Lusty, TV-adapted tales of Ragnar Lothbrok the Viking raiding and loving across Medieval England and France have not only given me hope for the History Channel (Please, let them move forever away from lame reality shows with truckers, loggers, or fisherman to actual history and historical reenactments), but gotten me rereading some Viking histories and thinking about a Viking period I went through in my early years.
I love history and wanted early on to be an archaeologist (and paleontologist). The Vikings are naturally cool to study and their riveting adventures dovetail well with discovering adventures, fantasy, and sword and sorcery. Nothing brings a Viking like thrill to life quite like Robert E. Howard. So naturally, much like a Western phase as Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger and a SF phase as Captain Kirk, I went through a Vikings phase (alongside my Tarzan, Conan, and John Carter).
But then my brother stumbled over a SF author named H. Beam Piper (of Little Fuzzy fame) and our worlds merged fantastically. He wrote a book titled Space Viking. This is the cover of the edition we had.
At that time, I had not read any of his other works and knew nothing of his “Terro-Human universe” tales then. I only read this book on my brother’s recommendation. We loved Space Viking. It was so awesome, so savage, so cool, that it inspired us to endless hours of play and the writing of our own “space viking” sagas.
My “space viking” stories featured Captain Sark and his ship the Hornet, with a massive ram-drill on the front for shredding the hulls of enemy spaceships. My brother wrote fierce Tales of the Merciless Bitch, which were rougher, more adult and serious space opera than mine. But hey, he was older, what do you expect.
The point is, watching Vikings on TV now I am reminded of the tales. So I am rereading some ancient lays and Norse tales, looking at my old works, and on the hunt for H. Beam Piper’s Space Viking, as well. Though it appears to be currently out of print, I am sure I can find an old copy somewhere. I can’t wait to finish reconnecting with my childhood and dreaming new tales of savage conquest amongst the stars.
For added background material on Piper’s Space Viking, read Joseph T. Major’s commentary, “The Wheel of Fortune.”