time. Certainly, not cover quality. Still, it's great to see Beam as a young whippersnapper with the rest of the "Unholy Trinity," as he, Ferd Coleman and Ted Ranck used to call themselves. Plus shots of his wife, Betty, and their dachshund Verkan Vall! The one taken on the Queen Mary, shot when Beam was going to France with Betty, shows little Vall tugging at one of Beam's slippers. It's priceless.

In a recent phone conversation with Don Coleman, he told me a story about Beam, who after coming back from France, showed him one of the shredded leather slippers: "Beam was pissed as hell, those damn slippers were real leather and expensive, even back then! Still, he couldn't resist pulling out the snapshot of Vall he kept in his wallet; I'll swear to My Maker there was moisture in those anthracite eyes of his, maybe the only time I ever saw them well up."

Unfortunately, there really isn't a good "full-sized" photo for the cover. The dust jacket photos from Murder in the Gunroom and Four-Day Planet are under 2 inches by 3 inches. So I'm hoping that McFarland will use the cover Alan Gutierrez worked up based on my ideas... We shall see. Go to the Gallery and you can see the proposed cover art for yourself. Alan did a truly first-rate job and I think it would make a killer cover. My first order of business, now that the Piper biography is finished, will be to make the final corrections to the galleys of the new War World novel: The Battle of Sauron. Then back to Queen Rylla's Crown, which I hope to have done by the end of summer. Right now we're hoping to have copies printed by the first part of next year in plenty of time for the 50th Paratime (the Penn State SF Club) convention and reunion.

John F. Carr