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1. Hope
2. Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp
3. The Probability Broach
4. Tom Paine Maru - Special Author's
5. Henry Martyn
6. The American Zone
7. The Crystal Empire
8. TOM PAINE MARU (Del Rey Books)
9. The Venus Belt
10. Forge of the Elders
11. Pallas
12. Brightsuit Macbear
13. The Gallatin Divergence
14. Taflak Lysandra
15. The WarDove
16. Converse and Conflict
17. The Nagasaki Vector
18. Their Majesties' Bucketeers
19. The Adventures of Lando Calrissian
20. Contact and Commune

1. Hope
by Aaron Zelman, L. Neil Smith
Paperback: 228 Pages (2008-11-19)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1604502932
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Can Alexander Hope, the accidental President, restore basic values and freedom to the nation? **** His opponents will stop at nothing to force their own agenda on the nation including killing the President of the United States. **** An electrifying what-if political thriller by Aaron Zelman (founding member of Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership) and four time Prometheus Award winner, L. Neil Smith, author of Pallas and Tom Paine Maru. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly a hopeful book.
While almost nobody wants to read about political maneuvering, this book is about politics done right.

I received this book, read it, and loaned it out - in two days. I plan to buy a few more copies to loan out to friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Imagine your government actually supporting freedom!
THis book was a delight to read.
Imagine someone believing that freedom is more than a slogan. That your constitutionally guaranteed rights meant something. Imagine that someone of moral character ran for office, and won. If that intrigues you, read this book.
It is not only a good book but a blueprint for freedom from your government and the tyranny of democracy as currently practiced.
I recommend everyone read this book, if only to get back the dreams that made this country what is was.
Good read, good plan, great ideas.

Buy this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read With Lots of Great Content
This novel is not only great fun, but it very thought provoking as well.

Alexander Hope is a retired billionaire businessman turned college history professor.He is a libertarian and ardent advocate of liberty.Some of his students convince him to seek the nomination of the 'Free Libertarian Party of America' for president.Due to some very unusual circumstances, he ends up winning the presidency.

Once in office, he is on a mission to reduce government and introduce liberty to people's lives.He is willing to do whatever it takes including some actions that will likely shock most readers. Hope is such a radical libertarian that it is likely almost everyone will be bothered by one or more of his positions.Most of the solutions here would undoubtedly do a great deal to restoring freedom to the lives of American citizens.If we actually had a situation like this, the turnaround that would be experienced would be amazing. It is a very fun book to read, at least for one who is a libertarian philosophically.I suspect that statists would not appreciate it nearly so much.

In spite of the entertainment value, the book does have a few problems.Some of these appear to be deficits that the authors have regarding our system of government such as the fact that impeachments originate in the House, not the Senate.Another one that jumps out is an error regarding the number of members of the Senate.

There are also some problems with formatting and run on words that may only apply to the Kindle version, which is the way that I read it.

Besides the problems cited above, the story has a few things that make the storyline unrealistic, even if a hardcore libertarian were elected to the presidency.

In spite of the flaws, I really enjoy this book.It has a lot of value in being thought provoking and showing some of the possibilities of freedom.I do hope that the authors will work on touching up the problem areas for future editions as this has some real potential to open the minds of those who have been dulled by the big government onslaught of the last few decades.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read, highly recommended for the budding libertarian
Especially in these dark political & socioeconomic times, this appropriately-titled book shed a beam of light on what COULD be if things were to turn around.As always, L Neil Smith delivers an entertaining story that carries a strong message of rational self-determination and the celebration of embracing one's personal freedom.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hope for America
Alexander Hope has been elected president offering Hope for America. And make no mistake, this is not the hope and change offered
by Obama and his socialist goons. Alexander Hope intends to restore individual liberty as he cracks down on the abuse of power
by government goons in Washington and across the country.
... Read more

2. Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu
by L. Neil Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 182 Pages (1983-06-12)
list price: US$2.50 -- used & new: US$34.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345311582
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Quirky
Turns out this is the first book in the Lando trilogy.Lando's recently won the Falcon, can't fly or navigate or land.How far they come to becoming a rebel general in charge of a fleet.Basically, the young gambler and "con artiste" gets conned into going to Rafa to pick up a droid he "won" in a card game.The Toku, barely sentient savages of the Rafa system, have a myth about a Key Bearer w/ dark skin and a metalloid Emissary taking the Key to the Mindharp and freeing the oppressed or something.The Sharu were an ancient people on Rafa before the Toku and the current colonists.The Mindharp allegedly has powers over the mind.So what is the Mindharp?What happened to the Sharu?How'd the Toku take over when they're barely sentient?And how can Lando regenerate toes?

