Strip 993 -- First Seen: 2012-07-06
Escape From Terra is updated with new pages every Monday through Friday.
Remembering L. Neil Smith
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.
IGG Campaign Concludes
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
Re-establish the scene in the spaceport, as Marsha and her cronies seek passage off of Vesta with Robert 'Bobcat' Katzman.
Bobcat: I'm afraid I can't take you to Mars, at least not on this trip.
Bobcat: I gotta cargo committed to Power City, in the Uranian atmosphere.
Marsha pleads with Bobcat. Bobcat looks thoughtful.
Marsha: Please, Mr. Bobcat, isn't there anything you can do to help us?
Bobcat: Well ... the least-energy trajectory would pass close enough to Pallas that a local shuttle could take you on a transfer.
Marsha and her delighted cohort shuffle off after Bobcat. They shuffle past (not into) a doorway which will be the focus of the next panel.
Marsha: Is that closer to Mars? Well, no matter, we accept!
Bobcat (thought): After that, you'll be Pallas' problem.
Focus on that doorway. A sign tells us it's the ARRIVAL GATE. Pierre Le Boeuf (from the 'Code Duello' arc) is standing just in front of the doorway, with his luggage at his feet, and is looking around with a disappointed expression.
Pierre: Bonjour, je suis ici. Is anyone here?
A 10-year-old boy wearing a truckers-style cap with the words 'Vesta Spaceport Agent' on it, Vesta-walks up to Pierre.
Boy: May I help you, sir? I'm a Vesta Spaceport Agent.
Pierre: I am looking for the Vesta Council offices. Can you direct me there?
Medium close-up on the boy so we can see his cap, a remembrance of Babbette The Younger's first appearance.
Boy: Well sir, The Vesta Council offices are currently closed.
Boy: May I take you to a suitable hotel? My runabout is over there.
Pierre tip-toe-walks along behind the boy, who has taken some of Pierre's luggage.
Pierre: Alright, garçon, take me to your finest hotel, the Vesta Council will be paying for it.
Medium Close-up on the boy, smiling. We can see a name-tag on his shirt which reads, 'Mario Farber.'
Boy: As you wish, Sv. To the Farber Inn, best hotel on Vesta.