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43


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 43, December 25, 1998

A Word of Explanation

By L. Neil Smith
lneil@lneilsmith.org

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 impeached.
          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 Venus Belt.
          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 of feeding.
          But thanks for your concern. It's very gratefully appreciated, and won't go unrewarded.

Happy holidays,

Neil


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


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