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America in
Chains

ON THE COMPLETION OF _ROSWELL, TEXAS_ January 11, 2008

As everybody who frequents the virtual pages of BigHeadPress.com is aware, our graphic novel Roswell, Texas is complete, as of today, January 10, 2008.

The work, as far as I know, is unique, unprecedented in the annals of graphic novelia (hey, I’m an author — I can make up words if I want) and may also be the most detailed and widely-reaching alternate history tale in literature. I’m extremely proud to have been a part of it as co-author of the original story and principle adaptor to comic form.

One reason I’m writing this is to bring your attention to the indispensible others involved. First, my good friend and co-author Rex F. “Baloo” May, who came up with many of the more imaginative bits, including creation of a whole new language, Texperanto. He and I will finish the text novelo now, and we’re looking for a publisher even as I write this. Know anybody in the publishing business who wants and action-adventure science fiction western that already has a “fan-base” and over six hundred pages of graphic advertising on the web every day?

Next, I want to mention Scott Bieser. I can’t say what his work has meant to me. Twice, now, in The Probability Broach and R,T, he’s brought my settings and characters to life in a way I never thought could happen, and I’m more than grateful to him, just for existing. His brain and mine seem to mesh and the only really weird part is when he gets a scene exactly as I imagined it, only flopped, from left to right. His amazing art, especially in R,T has more than made up for the fact that, having started my career as a novelist in the Dark Ages of Political Correctness, I never got any scantily-clad maidens on my book covers. Wait’ll you get a load of what we’re doing next!

Jen Zach is our esteemed colorist, an extraordinarily creative and intelligent young woman whose mind and clever hands never seem to stop working at something beautiful or funny — or both. I have sat in the same room many times with her and my family and watched her crochet funny little animals, squid, octopi, and shrimp as she watched TV, the same way other artists doodle with a pencil and pad. Jen brought a magic of her very to R,T (see the rainbow following the Emperor’s Flying Boat as it lands, for example) I hope we’ll get to see again, soon.

Not to be forgotten is Sean “Zeke” Bieser, a naturally talented graphic artist in his own right, who did as much of the lettering for R,T as he could. What he may lack in years, he more than makes up for in extremely funny sarcasm, and I am certain that he will write and draw his own graphic novels for you much sooner than even he may realize.

Finally, we get to Our Publisher, Frank Bieser, whose adventurous spirit has made all of this possible. I only wish he could be up here in Fort Collins to celebrate the completion of the work this coming Sunday. We will send him pictures, however, and you will see them, eventually.

Now it’s your turn. We need two things from those of you who have enjoyed R,T or are enjoying it now. The first thing you can do is sent the URL to as many other individuals as you can, at least a dozen.

The second thing is to write us and tell us what you think about R,T. It doesn’t matter what: everybody likes or dislike something different about everything — that’s what individualism is all about, really.

Please write us a word, write us a sentence, write us a review, cheerful and flippant, sarky and snotty, long or short, superficial or depthy, John Waynishly straightforward or twisted and devious like 90% of what the critics write. Tell the gnomes who hand out all those Nebulae, Hugii, and Prometheii what a swell thing we’ve accomplished here. We’ll publish the remarks we like — and hate — most. We believe sincerely that the work deserves it, as it deserves a wider audience.

But then that could just be me, I guess.

L. Neil Smith
Fort Collins, Colorado
January 10, 2008
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Comments

1. Bill St. Clair - January 11, 2008

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve still got over 200 pages to read. But congrats to the team on completion of this epic work!

And here’s the link you neglected to put in the article (though I’m sure people can find it at BigHeadPress.com): Roswell, Texas

2. al perez - January 11, 2008

As I said before, bravo and thank you for a year’s worth of enjoyment. Looking forward to buying dead tree versions ( both text and graphic).
Really hope to see movie or at least scifi channel miniseries.