These and other questions get answered.I found the story hard to read.The young impatient Lando was funny and hard to place with the cynical and hard nosed administrator of Cloud City.But you can see how he and Han would be friends.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but some small mistakes
This good book if you want to know about the history of Lando Calrissian and his droid Vuffi Raa, but there are some small things that would have made the book a bit better.Instead of saying hyperspace, the author putfaster-than-light.And there's only small mentions of the Empire, andLando's hanging around systems barely anybody's ever heard of before.Butthe conversation Lando's having with the Hall in the pyramid of the Sharuwas kind of humorous, so I recommend it if you're a big Star Wars fan (likeme) and want to expand your knowledge of theStar Wars universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars A quirky and hilarious look at the young Lando Calrissian
Lando has just one the Millenium Falcon in a card game and, against his will, also finds himself the owner of a brand new droid named Vuffi Raa.Their adventure is strange and confusing, but highly entertaining.The mystery of an ancient and highly intelligent race of beings who leave no trace of their existance except giant and impenetrable monuments has only one clue.Guess who gets to play detective. ... Read more

3. The Probability Broach
by L. Neil Smith
Paperback: 324 Pages (2001-12-12)
list price: US$18.99 -- used & new: US$10.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765301539
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Probability Broach tells the story of Win Bear, a detective on the trail of a murder. But the trail leads him to another North America, where things are different. In a world of zeppelins and no federal government, Win solves his mystery, and things are never the same for him again. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (52)

4-0 out of 5 stars A classic
A willd story.. Read it when it came out, bought it again to reread..... Enjoying it again!,,

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it now!
No confusion in the tale. It's a alternate tale coming true before my life in pelosi/obama-land now and I truly wish I could of been capable to come into the other side of this looking glass!

1-0 out of 5 stars If you love guns more than reading, you will love this book!
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe that the world would be orders of magnitude better if every "responsible child" always carried a firearm, and those other people. The author, according to his web site, is one of the former. If you are too, you will absolutely love this large collection of diverse and improbable situations featuring hot and steamy gun love. The Libertarian philosophy that might have been a bit more thought provoking as the central focus of the plot was overshadowed by the singular focus on guns. Again, if you love guns, you'll be delighted.

Politics and choice of fetishes aside, as a science fiction book, it seemed to lack a lot of elements that are hallmarks of actual good novels. The characters were very cliche and the main character really went out of his way to be a standard cliche detective. The villain was, you know, villainous, right down to his henchmen with German accents. Where the characters were not predictable, they became a bit nonsensical, like the monkeys who inexplicably have taken a fancy to wearing human clothes and smoking cigarettes. Have no fear, however, the monkeys love guns too! Hot monkey gun love! Actually, now that I think about it, the dolphins in the book did not carry guns! Well, there you go; it's not as thoroughly gun oriented as I thought.

The author also seems to be a thesaurus power user. I kept getting the feeling that he just looked up a bunch of ill-fitting synonyms in an attempt to make his descriptions more bountiful, salutary, advantageous, and discriminating. In a relatively appropriate example, the dolphin shows us how smart it is by describing humans as "desiccated" instead of "dry" or even "dehydrated" (a questionable choice given that humans are 60% water, dolphins not much more and with impermeable skin, etc... but I got the point that the dolphin was smarter than I). At one point (p247) just prior to the obligatory climatic gun duel, the referee explains the rules (let's not dwell on what committee must have formulated them) and checks to see if everyone understood them by asking, "Clear?" What follows is a very bizarre single unquoted one-word paragraph that doesn't seem to belong to the dialog. It simply says "Dianetically." Huh? Did the author get confused with a different cult? Really, that's just weird.

