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America in
Chains

A BRILLIANT IDEA May 15, 2007

That’s what we need, a brilliant idea.

A while back, I made an offer concerning the 1500 remaining copies of Forge of the Elders that Baen Books has on hand. I said that if they were sold relatively quickly, I would reward my readers with a science fiction detective story based on the book, and probably featuring P’Nan arbitrator Eichra Oren, his companion and “separable tentacle”, the sapient Samoyed Oasam, and their occasional employer Mr. Thoggosh, a sapient nautiloid or ammonite the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

Well slap my head and say “D’oh!” I have no idea how sales of Forge are going, but it suddenly occurred to me the other day that I might make the same kind of offer with regard to The Probability Broach: the Graphic Novel. I don’t know how many copies Frank Bieser (Mr. BigHead, himself) still has, but I’ll find out and attach a date to the offer I’m about to make now. I haven’t spoken to Frank about this — he’s finding out at the same time, and in the same way, you are.

As my regular readers know, Clarissa Macdougall Olson Bear, wife of TPB:TNG hero Win Bear, caught a cross-temporal virus — Koman’s Mitochondriasis — that even the advanced medical technology of the North American Confederacy can’t cure. Ever since then, the poor girl has been lying frozen in stasis until a cure can be found. I’ve long wanted to write the story of what happens to her. I have it outlined pretty thoroughly. But I’ve had other — more remunerative — fish to fry.

…Well, here’s the deal: buy up all the current copies of The Probability Broach: the Graphic Novel, in a reasonable amount of time (as I say, I’ll have to check numbers with Frank) and I’ll write that story, and present it as a gift — possibly on this website — to my readers.

Here’s another idea that will work for TPB:TNG and Forge, as well: why not buy multiple copies, or even multiple dozens of copies, and sell them from a table at gun shows and conventions? That way we all prosper.

Naturally the story will involve Win, along with Lucy Kropotkin, Ed Bear, G. Howell Nahuatl, and other characters my readers and I are fond of. Maybe even Agot Edmoot Mav and his amanuensis Mymysiir Offe Woom. I can tell you now that the story involves some truly bizarre aliens, and a view of Earth that hardly anybody has ever thought of before.

So the ball, as they say, is in your park. There’s nothing I’d love more than to write these stories for you, if you help to make it possible.

N.

Comments

1. al perez - May 15, 2007

Dear Santa Neil Claus,
Can you please, pretty please, write Will Sanders’ back story? I know I’ve been writing to this blog and TLE a lot these last few months, possibly becoming a pain in the fundament, and I don’t deserve this big a favor.
A man who has the love of freedom and the will combined with self dicipline to psychically move himself from one objective reality (Whatever that means) to another needs to have his story told.
I promise to buy eprint, hardback, paperback, and graphic novel versions.
Meanwhile my book money has been pretty much used up until mid July. TPB:TGN holds place of honor on my wish list. Will’s story if and when you get around to it is definitely on that list.

2. Dan L. Hollifield - May 18, 2007

Done!

Just ordered TPB:TGN, American Zone, and the copy of Lever Action Essays that I promised to buy before it ever came out. (Sorry that last one took so long, Neil. But cash takes me a while to free up, sometimes.)

If you’re ever attending a SF Con in my area of the Southeast, count on seeing me in the autograph line.

Dan

3. Curt Howland - May 19, 2007

That’s for those of you with no interest in pirates.

Isn’t that Amazing?
Fantastic!

Stand back everyone! I take large steps.

Sorry, wrong maid!

A word to the wise: Never fall in love during a total eclipse.

4. Jesrad - May 20, 2007

I can’t order TPB:TGN, BHPress doesn’t seem to ship internationally :(

5. al perez - May 20, 2007

Is Tor ever going to release The American Zone in mass market paperback? No way I’m “lending” my hardback
copy out, I got a feeling I’m going to need to replace The Mitzvah, again, and I’m not abput to go through this with hardback books ( last time this happened was in early Seventies with A Canticle for Leibowitz, back when paperbacks were less than an hour’s minimum wage). Maybe if the post 9/11 debate on public policy had been informed by this book we’d be spared the worst of the PATRIOT act, at least.
Maybe if Tor can be persuaded to release mass market paperback version of American Zone and we fans buy and promote our friends to buy or at least borrow and pass around our copies two things might happen:
A. An L. Neil Smith revival thus leading to rereleases of his works and Neil getting to sell new works more easily and at a bigger advance on royalties. This will keep me too busy reading to infest this website and the TLE.
B. Debate on how to deal with terrorist without giving up our freedom here at home. I’m not sure if we can talk our government out of butting in in Iraq and Afghanistan yet,
but once we take a few seconds to think we might spell out our interests/goals there and if running around shooting up the bad guys and the occassional innocent bystander is the only or best way to pursue them.
At least we can get more or at least expenable copies of The American Zone out of this.

6. Tod - May 23, 2007

Curt, that triggered a really unlikely picture of Mymysiir Offe Woom, G. Howell Nahuatl and Mr. Thoggosh all dressing in French main outfits singing “Everybody Oughta Have A Maid”.

7. Administrator - May 25, 2007

I don’t know about all that publishing stuff, Albert — that’s why I’m still looking for an agent — but I can tell you how the government should have handled “terrorists”.

Thanks to Ayn Rand, Robert LeFevre, and yes, Dave Bergland, I always take the position that “The State does not exist.” In fact, very largely, most problems can be solved best by taking the position that the _group_ does not exist, that the only entities that are real are individuals.

If we can believe the official story, that various Middle Easterners, pissed off at America for various reasons (you know what they are), hijacked four airliners and flew them into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and wherever else the last one was headed (and that’s a mighty big “if”), it should have been viewed and dealt with as an act of criminal violence. Those perpetrators who didn’t die in the commission of the act should have been hunted down like individual criminals and dealt with as such.

Instead — and this is the most charitable interpretation — it was viewed as an act of war, and unable to conceive of individuals acting independently of some state or another, the government started looking around for another polity to attack. Never mind that neither of the countries it invaded and ruined had anything to do with September 11.

Of course as we all know, the invaded countries had other attributes. One lay atop what was then believed to be the second largest pool of oil in the world, and the other lay across the route which oil must take from central Asia to the nearest convenient port. The fact is, the fascists controlling the US government today had been planning these invasions for more than ten years, and only needed a plausible excuse.

In the end, they even settled for an _implausible_ excuse.

Now here we are with the most gullible among us quivering at the possibility of a terrorist under every bed — exactly the way my grandmother’s generation worried about a communist under every bed. The cost to civilization has already beein incalculable, and may get worse.

I say, repeal the Patriot Act and the subsequent legislation that compounded its unconstitutionality, abolish this Homeland Security parasite on Lady Liberty’s jugular, and put everybody responsible for any of that on trial — Nuremburg-style — for their lives.

If somebody blows something up in the future, try him as an individual criminal and forget trying to be the cops of the world. There’s more fuel available in our landfills — thanks to thermal depolymerization — than in all the sands of Arabia.