[The following article is a reprint of a Neil Smith essay written
before the reign of William the Concupiscent; that it is as relevant
now as it was then may be a sad commentary on the extent and duration
of America's zombification. -- Ed.]
Blast From the Past:
The Manchurian Lobbyist
by L. Neil Smith
Gil Russell, Agent
The Meredith Scott Literary Agency
523 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10023
After writing 18 SF novels in 15 years, it's time for a change. How
about a thriller that'll keep you up and turning pages all night?
In the background, DoD has become no more than a welfare system for
redundant engineers and foundering corporations. The military is only
good for beating up on Third World losers, and can't tell an airliner
from an enemy fighter-bomber. Against foes foreign and domestic, the
only bulwark of America's unique historical institutions is an armed
citizenry, growing restive under an unbearable burden of taxes and
increasingly vocal about it.
My first characters are left-politicos led by a senile, obsessive --
but totally fictional -- Senator from Ohio and his colleague, a
semi-convicted murderer from Massachusetts. They form a bipartisan
cabal with the President, an ancient preppie bright enough to see
that he's the Jimmy Carter of the GOP and determined to become its
Lyndon Johnson if he has to destroy the republic in order to save it.
They scheme to strip Americans of the hardware politicians always
find so discouraging and turn people back into the loot-producing
serfs Alexander Hamilton intended them to be.
They enlist the nation's top gun control advocates, which look like
any wine-and-cheese liberal pressure group. In fact they're
memberless fronts originally created by a Nixonian Odessa of ex-CIA
types determined to drag Dick -- or his political ideas -- out of
cryogenics where he stored himself two decades ago and prop him up in
the Oval Office for one last hurrah. The spooks control the so-called
mental health industry, grim gulags where the light of the
Constitution never shines and real-life mad scientists pump helpless
captives full of memory-cauterizing voltage and identity-dissolving
chemicals, producing customized high tech zombies, sent home on
disability payments to watch daytime TV and gobble Twinkies with
inhuman patience until they're needed.
Now periodically we get enough of the gore that electronic
fear-merchants splash across our living room carpets every night, or
fed up with intrusive, incessant nagging labeled "public service
messages". Some of us appear to have absorbed the fact that the Bill
of Rights means what it says and that the state's latest moral
substitute for war is being waged against freedom itself. It's then
that one of these zombies gets a call with key-words buried in it,
"You have miles to go and promises to keep, Orville-Bob...", takes up
his saturdaynightspecial or his evilassaultrifle (depending how he's
been programmed), while the senators, spooks, and fear-merchants warm
up the public relations machinery.
The zombie finds a Campfire Girls convention and blows away as many
photogenic victims as possible, then eats his front sight and yanks
the trigger one more time. Psycho-vultures descend on the community
and the media make a big deal of his history of mental illness
without mentioning the 20,000 laws already on the books which forbid
him to own guns. Instead, they blame tens of millions of innocent gun
owners (the killer isn't available for a post-bloodbath interview,
but his neighbors all say he was very quiet) give 51% of their time
to the front-groups who built the killer in the first place and 51%
to the spineless, dull-witted, militantly moderate President and the
senators from Ohio and Massachusetts who "spontaneously" produce a
1500-page bill depriving us not only of guns, but of kitchen knives,
keyrings, and fingernails.
NOT ONE REPORTER ASKS WHY LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ARE IN BED WITH NIXON'S
Anyone who tries to point out that this spectacular and convenient
mass-Osterizing happened the very week the legislature began
deliberating gun laws, and that similar "coincidences" have occurred
in three states over the last six months, is kept off the air at all
costs. Maybe he'll get locked up and become the next trigger-zombie.
The new bill violates 153 Constitutional provisions and includes a
death penalty for even thinking about Dan'l Boone's flintlock, but
gets befuddled blessings from the President. TV keeps the pressure
on: lavishing thousands of praise-filled air-hours on the
"courageous" senators who wrote it, they simultaneously condemn it as
too moderate, a sellout to the gun lobby.
Now for a plot-twist: the rich, powerful, multimillion-member group
created to defend the principle of armed citizenry to the death (and
take whatever heat ol' Prez won't accept as his part of the deal)
inexplicably finds itself weak, poor, and inclined to compromise --
although the media characterize it as unyielding. Its official
spokesmen help by shaving their heads to enhance an already amazing
resemblance to Nikita Khruschev. We don't find out until the
next-to-last chapter that it's as stuffed with ex-Nixonites as the
so-called liberal gun control organizations.
I haven't figured out how the conspiracy gets exposed, but I gotta
have a happy ending. Maybe, although they don't know it, the spooks
were conditioned to kill themselves like zombies, to give the
President credible deniability. The senators are convicted under a
little known statute for violating their oath of office and sent to a
high-walled place with bars -- where the regular tenants treat them
the same way they've been treating Senate pages for years.
Maybe I should update it to include a President who really is a clone
of Jimmy Carter and his wife, a reincarnation of Joan Crawford.
The media -- this is where I'm having trouble. My first thought was,
once the plot was exposed, they changed their ways when they realized
that their First Amendment rights weren't any more secure than the
Second Amendment rights of the gun owners they persecute. But I can
hear you saying right now that no editor will go for that.
This is a novel, after all. It has to be believable.
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of The Probability Broach,
Pallas, Henry Martyn, Bretta Martyn, The Mitzvah (forthcoming, with
Aaron Zelman), and 15 other novels. Order them from Amazon.com via
or from Laissez Faire Books at http://www.laissezfaire.org
or just call Laissez Faire toll free, 1-800-326-0996