There was a lot of pseudo intellectualizing that kind of detracted from the more interesting gun spectacles. It is sometimes presented in an almost convincing authoritative style which the skeptical reader will grow weary of. On page 163, for example, while arguing that the rights of two people do not take precedence over the rights of a single person, a rhetorical question is posed "Are two [people] wiser [than one person]?" The correct answer you were supposed to imagine that goes with the other rhetorical questions is no, but obviously two people are generally wiser than one. Logical mistakes like that just put me off of the whole message.

If you don't mind a weak alternate universe utopia story, you will be rewarded with sumptuous descriptive discourses featuring fulsome firearms.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun read
This book is the first in a series by L Neil Smith about an alternate history in which America and the world took a different path after the american revolution. Toward a bright future of liberty, peace, and prosperity instead of the dark collectivist malfeasance of the real world.
Anyone who likes alternate history stories will like this book and those that follow. Great stories of a bright hopeful world with plenty of fun, excitement, and humor thrown in.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Twist On History
This is the book to read for fans of The Bill of Rights.

It examines a society that's built on personal responsibility, and accountability.

Warning: It'll make you think! It'll make authoritatians/politicians/tax collectors angry. Which should be enough to make any rational being want to read it.

I read it in the early eighties. I still recommend it today! ... Read more

4. Tom Paine Maru - Special Author's Edition
by L. Neil Smith
Kindle Edition: Pages (2008-10-10)
list price: US$7.99
Asin: B001HZYE04
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Corporal Whitey O'Thraight may need to choose between his own survival or that of his home planet.

Whitey O'Thraight, the Ship’s Armorer on the first interstellar vessel launched by his home planet Vespucci, finds himself stranded on a strange planet with just one other survivor.

Captured by the local Baron, they are freed by a group of monks who are much more than they initially appear to be. Their new benefactors and friends have something special in mind for the two survivors, but going along with these plans might mean the destruction of Vespucci as they knew it.

Another breath-taking adventure by the author of the award winning Pallas and The Probability Broach ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars You will not be able to put it down
Tom Paine Maru is one of those books that once you get started you won`t want to put it down until you are finished.
The basic story is about two men from a barbarous authoritarian culture come into contact with a starship from earth. The two men
are quite different. One is of the nobility and one is a peasent/servent. Their society has been cut off from earth for hundreds
of years, and they experience major culture shock. Earth culture, and the culture aboard the starship is very different from
anything they have ever experienced. A free society where individual rights and individual freedom has become almost the
cultural religion.
The peasent suddenly discovers he is a free man and the other discovers that not only does his nobility mean nothing in this new
culture, they are openly hostile to the very concept of it. He is a free man, but basicly has become a bum without any useful
skills in a high tech society where everyone is equal and expected to pull their own load.
Both have major problems adapting, but from different ends of the spectrum.
A good read with much food for thought long after the book is finished.

5-0 out of 5 stars Space Opera As It Should Be!
I purchased a copy of this when it was only available in digital form, and am convinced that it is one of the great space operas of our time. Note, I did not say science fiction - I said SPACE OPERA - this story is larger than life, grand, and speaks to great themes that most science fiction is too timid (or pessimistic) to address any more. Not only that, it presents a coherent ethical and social view of the universe that is far more hopeful and compelling than anything we see from the average writer these days.

If you enjoyed the original Star Wars, or remember Robert Heinlein with fondness, this is a book you simply will not be able to put down. Read this book, and enjoy a universe in which governments are treated as the vile, parasitic cancers that they truly are.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone!
Regardless of whether you're a Blue state koolaide drinker or a Red state iconoclast this book is more than just science fiction. It lays bare the useless and destructive nature of politics in general and government in particular. Thought provoking and argument starting from cover to cover.

A darn fine read indeed!

4-0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun
This is not great literature, but it us lots of fun. The point of the story is to showcase someone from a "conventional", feudal background who is thrown into one of Smith's no-holds-barred ultra-libertarian societies. A pleasant conceit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remember feeling good about a book?
Remember watching Star Trek for the first time? Or Star Wars?

Back before infinite special-effects budgets, when actual actors brushed dirt off their clothes when they fell down.

I wanted to join Star Fleet, even if it meant wearing a red shirt. I wanted to fly the Millennium Falcon, even if it meant being on the edge of broke or running scared once in a while. Still do.

This is how _Tom Paine Maru_ feels to me. Real people, doing stuff I can see myself doing in their place.

