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Time Crime

H. Beam Piper

Book Overview: 

The Paratime Police had a real headache this time! Tracing one man in a population of millions is easy--compared to finding one gang hiding out on one of billions of probability lines!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Why didn't you just borrow psychists from SecReg for Kholghoor, Eastern India?" Vall asked. "Subchief Ranthar would have loaned you a few."

"Oh, I couldn't call on another SecReg for men without higher-echelon authorization. Especially not from another Sector Organization, even another Level Authority," Vulthor Tharn said. "Beside, it would have taken longer to bring them here than hypno-mech our own personnel."

He was right about the second point. Vall agreed mentally; however, his real reason was procedural.

"Did you alert Ranthar Jard to what was going on in his SecReg?" he asked.

"Gracious, no!" Vulthor Tharn was scandalized. "I have no authority to tell people of equal echelon in other Sector and Level organizations what to do. I put my report through regular channels; it wasn't my place to go outside my own jurisdiction."

And his report had crawled through channels for fourteen hours, Vall thought.

"Well, on m. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Piper's time police story is an interesting creative exploration of the phenomenon of slavery across time lines and raised all sorts of questions about the propensity of people and cultures to take advantages of others. The very concept of policing multiple time lines and managing the intersecting i

This is longer than the other Paratime short stories, and features an interdimensional slave trading ring that poses as wizards. At least there's a computer in this book (albeit one that uses dials) rather than just slide rules! :)

I didn't think there was more than one First Level sector in the Para

Re-read this one. I read it years ago. The purpose was to refresh my memory of 1st level civilization and Paratime Police. I read all the Kalvan books a year ago so now I will read Paratime Trouble next which will go into the non-Kalvin troubles referenced in those books. Thank you John Carr for mak

It’s an imperfect book with interesting ideas and characters. Mostly I was flummoxed by far too many characters with little to distinguish between them, personal pronouns used often without it being clear to whom they referred, and far too little exposition about the world and society around them.


Punchy yarn about human trafficking between timelines, going on for ten years and possibly amounting to millions of transported slaves.

Verkan Vall and his wife Dalla lead the investigation for the Paratime Police, transporting between dimensions and uncovering a conspiracy of Wizard Traders that may

2019 grade Z = abandoned.

A long confusing story about a massive multilevel multi-time society. The time cops find an illegal slave operation going and set out to stop it. It was not that interesting and it was so confusing that I gave up when another entirely new POV popped up. I think I finished ab

A rather pedestrian effort from ol' HBP, this. It relies a fair bit on you knowing the main characters already, and the antagonists are pretty much entirely an "off screen" presence, which isn't really conducive to my deep engagement with the storyline. Not bad, but not memorable.

About five pages into this book I felt terribly confused, so did a little research and discovered that it's the penultimate tale in Piper's Paratime series of stories. Once I knew what the oft-mentioned "levels" were and a few other tidbits I began again and was a little more able to follow what was

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