3. Dan L. Hollifield - January 11, 2008

Neil, I’ve been reading your stuff on Big Head Press since “Probability Broach: TGN” was less than a month in progress. Needless to say, I’ve been following “R,T” since the first page went online. It is loaded with your usual array of superior writing, imaginative ideas, and fiendishly clever humor. The artwork and coloring is supurb, absolutely beautiful stuff. The lettering is excellent – I don’t remember a single instance of confusion about which character said or thought what in any panel. The only thing I could gripe about is now the story is finished, I’ll have to wait a while for your next one to come out.

I bought a copy of “TPB:TGN” as soon as it came on the market, and I’ll be buying a copy of “R.T” just as quickly. You and Big Head Press are an amazing team! If anyone were to give my own fiction the Graphic Novel treatment, I could only pray that BHP were the ones to do it.

I’m eagerly awaiting your next project.

Dan

4. Ken Holder - January 11, 2008

WooHoo! I read the last page last evening. A feeling of satisfaction and warmth came over me. Good thing, it was cold in the office!

Onward!

Ken

5. al perez - January 12, 2008

Just saw thank you blurb on RT site.
Only 141 days ’til June more or less.
Xmas coming early in 2008

6. Wayne Grantham - January 13, 2008

I just finished my “week by week” reading of this fun story. Yours and Rex’s story and ideas are stunningly clever. I can’t say enough about Scott’s work, being familiar with it for a couple of years or so now. Prior to your comments, I wasn’t aware of separate colorists, but in my new awareness, I can begin to appreciate Jen’s work on the art.

Now, it’s time for me to read the entire story at one sitting, so I can extend my familiarity with the story, and with your work.

Meanwhile, be aware that I’ve written an invitation to my few readers to go to Roswell, Texas for a little while. it’s at http://www.colhogan.blogspot.com/.

I’m still waiting for the next story, impatiently.

Thanks, again both for many hours of delightful entertainment and a lot of reinforcement and positive additions to my own effectiveness as a writer and thinker (such as it is).

Warm regards,

Wayne

7. Brian N. - January 14, 2008

My feedback: Good job, man.

That’s all.

8. Eric Oppen - January 14, 2008

I loved it, on the whole. I especially liked the little touches, like having the Three Amigos riding Indian motorcycles—I take it that in this timeline the Indian Motocycle Company survived? (IF so, I know a lot of people who’d love to pay it a visit.)

Could have used a lot more gratuitous female nudity—but that’s just me. Maybe next time?

9. Mike Blessing - January 15, 2008

Good job, as always!

Back in 2005, at the last Bubonicon I was able to attend, I fielded two inquiries about when the hard-copy edition was coming out with “I don’t know.”

Is there any chance that BigHead is considering a way to start publishing text novels (Roswell, Texas / Ceres / Ares . . .)?

10. al perez - January 15, 2008

off topic:
time peepers looking good, planning on enjoying next few months.
semi on topic
Maybe do graphic versions of all TPB cannon, including
Forge of the Elders ?

11. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - January 15, 2008

There had been some discussion with the Famous Author in regard to the gratuitious female nudity (or lack thereof) and he was giving thought to giving the topic its own thread here.

12. Administrator - January 15, 2008

….Let’s understand something right from the beginning: there is no such thing as _gratuitous_ female nudity (unless we’re talking about Rosie O’Donnell, in which case we should all go wash our mouths out with soap).

….We were going to have a lot more scantily-clad girls in _R,T_, but the little black lines around the panels kept breaking with a noise similar to that of breaking guitar strings, and poor Scott was beginning to get nosebleeds. I do agree that we could have used more nipples (did anybody count them, like Joe-Bob Briggs?), but you can _always_ use more nipples.

….I do think that Rosa’s are pretty damned nice. You won’t see something like that just anywhere.

13. al perez - January 16, 2008

…but you can _always_ use more nipples
ain’t that what the Boleyn girls said and look where it got them.
otherwise, yeah, what the administrator says!!

14. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - January 16, 2008

Gotta disagree with our honored Administrator – I, for one, am generally gratuitous for female nudity.

The Rosie O’Donnell Exception being duly noted and agreed to.

15. Brian N. - January 16, 2008

Men who say the female form is obscene who are also married have unsatisfied wives. That’s not a crime merely to those wives, it’s a crime to women everywhere! For the sake of women, celebrate beauty! More breasts!

