A Word of Explanation
By L. Neil Smith
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
This issue of The Libertarian Enterprise is something of a
holiday gift to the many people who've written me over past several
months, wondering what had become of the publication. It's my hope to
resume monthly publication in January, when TLE will cease to be
e-mailed (sorry 'bout that) but will be posted on the web site, with
notice sent out to all of its "subscribers".
What happened is several things, really.
In the first place, for some reason, the words just stopped coming
out of the ends of my fingertips after our house was flooded in July
of 1997. I hate to think that the human creative impulse is all that
fragile -- I never used to believe in "writer's block", about which
more later -- but believe me, I spent plenty of time sitting at this
machine, attempting to prove otherwise, to very little avail. The
essay that begins this issue is, I think, my fourth in almost a year
and a half.
I used to write a couple a week.
It's been fairly awful, seeing one of the most "interesting"
periods in American history pass me by, knowing there were a million
things I could have written about -- if only I could write -- in a
manner that (false modesty aside) is absolutely unique and maybe even
valuable. Sometimes I entertained the notion that "writer's block" is
caused by having too many ideas. Oddly enough, none of this
affected my correspondence on the internet.
What I felt, though, whenever I tried to write, was an
indescribable bodily and mental fatigue, and also a great sense of
futility. Face it: our country is in the hands of a homicidal
lunatic -- a whole horde of homicidal lunatics -- and the only
people who even make a semblance of opposing them in Washington are
cowards, idiots, criminals, hypocrites, and losers. In short,
Republicans. I've been struggling politically for 36 years and during
that time things have only gotten worse. It's a pretty grim picture
when you're already feeling low.
The good news, though, is that more people are politically "awake"
today than at any other time in American history (and more of them
have guns and know how to use them), and as bad as things are -- and
as hysterical and dangerous as the death throes of the Leviathan may
be -- things seem to be changing. While 60-odd percent of the
American people (if you believe the polls, which I don't) want to keep
Clinton in office, 60-odd percent of those online want him
I think that's important and a sign of progress.
More recently, another bit of good news has been responsible,
ironically, for keeping The Libertarian Enterprise offline. As many
of my readers know, I was contacted a while back by the great Aaron
Zelman, HMFWIC at Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, to
co-author a very political novel with him to be called The
Mitzvah. I don't know why or how, but Aaron's offer got me writing
fiction again. For the rest of my life, I will owe him ... well, the
rest of my life.
At this writing, we're on Chapter 12.
Almost as soon as that happened, I decided to see whether science
fiction publisher Jim Baen would be interested in republishing the
books you know as Contact and Commune, Converse and Conflict, and
the Warner-cancelled Concert and Cosmos as the single big novel I'd
originally conceived, with the title I wanted, Forge of the Elders.
He did -- his only stipulation was that I keep it under 300,000
words -- and my deadline for the re-edited version is January 1, 1999.
Can I make it? Time will tell ...
And on the heels of that, I finally succumbed to the blandishments
of Pulpless.com's J. Neil Schulman, and authorized him to put The
WarDove, prequel to Henry Martyn and Bretta Martyn back in print.
I have a very soft spot in my head for that book, so I'm happy. And
years ago, I outlined two more books to follow it, making it the first
volume of the Nathaniel Blackburn trilogy.
We'll see what happens.
By the way, I've been notified that Bretta Martyn has been
chosen by Tor/St. Martin's Press as part of its initial foray into
the market served by Rocket e-Books. I'm particularly pleased,
because I predicted this technology almost 20 years ago in The
Last but not least, my lawyer (Tom Creasing of "Fuzzy Bunny
Militia" fame) and I are still waiting to hear from Tor about The
American Zone, the definitive sequel to The Probability Broach. I
want to write this book very much, as it's going to be a classic
exercise in "reward your friends and punish your enemies". I have
others in the mental hopper, too, including an important book that
will, in some sense, redefine science fiction, and an absolutely
dynamite collaboration with cartoonist and National Lampoon veteran
Rex F. May that might well redefine Texas.
So, as you can see, I went from almost no activity, literarily, to
almost frantic activity, virtually overnight. I'm still fatigued, but
the feeling is good this time.
I'll do my best to see that The Libertarian Enterprise -- which
is one of the great loves of my life -- comes out on a fairly regular
basis. Things being what they are, and all, it'll have to take a back
seat to exercises that feed the family kitty. I have two womenfolk,
Cathy and Ryllie, who are very serious about figure skating -- the
little one may be headed for the Olympics -- so the kitty takes a lot
But thanks for your concern. It's very gratefully appreciated,
and won't go unrewarded.
Looking for a perfect gift? L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach,
Pallas, Henry Martyn, and Bretta Martyn can be ordered from
Amazon.com via http://www.lneilsmith.org//index.html, from Laissez
Faire Books at http://www.laissezfaire.org, or call 1-800-326-0996.
And THE BAIRD COMPANY, http://www.bairdco.com Bairdco@aol.com
phone 909-943-4180 fax 909-943-8491