Item description for The Cosmic Computer (Large Print) by Henry Beam Piper...
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!
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.21" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.86" Weight: 1.29 lbs.
Release Date Jul 19, 2007
Publisher Tutis Digital Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN 8189952862 ISBN13 9788189952860
Reviews - What do customers think about The Cosmic Computer (Large Print)?
"Meaner Than a Junkyard Robot" Jan 26, 2008
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. There were repair-robots, and they only had to replace the cartridges in the power units of three of them. They sent them inside the collapsium-shielded death-to-people area-transmitter to relay what the others picked up through receptors wire-connected to the outside; foreman robots, globes a yard in diameter covered with horns and spikes like old-fashioned ocean-navy mines; worker robots in avariety of shapes, but mostly looking like many-clawed crabs. (111-12)
There are a number of effective twists and turns along the way, and Piper's main theme is sound. Sometimes you need a myth to revitalize a society.
Though _Junkyard Planet_ was written for a juvenile audience, it is comparable in quality to his adult novel, _Space Viking_ (1963) that was written at about the same time. It is solid, well-crafted, and intelligent... but just a little bit routine. _Junkyard Planet_ has sometimes been issued under the much inferior title, _The Cosmic Computer_. Buy it under either title.
One of Piper's best novels Jul 26, 2007
With the transition of much of H. Beam Piper's work into the public domain publishers like Aegypan Press have finally begun to bring Piper's work back into print and for that fans of Piper owe them a debt of gratitude. This novel, set in Piper's Terrohuman Future History, is one of his best. Poictesme (pronounced "pwa-tem") is a backwater planet, its economy crashed in the aftermath of an interstellar civil war, its surface dotted with known and unknown installations from the war. Conn Maxwell, freshly returned from computer studies on Terra (the non-miniaturized technology here will make some readers stumble), leads an exciting search for the fabled lost supercomputer, Merlin, that helped to win the war. In an adventure that takes us across the planet and into the local solar system Conn and his colleagues encounter pirates, Merlin-worshippers, wayward robots, and saboteurs before discovering a long-kept secret that threatens all of interstellar civilization! This is an exciting, tightly-written story that showcases Piper's storytelling at its complex and intricate best.
Other Terrohuman Future History works by Piper include Uller Uprising, Four-Day Planet, Little Fuzzy, and Space Viking.
"Thirty minutes to Litchfield" Mar 31, 2006
My favorite Piper novel (though Space Viking is a close second). I've read this over a dozen times. Solid plot. Excellent pace. Believable human characters. And the writing ain't bad either. Must read.
An excellent mix of adventure and suspense! Aug 10, 2002
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!
H, Beam Piper was a fantastic story teller. Aug 18, 2000
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.