16. Eric Oppen - January 17, 2008

Personally, I’d love to see Scott doing some out-and-out erotica. (The stuff sells well, BTW—in his old age, Sir Richard Francis Burton commented that he’d written tons of scholarly books that barely made their advances, but when he translated the _Kama Sutra_ all of a sudden he was raking in the money, and he knew what _he’d_ be working on from then on out…)

Quote: “Forget ‘redeeming social value’—dirty pictures are _fun._ When I die, they can scatter my ashes over a nudist colony.”

17. al perez - January 17, 2008

Whether it was achieved by chaos driven natural selection or Intelligent design, the nude human female body is one of God’s better ideas. “Undoubtedly male warthogs feel the same way about female warthogs. I’m sure they are quite sincere.”
I’m certain this offends bigots on both sides of the ID argument but who cares. Praise the Lord for the Beauty and Wonder of His Creation (Lexa Doig, Nicole Kidman, Genvieve Bujold, and yyou add your own)

18. Ward Griffiths - January 17, 2008

Yes, R,T was a damned fine production and thanks to all who worked on it. Sure, it could have used more nudity. The girls from Mars were definitely overdressed. But it was fun anyway. And dirty pictures are readily available both on- and off-line. So much so that I delete 99% of what I get. I’m getting picky about porn in my old age. I regularly throw away material I would have killed for in my teens (that was before I embraced the Zero Aggression Principle).

As I type this, I’m writing a DVD (#3 of about a dozen) dumping a copy of most of my digital porn collection as a birthday present for La Esposa’s boyfriend. Generous to a geologic fault, that’s me.

19. Administrator - January 17, 2008

My personal view is that pornography has a function. It gives us
the purely imaginary but stress-relieving pleasure of being “bad” from
time to time. If that means violating the Zero Aggression Principle
_strictly in our minds_, with regard to non-existent subjects, then it
offers us a measure of rest or relief that living morally in a highly
immoral society like this one seems to require for anything resembling
sanity.

Just as you are not obligated (the idea is ludicrous, in fact) to
make sure that your photo collection — or whatever it is you look for
on the Internet — contains equal numbers of redheads, blondes, and
brunettes (to offer one possibility), you’re not obliged to treat your
imaginary “victims” ethically. This is your moment (or minute or hour
or day — now cut that out and and get some work done!) of completely
private pleasure, over which _nobody_, including Mrs. Grundy, has any
say.

Hell, you could even string _her_ up by her thumbs, rip off her
Playtex, and horsewhip her, if she wasn’t probably an unappetizing old
hag.

There is also this: we human beings have a species-specific mating
ritual exactly like grouse and spiders and other critters do. For the
most part, we very seldom realize it, because it’s transparent to us,
and even when we do, many of us are so thoroughly repelled by its
actuality, we deny it vehemently, in something resembling shock and
horror.

The human mating ritual is one of violent conquest, every bit as
stylized as punches thrown in a John Wayne barfight. Consider scenes
in _McClintock_ or _The Quiet Man_ involving the “taming” of Maureen
O’Hara (an actress who understood the ritual). It’s always interesting
to me how “enlightened” women denounced the cardboard figure of Wayne
they carried around in their heads, but when they actually met him,
they wanted to be physically close to him because he made them feel
“safe”. The extremely liberal Shana Alexander was among the first to
confess.

One reason I believe Ayn Rand was hated was that, whatever her
personal shortcomings, she knew the terrible secret about her species,
and illustrated it beyond question in _The Fountainhead_ and _Atlas
Shrugged_. In real life, she never met a man capable of conquering her
(I often think she strove to avoid it), preferring males who were
basically wimps that she could push around, although it never made her
happy.

One reason I love the Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon movie _Bull
Durham_ is that it understands and deals with this idea articulately,
too.

There’s a good reason for the ritual, whether those who practice
it realize it or not. It’s a way of assuring the human female — the
conservator of the gene pool, after all — that a prospective mate is
capable of feeding and defending her and her young, and is therefore
fit to combine her genes with. If she can beat him at arm-wrestling
(or whatever) than he’s probably not much good to her and her future
kids.

