H. Beam Piper

American science fiction writer

Henry Beam Piper (March 23, 1904 – c. November 6, 1964) was an American science fiction author of future history and alternate history stories.

H Beam Piper.jpg


  • English is the product of a Norman warrior trying to make a date with an Anglo-saxon bar-maid, and as such is no more legitimate than any of the other products of that conversation.
  • You know, it's quite all right to give the underdog a hand, but only one hand. Keep the other hand on your pistol - or he'll try to eat the one you gave him!
  • Count Erskyll said nothing for a moment. He was opposed to the use of force. Force, he believed, was the last resort of incompetence; he had said so frequently enough since this operation had begun. Of course, he was absolutely right, though not in the way he meant. Only the incompetent wait until the last extremity to use force, and by then, it is usually too late to use anything, even prayer.
  • Oh, he won't think of it in those terms. He'll be preventing me from sabotaging the Emancipation. He doesn't want to wait three generations; he wants to free them at once. Everything has to be at once for six-month-old puppies, six-year-old children, and reformers of any age.
  • Young man,the conversation was between Lord Trask and myself. And when someone says something you don't understand ,don't tell him he's crazy. Ask him what he means. What DO you mean Lord Trask?
  • Apparently, on New Texas, killing a politician was not malum in se, and was mallum prohibitorum only to the extent that what happened to the politician was in excess of what he deserved.
  • Keep a government poor and weak and it's your servant; when it is rich and powerful it becomes your master.
  • ...the other three were of a breed Verkan Vall had learned to recognize on any time-line--the arrogant, cocksure, ambitious, leftist politician, who knows what is best for everybody better than anybody else does, and who is convinced that he is inescapably right and that whoever differs with him is not only an ignoramus but a venal scoundrel as well.
  • There's something wrong with democracy. If there weren't, it couldn't be overthrown by people like Makann, attacking it from within by democratic procedures. I don't think it's fundamentally unworkable. I think it just has a few of what engineers call bugs. It's not safe to run a defective machine till you learn the defects and remedy them.

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