- Mass Market Paperback: 215 pages
- Publisher: Ace Books; Reissue edition (January 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441490557
- ISBN-13: 978-0441490554
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,837,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen
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Top Customer Reviews
Piper explores the ramifications of alternate universes and parallel time lines, and makes good use of his knowledge of Renaissance military science in crafting a fast moving, entertaining novella. He should have written a novel.
The two novelettes were assembled into a paperback novel, _Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen_ (1965). It's a good novel, but I can't help but feel that it is a bit incomplete. There are enough loose ends hanging at the close of the work to make me suspect that a third novelette was planned but never written.
The Lord Kalvan stories were part of a larger series of stories that appeared over the years in _Astounding/Analog_ called the Paratime Patrol stories. They involved an undercover police force that patrols alternate history timelines to squash skulduggery among them. Most of these stories were told from the point of view of the Paratime cops. The Lord Kalvan stories are told mostly from the point of view of Calvin Morrison, a member of the Pennsylvania State Police who is accidently snatched from our own timeline into an alternate history in which America has been settled by the Aryan races who migrated east instead of west. He begins to rise rapidly in this timeline. But the Paratime cops fear that they may have to kill him.
In the anthology, _The Good Old Stuff_ (1998), Gardner Dozois argues that while _Lord Kalvan_ was not Piper's best book, it was "his most _entertaining_ book" (305). This is a fair assessment. It seems incredible that Piper could entertain at a time when he was wrestling with his personal demons, but he did. Give this book your attention.
Perhaps the setting of this story prejudices me in its favor. I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Everything in this story occurs in North Central Pennsylvania, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in the lower 48 states. It is perfect territory for the type of warfare that Piper describes.
The story follows Pennsylvania State Trooper Calvin Morrison, who wakes after an accident to find himself in familiar territory, but disturbingly different. Everyone speaks a language he never heard. There is a piece of trouble and Calvin decides to help. Calvin awakes in what seems to be a castle. By coincidence, he has 'saved' the local princess. As he recovers and learns the odd language, Calvin becomes Kalvan. And, finds that his new friends are about to be conquered by some forces to the North. Somehow, the religious order that controls the production of gunpowder, and worships Styphon, is supplying the enemies of his friends and not supplying his friends with gunpowder. Kalvan applies some personal knowledge to make gunpowder. What follows is spell-binding.
Calvin/Kalvan has, somehow, slipped into a parallel time line. The result is unexpected by the only folks who know how to move from time line to time line.
Read the story for the sheer fun. Or, read the story for the philosophic questions that it raises. Either way, I enjoyed the story and recommend it strongly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Piper's story is one I'd heard about - glad I finally got started on it - excellent writing and interesting beginning to a story universePublished 10 days ago by William G. Rose
Piper's works were vital to my formative years and seem to have a truly timeless quality, ironically, since he wrote of time travel and alternative timelines. Read morePublished 2 months ago by History Fanatic
I have owned the paperback for years, when it finally became available on Kindle I bought the Kindle version as well. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David
A classic sifi book from an important voice from the golden age of science fiction. In some ways very out dated, but Piper was one of the first to work with multible universes anf... Read morePublished 4 months ago by E.P. McLean
A great blending of sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction. I first read Lord Kalvan when I was in middle school and keep going back to read it again.Published 6 months ago by Randy
Anyone who loves old fashioned Space Opera needs this book in their library, even though it has nothing to do with Outer Space. Read morePublished 7 months ago by _ Rick _
Along with Space Viking, one of the best of H. Beam Piper's stories. I've re-read this many times since first seeing it serialized in Analog science fiction magazine in the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Keith Simpson
This is the intro to the Kalvan series. And the ONLY book written by the author. As alternate histories go this is at or near the top since it starts at a specific place and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by wfm