Our imaginations require spicier fodder than we need in real life,
so we end up with works like Pauline Reage’s _Story of O_ which was an
epiphany to me, and the reason I could figure out out what was going
on with John Wayne’s movies and Ayn Rand’s books. Of course everything
I’ve said here is about as politically incorrect as it can get, but
the only way we can ever overcome what Thomas Jefferson called “every
form of tyranny over the mind of man” (and woman) is to fight back
fearlessly.

In any event, you’re likelier to stay sane, you’ll find it easier
to be moral, if you take these little instant vacations occasionally.
Never feel guilty. Thank the nice people — especially the lovely and
generous ladies — who make them possible, and understand that you’re
helping your species to breed truer, stronger, and more rational than
otherwise.

Like most things that make evolutionary sense, it’s also fun!

20. Eric Oppen - January 18, 2008

I have often thought that what Rand needed throughout her life was a man who could stand right up to her and say: “Ayn, with all respect, you’re full of sh*t and your clutch is slipping; you don’t know what you’re talking about, and here’s why.” While I revere her accomplishments, the pathetic cult of wanna-bes that she ended up surrounding herself with did her great damage. Not to mention that incredibly ill-advised affair with Nathaniel Branden.

I wonder what she’d have done if Barbara had said: “Very well, Ayn. If you can borrow my spouse, I can borrow yours—sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!” (If I’d been Frank O’Connor in that situation, I’d have been all for it—whatever her other faults, Barbara was a real babe.)

21. al perez - January 18, 2008

It would be interesting to see what female correspondents have to say on the issue.
Oh well, “make friends, have fun be happy,”
Graphic novels (both meanings) make us happy.
Yay!!!!

22. Brian N. - January 18, 2008

Neil, this is the one thing about which I’ll always disagree with you.

23. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - January 18, 2008

Disagree with him about .45ACP vs. 9mm. More productive and entertaining for us groundlings, that debate is.

24. Mark Odell - January 18, 2008

> I do agree that we could have used more nipples (did anybody count them, like Joe-Bob Briggs?)

13 female, 11 male (yes, the one on Page 67 counts).

Hey, you asked ;)

25. al perez - January 18, 2008

Woops!! The correct quote from Starship Troopers is “…feel that way about lady warthogs.”
m’bad.

26. Golden Bear - January 20, 2008

Well, leaving for a moment the topic of porn (don’t like it, but if that’s the best you can do for yourself, all the power to you), I am really glad that I hadn’t heard of this story until a couple of weeks ago. Graphic novels aren’t my cup of tea, normally, but I stumbled across this one from a link on a blog I frequent and ended up reading the whole thing. I really enjoyed it, and would not have wanted to wait for three times a week installments.

My daughter’s a librarian, and I recommended that she get the print version when it comes out this summer. I expect that she will.

Thank you kindly for some entertaining reading!

27. Curt Howland - January 22, 2008

Gratuitous female nudity? I’m grateful, and gracious about it.

All around, Great!

28. al perez - January 23, 2008

Good plot line, interesting take on how various historical (and hysterical) characters wold have turned out if only, reasonable amount of violence and nudity, libertarian ideals investigated without beating the audience over the head, some good SF to boot, and just a fun read. RT provides something for everyone!!!

29. David Anderson - February 3, 2008

Hi Neil — I’m not a big fan of serials or graphic novels either, so I’ve waited til now to read the whole thing, beginning to end, all in one big gulp.

I have to say I have never seen such a collection of absurd and unlikely events, such bizarrely juxtaposed historical figures and flat out bizarre characters, so many silly puns and ridiculous sight gags, and plain goofy jokes between one single set of book covers [cybernetically speaking] in all my life.

I LOVED IT!!! I well remember you telling me your plans for Roswell, Texas on a long-ago visit, and I have to say you have fulfilled the promise of those plans and more! You and Rex and Scott et al have created a masterpiece.

I also had a quick look at Timepeeper…looks like fun and I really like the artwork, but I’ll wait for completion before I get completely into it.

Now I’m going to surf on over to CarePress and order myself an Arm-A-Dillo t-shirt to wear to the range….

Keep yer springs tight, podner….