Not just see myself doing, the world (multiverse?) Smith has put together is one I would jump into with both feet without hesitation if the opportunity came up. ... Read more

5. Henry Martyn
by L. Neil Smith
Paperback: Pages (1991-08)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812505506
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Once you make it past the first 70 pages, get ready
A slow, slow start as befitting the swashbuckling influences that Smith cites in his dedication. But once it gets going the action builds to a fun and satisfying ending. Archaic language that takes a while to muddle through will be charming to some, offputting to others. Also be prepared for some scenes that are shocking in the description of their violence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty and pertinent
If you are looking for Wrestling-like literature, turn elsewhere.This is a wide-sweeping adventure which is vastly entertaining on several levels.Mr. Smith has managed to create a universe which seems far-removed from ourown, but which turns out to be amazingly similar at it's core.Aninspiring story about a young lad who loses his home and family, butcreates a life which inspires others.Like many of Mr. Smith's novels,this onehas masterful character development and creates dramatic visualimages.Would make an excellent film.

1-0 out of 5 stars Wannabe Sabatini
I was quite looking forward to this "star-spanning, swashbuckling, epic adventure" which hinted at being a lovely combination of space opera and Rafael Sabatini. Unfortunately it's not much more than a tepidtale of betrayal and revenge with hardly any swashbuckling and littleaction. Too many tongue-twisting names, titles, and unnecessary tweaking ofeveryday words to make them more alien to the reader. Blah. Read"Captain Blood" instead. ... Read more

6. The American Zone
by L. Neil Smith, James Frenkel
Hardcover: 350 Pages (2001-11-14)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$12.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000F6Z5TU
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Smith writes about an America that might have been if history were a little different. His is a world with no government, police or taxes. Drugs are available from vending machines and everyone owns a gun, but there is peaceuntil rebels insist upon establishing a government and regulations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good Win Bear/NAC story
The American Zone is a good novel, but you really should read at least some of the other books in the NAC series first to get
some perspective on the world presented in this book. Preferably read at least The Probability Broach, the first and best of
the series first.
The story takes place in an anarcho-capitalist alternate universe. And the story is about how a free society with almost no
government would deal with terrorist attacks. It`s a good read with plenty of food for thought.
I`ve heard some people say that Neil was trying to cash in on the 9/11 terror attacks with this book. But that is NOT true.
While the story is in some ways very similar to what happened on 9/11, note the publication date. This book was already written and
scheduled for printing and publication before 9-11-2001.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first book...
In The Probability Broach we have a really good mystery set in the background of a world where libertarian ideas flourished.The book set up a foundation for future stories.
Yet in The American Zone we have a badly designed plot thrust into the background while the libertarian ideas are pushed to the foreground.What I would of enjoyed is less of Lucy jabbering, and pissing off people, and more of a real plot set in new areas of the Confederacy or other parts of the alternate world.Surely Europe and Asia have developed their own forms of libertarian governments based on their own ideas, culture and history?
I'm sorry but some of the chapters could of been removed from the book without hurting the plot at all, a sure sign of a book that was written for something else BESIDES the story.
Come on, your preaching to the chorus!Turn around and talk to the rest, deliver the ideas of freedom and liberty WITHOUT scaring the day-lights out of them.
Lets face it, Lucy is slightly forward, if not sometimes rude towards everybody and anything she does not like or believe in.I love her, but many people, even from the same political parties, sometimes don't see eye to eye, this is not the best way to present a Libertarian, even if she is a person of fiction.
I would suggest you start out with other books by L. Neil Smith.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Smith fan says -- Buy any other work of his first ...
If you want to enjoy Smith's work, please buy ANY other book of his before this one. Especially the new edition of "The Probability Broach," the essays in "Lever Action," or his richly told "Forge of the Elders" saga.

~ Two massive terrorist acts have the detective protagonist, Win Bear, and his circle showing very little emotional reaction to them, beyond initial revulsion and bone-weariness. This rings false. Thousands have died instantly, and in a culture that is wholly unaccustomed to it. Win's lack of feeling undercuts one basic point Smith has made: that such mutual support flourishes, rather than wilts, in an individualistic and non-political culture.

