L. Neil Smith

lneil 2L. Neil Smith has twice won the Prometheus Award, given by the Libertarian Futurist Society for outstanding science fiction with libertarian themes. His Prometheus Award-winning novels were The Probability Broach (1982) and Pallas (1994).

The Probability Broach was his first novel. It pictures a parallel libertarian earth and wonderfully combines humor, action, suspense and libertarian ideology. The libertarian society in the book, and some of its characters, are further explored in sequels.

Smith has written over 20 science fiction novels, many explicitly libertarian. He served on the Platform Committee of the Libertarian Party in the mid-70′s, and in 1978 ran for state legislator as a Libertarian Party candidate, gaining 15 percent of the vote with a total expenditure of $44.00.

L. Neil Smith is also an outspoken gun rights activist. He is founder and International Coordinator of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus and is an NRA Life Member.

Following is a list of some of his novels, along with brief summaries.

Novels of L. Neil Smith

Pallas (Tor Books, 1993)
In the persons of Gibson Altman, an exiled liberal United States Senator, and Emerson Ngu,a young Vietnamese/Cambodian immigrant boy who aspires to manufacture firearms, socialist “East America” and entrepreneurs of the West American “Jackelope Republic” fight for control of a whole new world, the second-largest of the asteroids. Lots of action, romance, RKBA polemics, plus metallic silhouette shooting!

Winner of the 1994 Prometheus Award.

Forge of The Elders: Contact and Commune (Warner Books, 1990)
Forge of The Elders: Converse and Conflict (Warner Books, 1990)
Forge of The Elders: Concert and Cosmos (* see note below)
The American Soviet Socialist Republic claims the asteroid 5023 Eris, but somebody (or something) is already there! The Elders are from Earth … sort of. They aren’t human, but they are capitalists!
(* So politically incorrect that Warner Books unilaterally cancelled the third volume!)

Henry Martyn (Tor Books, 1989)
A thousand years from now, in the depths of interstellar space, there will be sailing ships and pirates! Vast empires clash as young Arran Islay fights for freedom and to regain a legacy brutally stripped from his family by the “Black Usurper”.
The sequel is Bretta Martyn (1996).

The Wardove (Berkley/Ace, 1986)
Earth was destroyed in 2023 and only Lunar colonists survived. Nine hundred years later, in a star-spanning “nation” without conscription or taxation, Captain Nathaniel Blackburn of Coordinated Arm Intelligence must find out who’s killing rock musicians raising money for the War Against the Clusterian Powers. Includes lyrics to a dozen songs written by the author.

The Crystal Empire (Tor Books, 1986)
Moslems rule the world in this adventure of an inventor and gunsmith in an alternate universe where the Black Plague killed 999 out of 1000 and technology, especially firearms, took the blame.

Lando Calrissian & The Mindhard of Sharu (Del Rey Books, 1983)
Lando Calrissian & The Flamewind of Oseon (Del Rey Books, 1983)
Lando Calrissian & The Starcave of Thonboka (Del Rey Books, 1983)
Youthful adventures of Star Wars’ famous gambler before Han Solo won the Millenium Falcon from him. Re-released in omnibus edition titled The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Summer, 1994.

Taflak Lysandra (Avon, 1988)
In the first of six projected sequels to Brightsuit MacBear, testing a marvelous “subfoline” craft, young Elsie Nahuatl (last seen in Tom Paine Maru) becomes lost amidst the bizarre collectivist cultures which lurk beneath the planet Majesty’s “Sea of Leaves” with her father—a cybernetically-enhanced coyote.

Brightsuit MacBear (Avon, 1988)
On Majesty, a planet covered from pole-to-pole with jungle six miles deep, Win Bear’s great grandson MacDougall battles to prevent a terrible crime and recover a lost inheritance.
The Gallatin Divergence (Del Rey Books, 1985)
Win Bear travels back in time to 1794 to save Albert Gallatin, founder of the North American Confederacy, from assassins. First appearance in print of the author’s “Covenant of Unanimous Consent”.

Tom Paine Maru (Del Rey Books, 1984)
The North American Confederacy reaches the stars at last, its Prime Directive: search out governments wherever they are found to exist and destroy them!

Their Majesties’ Bucketeers (Del Rey Books, 1981)
On an alien world whose furry, nine-legged crablike inhabitiants are just entering their own “Age of Invention”, a royal “fireman” must create the art of criminal detection from scratch, in order to solve the murder of his favorite teacher.

The Venus Belt (Del Rey Books, 1980)
How does a totally ethical culture conquer its own “final frontier”? A mysterious series of disappearances leads gumshoe Win Bear, assisted by Koko Featherstone-Haugh (a young female gorilla) and Lucy Kropotkin (a disgruntled murder victim temporarily housed in a robot body) to the asteroids, a super-villain with an all-too-familiar face, and a conspiracy stretching across whole universes.

