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The Cosmic Computer Paperback – April 21, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Echo Library (April 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406866474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406866476
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,465,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Great classic science fiction!
Gentle Warrior
The Federation is winding down into oblivion after the great war and one planet (Junkyard Planet) is full of war material and recession poverty.
Harry A. Pierce
The story is great, with an excellent mix of adventure and suspense.
Kurt A. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul Camp on January 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is a marvelous cover painting by Ed Emshwiller for the February, 1960 issue of _Galaxy_. It depicts a middle-aged woman in shorts and a halter, with her hair in curlers. She is sitting in an old acceleration chair and knitting. A ball of yarn sits on the ground beside her. Behind her is a fence and a sign that says: JENNY'S JUNK: USED SPACESHIPS, SECOND HAND ROBOTS. Inside the fence is a jumble of rockets, space stations, antigravity cars, computers, engines, and robots-- most of them gutted for parts.

I would not want to say that the junkyard is exactly a science fiction archtype, but it is not unknown. Lee Correy's _Contraband Rocket_ (1957) is about a group of rocket buffs who assemble a lunar rocket from raw material from a spaceship junkyard. Robert A. Heinlein's _The Rolling Stones_ (1952) opens with the Stone twins dickering for the shell of a spaceship at a lunar junkyard.

H. Beam Piper probably did the most elaborate treatment in _Junkyard Planet_ (1963), in which he imagines an entire planet of junk that has passed into the public domain. There are legends of a supercomputer named Merlin that may be hidden on the planet. The hero, Conn Maxwell, and his father know that there is no such computer. But in order to raise an expedition to the planet to mine other treasures, they must lie and pretend that Merlin exists.

Piper has a good feel for the difficulties and false starts that must be endured to successfully launch an expedition. He also does well with his picture of the treasures and traps on the junkyard planet itself:

They found the fissionables magazine and in it plenty of plutonium, each sub-critical slug in a five hundred pound collapsium cannister.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the best SF works I've ever read. The only one I reread and enjoy every time. I think I've read the book 4 or 5 time. Good story background, unique story line, and a narative that moves along at a good clip. You can really escape into this story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is obviously one of the best works that Piper ever wrote, with his classic beliefs on both government and self defense. In addition, it offers an in-depth look at the basis of the Terran Federation economy, and explains a good bit of the technology in use throughout Piper's works. All this commentary is mixed with a heroic story, tense battles and a bittersweet ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson on May 15, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Conn Maxwell was raised on the planet of Poictesme, home base of the Third Fleet-Army Force during the System States War. After the war, the soldiers went home, leaving the planet dotted with abandoned bases and equipment. However, one piece of equipment has yet to have been found: Merlin, the military’s rumored super-computer--a computer so powerful that it could solve any problem. Life will be good once Merlin is found.

And so, Conn is sent to Terra to study computers and learn the location of Merlin. Well, Conn’s back with the knowledge: Merlin only ever did exist in rumor. But Poictesme is rotting away, its inhabitants apathetic, sitting and waiting for Merlin to come along and solve their problems for them. So, Conn needs something to get Poictesme moving again, he need’s Merlin!

This book is another masterpiece by that under appreciated master of science fiction, H. Beam Piper. The story is great, with an excellent mix of adventure and suspense. In fact, the surprise ending will throw anyone for a loop. I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it to everyone!

I must admit one thing, though. The author did somewhat date the book, with computers that only communicate in taped-in machine code, and scientists who use slide-rules. But, if you are willing to suspend disbelief a little extra, you will be rewarded with a great read. So, get this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael S Jones on January 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We lost Piper well before his time, but we have great stories like this to remember him by. The action is fast paced and the story is one you should enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ShalimarTroy on December 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
H Beam Piper was one of my favorite authors from my youth. His stories often remind me of Robert Heinlein's Youth series, but a bit edgier. This story is a adventuresome romp with classic space opera motifs. The only grudging aspect is that it was written in the early 1960s and microchip was not even on the RADAR of science fiction authors. This tends to make the reader chuckle about many aspects of the storyline, if not ruining the overall story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frances Doyle on November 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though it's an older title and an older book it arrived in great condition from this seller.
It's one of pipers better stories, One of those rare paperbacks you end up reading cover to cover in one sitting.
Age old story of greed and power that gets to the most humble. Still a classic tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lacy R. Blanton III on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, where to begin. I first read this as a short story in Piper's Federation when I was a teenager. That story spawned many enjoyable hours of Traveler game play based on that short story.

Now, 28 years later, I find the story just as captivating as I ever did. Funny thing is that I work in the IT industry, and I never seemed to mind the "antiquated" description of computers throughout the story. It is so well written that those references and descriptions just seem to add to the charm of adventure.

If you like well written and straight forward adventures, then I highly recommend this book.
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