THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 821, May 10, 2015
What we learned so very painfully
in the 1960s mustn't be in vain.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
L. Neil Smith is unique, far as I've discovered, in believing that almost any living creature in the universe can be, or modified to be, a sentient, sapient being. This makes all of his stories exceptionally interesting, almost always hilarious, and occasionally philosophically very challenging. In a universe like that — with an infinity of alternate universes — finding something to eat might become very difficult unless one eats rocks or plasma from the sun. The carrots and peas might just begin arguing semantics or pull a gun...
But, as Neil says so often, I digress.
Brightsuit MacBear is a story of a young man, from a less than helpful family situation, who nonetheless has the integrity and intelligence to "smell a rat" and decide to do whatever it takes to make things right, even though he is singularly unprepared physically to actually carry that out.
Along the way, with some hard lessons about trust and his father's gun, he gains the assistance of assorted beings who join him in his travels and trials. Luckily, they have a lot of electronic and technical stuff to help them, especially with communication between the sapient entities. How DO you communicate with someone you just met who came from a planet almost nobody ever heard of? Especially one who speaks from orifices in his pseudo-knees?
The story is exceptional for so many reasons, most of which apply to everything else I've read by L. Neil... Humor galore, even if it is outside your experience, balanced with an almost total absence of sentimentality. The stories immediately and unashamedly illustrate and pound home the libertarian mantra of non-aggression, mind your own business, live and let live, without a single line of preaching. The characters and situations tell that tale both forcefully and humorously, without any hint of the monologue so beloved of such as Ayn Rand.
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