The Nagasaki Vector (Del Rey Books, 1983)
Is a culture with an absolute regard for individual rights really helpless against those who would destroy it? Professional time traveler Bernie Gruenblum hires Win Bear to track down the stolen flying saucer … who loves him.
(Based on the short stories “Grimm’s Law”, “Folger’s Factor”, and “Grandfather Clause” which appeared in Stellar Science Fiction Stories #s 5, 6, & 7, Del Rey Books, 1980 & 1981. See also “The Embarrassment Box” in New Libertarian #187.)

The Probability Broach (Del Rey Books, 1980)
The book that started it all. In a deadly conflict with murderous federal agents, Denver homicide detective Win Bear is accidentally blown “sideways” in time, into the “North American Confederacy”, where the Whiskey Rebellion succeeded in 1794 and government has grown less powerful ever since.
Prometheus Award winner, to be republished by Tor Books in 1996.

(See also “The Spirit of Exmas Sideways”, Alternatives, edited by Robert and Pamela Crippen Adams, Baen Books, 1989. Trying to make a place for himself in the stateless North American Confederacy, Win Bear discovers the many joys and difficulties of absolute self-ownership.)

Quotable

In responding to a preposterous charge of racism, Smith posted the following to the libertarian newsgroup Libernet. It provides a nice overview of his work and thought:

“The hero of my first novel, The Probability Broach, and my second, The Venus Belt, is a full-blooded Ute Indian whose wife is a freckled strawberry blonde and whose best friend is the 137-year-old Mexican widow of a Russian prince. These are the books that also introduced sapient chimpanzees, gorillas, porpoises and killer whales to science fiction, all inhabitants of the ‘North American Confederacy’, an amalgamation of the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The brave protagonist of my third novel, Their Majesties’ Bucketeers, is a meter-high, hairy, nine-legged, crab-like firefighting detective whose species has three genders.

The viewpoint character of my fourth novel, The Nagasaki Vector, is Jewish, although he doesn’t keep kosher as far as I know (I never asked him) and he speaks with a decidedly West Texican accent. He’s followed constantly by three tiny aliens who think he’s God, and his flying saucer has fallen in love with him.

YD-038, the hero of my fifth novel, Tom Paine Maru, is an escapee from the kind of world that liberals have spent the last 60 years trying to build for us.

With The Gallatin Divergence, my sixth novel, we’re back to the Ute Indian again, who gets time-traveled to the 18th century by a physicist who also happens to be a Tursiops truncatus — a porpoise.

Somewhere in there, I also wrote three books — recently combined and reprinted as The Lando Calrissian Adventures — about the guy in Star Wars who owned the Millenium Falcon before Han Solo did.

Now in my tenth novel, The Wardove, we have a rock band in the distant future, one of whose girl singers is having an affair with an alien who looks like a cross between a helium balloon and an umbrella.

The hero of The Crystal Empire, my eleventh novel, is a white guy, I confess, and he’s even an unabashed sort of Nordicoid semi-Viking, make what you will of that. The three loves of his life are a voluptuous blonde, a beautiful Indian, and finally a Moslem princess (it’s a long book) who helps him battle an alliance of Renaissance Aztecs and Ming-plus Dynasty Chinese.

I never did decide what race the hero of my twelfth novel, Brightsuit Macbear was, although he’s the great-grandson of that Ute who started the whole thing, way back when. His best friend is one of those nine-legged crabs.

Lucky thirteen, Taflak Lysandra, concerns a young lady of Australian Aboriginal extraction and her father, the American coyote with a cybernetically augmented brain who adopted her. She starts off being unhappy (like many adolescents are) because she doesn’t have blue eyes, freckles, or a turned-up nose, but learns to be happy with her looks because, as she discovers in the end, compared to the kind of person she is inside, they’re basically unimportant.

Except for an occasional alien, everyone in my fourteenth novel, Henry Martyn, is white. They’re descended (900 years removed) from the last remaining guilt-ridden middle-class liberals in the Solar System, who were exiled to a faraway star cluster when everybody else finally got thoroughly fed up with them.

Otherhandwise, in numbers fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen — Contact and Commune, Converse and Conflict and Concert and Cosmos, respectively — hardly anybody’s white, because of an especially nasty kind of “affirmative action” carried out by the American Soviet Socialist Republic. I do have talking molluscs, though. These books, by the way, collectively known (by their proud author) as the “Forge of the Elders Trilogy”, proved so politically incorrect that the publisher canceled the third volume!

Which brings us to my eighteenth novel, Pallas — available now on fine paperback racks everywhere — in which a little half-Cambodian, half-Vietnamese boy refugees out of a UN agricultural commune. Over the course of his long, productive life, he loves three white women (one, for complicated reasons, with a Sikh surname) while battling a White American Male former US Senator you may even recognize, although the resemblance is purely coincidental.

The hero of Lever Action, my nineteenth book, is me (it’s a collection of two decades’ worth of essays and speeches).

Finally, my twentieth novel, Bretta Martyn, will take us back to the strange universe of Throwaway White Liberals I mentioned earlier.”