~ The "stranger in a strange land" focus is weakened by a lack of vivid hints of the statist America(s) from which those in the "Zone" have escaped. Smith's stellar "Pallas" is clearly set in an alternate universe where that fact is never brought up, and his "Broach" makes this escape into one of high contrast -- and both novels are far stronger in that respect. This one is in a mushy middle ground.

~ Too many allusions are made to current American pop culture. These wrench us back too quickly to a dreary this-world present -- and we don't see how they're transmitted, nor from which alternate America.

~ The statist villains here are caricatures, introduced too quickly and pulled off stage too abruptly. Compare this to the luxurious portrait of John Jay Madison in "Broach," where you want to know him better, even while you mentally hiss him as in an old-time melodrama.

~ Names are too often tortured concoctions and are pulled too closely from "real" figures, without the intended satiric effect. "Bennett Williams" is made into a simpleton of an ideologue. William Bennett is not like this, despite his massive faults, and the point is lost.

~ Details of gunsmithery get in the way. In "Broach," they furthered the story without bogging down in a collector's zest for minutiae. Here, they end up diluting the vital point about weapons of self-defense adding to human dignity.

~ The main characters are undercut by our knowing that they show up in a half-dozen Confederacy novels set after this one. It's like knowing Anakin Skywalker is never in mortal danger in "Star Wars" II, when we realize he already was in IV through VI. (This is more distracting, though, for long-time Smith fans.)

~ The copyeditor and proofreader were out to lunch on this one. Misspellings, mispunctuation, shifts of tense, and over-repeated character backgrounds are constant and distracting.

Neither author nor reader deserves to have this highly flawed book discourage newcomers from sampling Neil Smith's talent and enjoying his utter passion for human liberty.

3-0 out of 5 stars Went to a political sermon and a mystery broke out.
This is not the best of the North American Confederacy series.The book is supposed to be a mystery about some terrorist attacks in a world with no government where the people are free, responsible, and prosperous.

What the book really is is a set of political sermons mixed in the midst of a mystery.The mystery itself is incredibly weak.The investigators (good guys) do little more than ask the usual suspects (federalists) if they had anything to do with it and if they might know who.It's not until near the end of the book that a federalist turns traitor and comes to the investigators and explains everything, including who, why, when, where, and how.Some detective work!

This being said, the political sermons are interesting and thought provoking.Some elements seem contradictory.How can someone be sued for violating your rights if there is no law being broken?Who will enforce the judgements if initiation of force is not allowed?How can someone protect their trademarks, patents, or intellectual property if there are no trademark or patent law?

Still, the author's dream of a society built on freedom, individual rights, and minimal gov't is enticing and that makes this book worthwhile reading.Do yourself a favor and read the first and superior book "The Probability Broach".

3-0 out of 5 stars This is not The Probability Broach
The Probability Broach (1980) tells the story of Win Bear, a detective from Denver, who falls through a hole between universes, meets another version of himself and other interesting people, and saves the day for the good guys.It is very reminiscent of Beyond This Horizon, and other Heinlein stories, in both tone and politics, and the plot came right out of H. Beam Piper.Naturally I loved it and immediately bought every other Smith novel that I could find.

The American Zone (2001) continues this story with Win settled in the house and business of his intercontinual doppleganger.He has married Clarissa MacDougall Olson, a woman straight out of the Lensman series and the sweetheart every red-blooded American male yearns to marry, and his only problem seems to be keeping his weight down.

The novel starts with a bang, literally, as Greater LaPorte celebrates Independence Day.Win is watching the fireworks when a couple of potential clients show up to engage his services.Someone is smuggling videos across the universes that star their dopplegangers or have other actors in their roles.Since they are the local equivalents of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, this intercontinua competition is cutting into their royalties.

As Gable and Lombard are leaving, the sound and pressure wave of a huge explosion pass through.Someone has blown up the Old Endicott Building.And this is just the first in a series of manmade diasters.Who is using terrorist tactics against the North American Confederacy?

At this point the explanations begin.Unfortunately, these backgrounders mostly involve talking heads and some extravagant claims are made for the libertarian philosophy.This pontification got in the way of the story over and over again.While enjoying political discussions and intrigued with the possibilities of libertarianism, I would rather be shown the ideas than be told.

Heinlein did a much better job of weaving the ideology into the action.Even in Starship Troopers, which I consider his most political novel, he presented the philosophy as part of the daily life of the protaganist.Smith tries this approach, but the philosophy overwhelms the plot.

