Big Head Press

Strip 10 - Click on page above to goto the next page. -- First Seen: 2008-09-26
Escape From Terra is updated with new pages every Monday through Friday.

Remembering L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser in 2009 after receiving the Prometheus Award for The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel.

I've been having a hard time putting words down here. This is my third attempt at putting together a suitable, or at least coherent, collection of remarks about my friend who discorporated this last August 27th.

I use the term discorporated because that was a euphemism favored by Robert A. Heinlein, the grand master of classic sci-fi who was the author Neil most admired and sought to model his own work upon. It seems appropriate here. One of Neil's most-prized possessions was a letter he received, early in his career, from RAH himself, who told the younger Neil that he had found the correct balance of action, romance, and philosophy in his stories.

I've only known Neil since the late 1990s (which was HOW many years ago? Geebus) but he had a fairly large impact on my life. I found him via The Libertarian Enterprise web-magazine and presumptuously sent a graphic of The Bill of Rights bursting through the Eurostyle don't do this symbol which I'd rendered out in 3D Studio Max, and was an improvement on the low-rez drawing he had put together himself.

So we exchanged e-mails and I made some more art for him on occasion and next thing I knew we were making The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel together and then I had moved from southern California to Cheyenne, Wyoming, partly to be closer to him as we collaborated on Roswell, Texas and Phoebus Krumm. However. after that Neil wanted to do a sequel to Roswell but I'd gotten tired of the 1950s and wanted to make stories set in the future – which I did when I embarked on my own QUANTUM VIBE series.

Were it not for Neil I don't think there would be a QUANTUM VIBE, or at least nothing closely resembling it. I learned much about storytelling by working with him, and by our association I acquired the core of an audience which sustains me to this day.

We remained friends and I continued to drive the 50 miles from Cheyenne to Fort Collins to hang out with him in the bleachers of the local ice-skating rink, where we chatted while also watching Neil's wife and daughter skating on the ice. On occasion I brought my sons down to join with them and I hope I wasn't too embarrassing as I stumbled around.

But then my wife, E.J., discorporated 40 years early and my family in Texas beckoned my sons and me home to heal, which we did. Neil continued writing stories, maintaining his optimism despite his declining health – he once told me he intended to be the world's first 400-year-old diabetic. I had hoped to return to Fort Collins once or twice to visit, but circumstances prevented me from making the trip, even for his Libertarian Futurist Society Lifetime Award acceptance in 2016.

Another friend of mine likes to speak of having an immortality project, something one does while in the world that makes an effect that continues after one has gone. Neil's immortality project, aside from his daughter Rylla, was his stories, which deserve to be remembered long after all of us have discorporated, ourselves.

-- Scott Bieser

IGG Campaign Concludes

Alyss Roaz thanks you!

A Message From Alyss

So, we fell just a few hundred short of our goal, but that's okay, because it's a "Flexible Goal" meaning we still get the funds raised (minus Indiegogo's cut) so we can and will fulfill the promised perks.

We are grateful to all who contributed, and yes you are all now founding members of the "Free Cosmos Project," with all the privileges membership entitles you thereto. (Unless you don't want the honor, we'll respect that too.) Which for now means we'll be whipping up a spiffy little Certificate for each of you, physical versions sent out with the physical books requested, and PDF versions for the rest.

Indiegogo will disburse the funds to us soon. And we've already got the ball rolling printing books, and postcards, as well as the above-mentioned FCP certificates. And we'll be talking a bit more about the Free Cosmos Project in the coming weeks.

Thanks again and click on, me hearties, click on.

The Transcript For This Page

Strip 10 -- Turnaround

Panel 1
Establishing shot of the Burner arcing through space. Leave room for EFT logo.

Guy: (from inside ship) Ms. Stellina, I am certain that ever since our encounter with that insolent – handcuff monger – there’s something different about my food.

Panel 2
Inside Guy’s 'cabin.' It’s actually a cramped little 2.5m x 2m x 1.5m alcove with a sliding fabric door across the open face. Guy is sitting cross-legged on his bunk, picking absently at a tray of food in front of him, looking annoyed as usual. Fiorella is seated on a small desk facing the foot of the bunk. (There is no chair, one would sit on the bunk while working at the desk.) Trying to cheer him up.

Fiorella: Well, I did scan it. Nothing poisonous, but they seem to have left out any spices. You can have my food if you like, it tastes wonderful.

Guy: Perish the thought. I will endure this insult, and deal with these jokers later.

Panel 3

Focus on Fiorella with chin on knuckles, gazing thoughtfully at Guy, who we see a bit of from behind at the right edge of the frame.

Fiorella: I wonder how the Cerereans will react to us?

Fiorella 2: What do you know about Ceres?

Panel 4

Focus on Guy, picking at his plate, regaining his usual annoyed expression, not looking back at Fiorella.

Guy: They’re getting rich and not paying their share. I’ve got all the numbers in my PDA. That’s all I need to know.

Panel 5
Two-shot of Guy and Fiorella, at a very awkward-looking upside-down angle. Should be as disorienting as you can make it. Fiorella looks unconcerned, Guy is visibly nauseated.

Guy: Fiorella ….

Guy 2: I think I’m going to be sick.

Fiorella: Relax, Guy.

Panel 6

Looking at Fiorella from Guy’s POV. She sitting there talking like nothing’s wrong but there seems to be a spiral warp effect distorting her and the wall behind her.

Fiorella: It’s Turnaround. Your inner ear is reacting to the Burner’s rotation as we flip ends.

Fiorella 2: Be glad they did it under power instead of cutting engines.

Panel 7
Looking at the outer side of the fabric door, listening in.

Fiorella: Zero G would have been a lot worse on your ….


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