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Oomphel in the Sky

H. Beam Piper

Book Overview: 

Natives of the distant planet of Kwannon believe that their world is about to end, and in preparing for the apocalypse, may be unnecessarily bringing about their own demise. The planetary government can’t overcome its own bureaucracy to help them, and the military is overwhelmed. Can a single newsman change the course of a whole people, and save their world?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ree hundred natives were cutting open the six-foot leafy balls and getting out the biocrystals. Three of the plantation airjeeps, each with a pair of machine guns, were guarding them, but they didn't seem to be having any trouble. He saw Sanders in another jeep, and had Heshto put the car alongside.

"How's it going, Paul?" he asked over his radio. "I see you have some help, now."

"Everybody's from Qualpha's, and from Darshat's," Sanders replied. "The Army had no place to put them, after they burned themselves out." He laughed happily. "Miles, I'm going to save my whole crop! I thought I was wiped out, this morning."

He would have been, if Gonzales hadn't brought those Kwanns in. The klooba was beginning to wither; if left unharvested, the biocrystals would die along with their hosts and crack[Pg 128] into worthlessness. Like all the other planters, Sanders had started no new crystals since the hot weather, and would start none until. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Excerpt: ...to come here and talk with you. Here is a chief of soldiers, and one of the Government people, and your words will be heard by the oomphel machine that remembers and repeats, for the Governor and the Great Soldier Chief." They all brightened. To make a voice recording was a wonderful...more

2019 grade B

Another unusual short novel or long short story about odd planets and aliens from Piper. It starts slow but builds quickly becoming very interesting. The end worked out well for the characters but not entirely smoothly for me.

Kindle Mega-pack edition.

I liked this book dispite myself. Is it a little racest, oh yeah. Is it short and realy has no plot, oh yeah. Liked it just the same.

A very short story full of ethnic paternalism from earlier 20th Century American civilizational progressivism.

Another solid Federation story from H. Beam Piper. So far I'd say that I've "liked" everything I have read from him as he creates some very interesting plot concepts within his science fiction universe.

Two things generally hold me back from boosting my ratings a little higher with his work. One...more

Piper is a master at taking complicated issues and dealing with them in a non-threatening way. If you want to you can look at this book as one that deals with social anthropological issues that were and currently are relevant to the way we treat so called "natives".

It's interesting to think about how alien civilisations would potentially vary psychologically and with political systems, rather than just biologically.

I give this Human Federation short story a reluctant 3 stars because it was well written. If it had not been, then I would have downgraded to 2 stars because it is an example of the use of a horrible double standard. The story itself has two main themes: 1) The incompetence of a Marxist style gov...more

Great little first contact story.

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