A Word from the Author
by L. Neil Smith
Special to TLE
Almost daily, nice people ask what they can do to help the Bill of
Rights enforcement effort I've started. Whenever they offer me money,
I tell them no thanks, that's for after I get 1,000,000
signatures endorsing my candidacy.
They're always welcome to help, I add, by buying my books. Not only
does it spread my ideas (which is the reason I wrote them), it pays
the mortgage and the bills, feeds the kitties, and buys ice-time for
the figure skaters in my family. In short, because of what I do, with
your help, I have a chance to change the world -- for a living.
Now I'm taking advantage of whatever influence I have to make a
special request to my readers and friends. In April, Baen Books will
send my long-awaited novel, Forge of the Elders into the world. For
me, this is the bright culmination of more than a decade of cherished
hopes and maddening frustrations.
In part, Forge of the Elders was inspired by Robert Anton Wilson's
idea that if you pretend to be a visiting alien, and then explain the
world around you to yourself, the insight you get that way will often
Forge of the Elders
Forge of the Elders was also inspired by
Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, which suggested that a high
civilization -- the equivalent of Britain during the Napoleonic Wars --
may have flourished and been wiped out by a global climatic catastrophe
15,000 years ago. Every year new evidence appears that makes this
scenario more likely.
The work I had in mind was an epic with dozens of characters, space
battles, detectives, mysteries, romance, sex and violence, lost
civilizations, some of the wierdest "aliens" I ever thought up, and
the most explicitly political and philosophical plot I'd written since
The Probability Broach. My "mouthpiece", the wise "alien" I
created for the purpose of teaching foolish humans a thing or two,
was a giant beer-drinking mollusc named Mr. Thoggosh.
My agent at the time had a stupid idea that publishers weren't
interested in big books. He refused to sell Forge of the Elders
until I cut it into three little books. It wasn't the first stupid
idea he had, nor the last; he and I eventually parted company
somewhat acrimoniously. But in the meantime, I was stuck (and so were
you) with the consequences of his stupididity.
As you may know, I've made a number of succesful predictions that
were laughed at or ignored when I made them: the Soviet collapse, the
development of the internet as we know it, the laptop computer, the
digital watch, the fact that the Y2K "crisis" would come to nothing.
Forge of the Elders made more predictions, among them that once
everyone else had dumped Marxism, America would embrace it, dragging
the whole world back into the collectivist pit. Sure enough, thanks
to Waco Willie, his nightmare wife, and their bizarre gang of mental
and moral cripples, since the first two volumes of Forge of the
Elders were published, my prediction is well on its way to coming
The third volume was killed by the first publisher for political
incorrectness, and people ever since have wondered (I get letters,
calls, and e-mail) what ever happened to General Horatio Gutierriz,
his valiant band of relucant interplanetary explorers, to Mr.
Thoggosh, and to Eichra Oren and his shaggy, wise-cracking dog Sam.
One of the interesting things about SF predictions is that once
they're made, they often keep themselves from coming true. We've
stayed freer longer than we might have, thanks to warnings in
Brave New World. I hope predictions in Forge of the Elders,
once it's published in its entirely, will have a similar effect.
As I say, Forge of the Elders will be published in April. Between
now and then, if you're interested in buying the book and helping the
cause, I'd appreciate it if you'd go ahead now and try to
pre-order it wherever you ordinarily buy books.
By L. Neil Smith
Baen Books, April, 2000
$25.00 ($17.50 at http://www.Amazon.com)
If this happens often enough, it will encourage bookstores and other
retailers to order more copies of Forge of the Elders than they
would otherwise, and that will encourage distributors to order more
copies from the publisher.
That will be good for me and mine in general. In particular (and
here's the reason I'm writing now) this a new publisher for me after
more than a decade with another. Your advance order will help me sell
new projects to them in the future. I know exactly what I want
to sell them next; I guarantee you'll like the result.
Thank you very much,
L. Neil Smith
Author: The Probability Broach, The Venus Belt, Their Majesties'
Bucketeers, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, Lando
Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon, Lando Calrissian and the
Starcave of Thonboka, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, The Nagasaki
Vector, Tom Paine Maru, The Gallatin Divergence, The WarDove, The
Crystal Empire, Brightsuit MacBear, Taflak Lysandra, Contact and
Commune, Converse and Conflict, Concert and Cosmos, Henry Martyn,
Pallas, Bretta Martyn, The Mitzvah (with Aaron Zelman),
Forge of the Elders, Lever Action, The American Zone
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