30. Jay P Hailey - February 4, 2008

Thank you, L Neil, Scott and everyone else who made this thing.

The images are sticky and lasting.

Jay ~Meow!~

31. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - February 26, 2008

The ever popular Wendy McElroy blogged thusly:

Roswell, Texas
In case you haven’t heard, the irrepressible, irreplaceable SF writer L.Neil Smith and the superb graphic artist Scott Bieser have joined together in a free online venture entitled Rowell, Texas: a Sci-fi Western Romantic Comedy. The entire work has completed publication online so readers no longer have to wait for installments; they can read the entire work in one gulp and for free.
Wendy McElroy – Sunday 24 February 2008 – 02:15:53

I like the description of El Neil as “irrepressible.” Makes him sound almost like a Muppet. A heavily armed Muppet. Probably “tow-headed,” as well. With an urchin grin.

Okay, back to slowly but steadily working my way through “Timepeeper.”

32. al perez - March 19, 2008

So who plays Wild Bill Bear in the Movie?

33. Eric Oppen - March 31, 2008

Wasn’t this the same universe that the one “good” “Bennett Williams” came from in _The American Zone?_ I was rereading that a while ago, and noticed that bit about the monopoly on garbage.

34. Ward Griffiths - April 5, 2008

As Neil has stated elsewhere, this is where that universe branches between the universe mentioned in TAZ and the post-Roswell universe.

35. al perez - April 9, 2008

Kimerikas- things which are chimerical?
I dunno.

36. al perez - May 9, 2008

Now if only you can reach a deal with Donald Bellisario to write a sequel to RT that involves Jack Cutter and company.

37. al perez - May 25, 2008

I can’t stand it no more!! Balabo ol’ bean what is it you’re trying to tell us.
Allow me to reiterate my fond hope that enough copies of the graphic novel version of Roswell Texas sell to convince some publisher to pick up the contract for the text version.

38. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 3, 2008

I see some of the Neil’s readers on Alpha Centauri III are checking in.

39. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 4, 2008

I’m sensing some subliminal commentary going on here…..

40. al perez - June 4, 2008

So I take it Howard Dean has discovered this website?

41. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 5, 2008

Bob Dole, I would have thought. Friendly bunch, though, ain’t they?

That “Cheap Generic X” is awfully tempting – I’m sure it’s just as good as the “Expensive Generic X.”

42. al perez - June 5, 2008

closer to original purpose of this blog, RT became available Tue. 4 June, 2008 in book form. Recommend ordering from Amazon.com through The Libertarian Enterprise link, also hit local brick front stores (either National franchise or Mom and Pop) and buy or order copy there.
Online ordering is great, but brickfront better for attracting/ creating new fans.

43. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 6, 2008

The best part is that I just received a 25 dollar Amazon gift certificate!

44. al perez - June 7, 2008

I am going to presume the person spamming my buddy’s website actually needs and uses the products he is advertising.I guess if I suffered from impotence caused by arterial clogging due to high cholesterol I would need valium and antidepressants to cope.
and the poor bloke still managed to get genital herpes simplex!!!
Makes my problems look small.

45. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 7, 2008

Isn’t “Flomax” a laxative?

46. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 18, 2008

And again, the Tau Ceti contingent checks in. And I have to say that I, for one, welcome our soon-to-be-arriving alien overlords.

47. al perez - June 21, 2008

For those of us who care about the original purpose of this site.:
It is good to know that demand for RT was so high that Amazon.com got caught flatfooted and faled to order enough copies.
Hopefully this is a sign that RT will go through multiple printings including a text version and will lead to a revival of all books in the Probability Broach Series, including more titles in the future.

48. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 25, 2008

Ooooh, a live sex webcam! Now we’re getting some worthwhile spam!!!

49. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit - June 25, 2008

Mo’s? Hot dang – they have GREAT clam chowder out there on the Oregon Coast!

50. al perez - July 4, 2008

To the jerk who has benn messing up this site for Neil’s fans:
Hope your sales at Amazon.com are as good as his sales of Roswell, Texas.
No? Then spend more time getting published and less messing up other people’s sites.