The plot, however, is very weak.Win and his friends reckon that the only people who would gain from these terrorist acts are the political fringe groups avocating more government and successively visit the authoritarians (and their monarchist offshoots), the majoritarians, and the fascists.Meanwhile, Win keeps following leads to the video smugglers.And somebody keeps trying to kill him.

After bumbling around, Win falls into the answers to both his case and the terrorist problems.We are treated to a few interesting treatises on guns, knives and technology throughout the story and meet a number of interesting and disgusting characters along the way.Nevertheless, the ending is just not as satisfying as I would expect.

The book title refers to the section of town settled by intercontinua immigrants who have not yet adapted to their new universe.The Hanging Judge is a restaurant in the middle of the American Zone where most of the political discussions and confrontations occur.The most effective presentations of the libertarian ideology in this book are shown by contrasting the actions and words of different immigrants.Some just want their governmental mommies and others want to be free of government controls.

Other reviewers keep referring to 9/11 as if such terrorist actions invalidate libertarian ideas.Smith's North American Confederacy is a form of limited anarchy and anarchy does not invite terrorist acts;the power is too distributed.It is vulnerable, however, to those who want to establish a government to exploit the people.Cecil Rhodes, Lenin and Hitler come to mind.

If you did not already know, this novel will show you why Smith is a favorite of the libertarian set.Unfortunately, the political diatribes get in the way of the story.While it may have been long awaited, this sequel of The Probability Broach is not as entertaining as the original.

Libertarians will buy this book to wallow in their philosophy.Readers of other political persuasions are more likely to bypass it.Overall, I think Smith has a bad case of preaching to the choir;he would be more successful as a political propagandist -- as well as a novelist -- if he provided more entertainment and less philosophy.

I am quite disappointed.However, the inside jokes -- e.g., Clarissa, Will Sanders -- and public jokes -- e.g., Buckley and Bennett Williams -- are funny.

-Arthur W. Jordin ... Read more

7. The Crystal Empire
by L. Neil Smith
Paperback: 378 Pages (2010-02-17)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1604504528
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Impressively Imagined" -Kirkus Reviews ****Earth is ruled by three mighty empires: The Saracen-Jewish Empire led by the Caliph of Rome, the Mughal-Arab Empire, ferocious in its determination to destroy its neighbor, and the great Sino-Aztec's Crystal Empire, led by a living God. ****Little is known about the Crystal Empire, which spans most of western America. But it is the most powerful force surviving on Earth and its might is unchallenged. ****One man, however, will change that. Sedrich Sedrichsohn, a legendary fallen fighter, has a chance at redemption and nothing will stand in his way to reclaim his life and his purpose, even if he must fight the Sun-God himself. **** "A vibrant, science-fiction epic filled with verve, dash and inventive characters. It's creative, and it's fun, a fine bit of escapist fare for winter reading" -The Chatanooga Times ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
This could be the best Science Fiction book ever written, certainly among the top ten!

3-0 out of 5 stars The Crystal Palace has some cracks in it.
Briefly, this was not what I had expected. Not that it was a horrible book, or that it wasn't interesting, but it didn't follow anything anywhere, the characters weren't fleshed out at all, and the plot was so-so. The idea of a post-Plague world where the Saracens and others control the world is interesting, as are the land ships, but the novel leaves something wanting because it feels no need to elaborate. I would only recommend this book to fans of the author, otherwise if you're looking for good fantasy or alternativehistory novels, look elsewhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably my favorite alternate history novel
I have a very strange relationship with this novel, and more specifically, its author.L. Neil Smith is probably one of the most recognizable libertarian scifi authors around.I personally find libertarianism ridiculously naive, and since the majority of Smith's books deal with libertarian themes, I have a hard time taking them seriously or enjoying them.

The Crystal Empire, however, is not one of those.It is an alternate history novel, pure and simple.As another reviewer said, if there was a libertarian message in this one, I missed it.Thankfully.

The plot deals with the adventures of Sedrich Sedrichson, a native of a small Vinland-ish settlement in eastern North America - one of the last remnants of European culture in this world, founded by people fleeing a Black Plague that almost completely decimated Europe.Sedrich has been tasked with delivering the daughter of the Caliph of the Saracen-Jewish Empire, which dominates most of Europe, to her future husband, the god-like emperor of a strange and amazing Sino-Aztec empire in the far west of America.

Sedrich is a pretty sympathetic character, as is Ayesha, the Caliph's daughter.Their interaction, their chemistry, is great, and their story is evocative of the best of classic literature.If Shakespeare collaborated on an alternate history novel with George RR Martin, this might be the result.Yes, it's that good, in my opinion.

So... an author whose works and personal philosophy I find idiotic has managed to turn out what is probably my favorite alternate history novel, one which I re-read every couple of years.Very odd.At any rate, if anyone out there has been turned off of Smith after his Probability Broach universe novels, I urge you to give this one a try, and possibly Henry Martyn, also by Smith, which is fairly decent as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthy
L. Neil Smith is most noted for his libertarian works.This novel is a bit different.It may be a study or lesson in libertarianism but if so I missed the lesson.That is not to say the novel is boring or not worth the read.Far from it.This is an alternate history novel and one done very well.

In L. Neil Smiths future the Europeans and Christians or gone due to a plague which was far more demonstrous then the one encountered in our timeline.This is a very similar premise to what Kim Stanley Robinson used 15 years later in his "Years of Rice and Salt".Smith does it better.In this novel the event change had a clear plot purpose where as in Robinson's novel I never quite got the point.

A densely written novel which requires careful reading and can not be skimmed through.If you give the novel the effort is deserving of you will enjoy the encounter.A worthy novel which should come back into print. ... Read more

8. TOM PAINE MARU (Del Rey Books)
by L. Neil Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages (1984-07-12)
list price: US$2.75 -- used & new: US$4.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034529243X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars THOMAS PAIN MARU

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't support censorship
This Del Rey edition of "Tom Paine Maru" was deliberately butcherer by cutting all philosophical and political content at the hands of Del Rey's editors.

Don't support such censorship. I read the Del Rey edition and later found an uncensored version on the web. L. Neil is right they butchered what he wrote

5-0 out of 5 stars Times were tough...
Corporal Whitey O'Thraight came from a harsh planet, a planet that sent him, and the rest of the crew, to look for a better planet.But the Asperance's first voyage is its last when just a few hours after landing most of his people are killed by the savages (who are living in their version of the Middle Ages).It seems he has the choice between being burned at the stake or just tortured.
But then he is freed by the crew of the Tom Paine Maru.And then things get dangerous.
A great book, kind of a sequel to The Venus Belt. It can stand alone, all you have to do is read enough of it to get the basic background.Set in The Probability Broach universe, so lots of surprises and a interesting setting.

5-0 out of 5 stars You will renew your enjoyment of L. Neil Smith
While set in the Other world of Freedoms and Personal Rights. It will catch you up on the families you first meet in the "The Probability Broach". It will open your mind if you would allow it to, making youlook around and say why are we not more like that. ... Read more

9. The Venus Belt
by L Neil Smith
Paperback: 166 Pages (2009-07-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1604504420
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
More than a 150,000 womenhave been kidnapped without a trace or any ransom demand in the 'normal' world run by the Federalists and the bureaucracy. But that is not the only problem, because the freedom loving population in the 'alternate' reality of the North American Confederacy are facing their own crises. *** People are disappearing across the Probability Broach, including Win Bear's closest friend, Featherstone-Haugh (who heads the Confederacy), and even Win's wife and assistant. *** Ill (and deadly) winds are blowing and threatening to destroy the Probability Broach as we know it. Win Bear, keeping one step ahead of lethal assassins and fighting incredible odds, must solve multiple apparantly disparate cases that all seem to lead to the end of freedom. *** ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good sequel to The Probability Broach
While it may not be quite as good as the original book, the author is able, with the main characters already firmly established, to have a lot more fun with the story line right off the bat. The story is a mixed bag, part sci-fi, part adventure, part social
commentary, with a good dash of humor thrown in, it makes for a pretty good read.
To keep it short, if you liked the Probability Broach, you will like this book. If you didn`t, you probably will not care for it.
An excellent alternate history story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Jumping Sharks in the Asteroid Belt -- and Beyond!
The second in the "Win Bear" detective / alternate history / political lecture series -- and right about where they jumped the shark.Lots of gadgetry and bizarre settings.Plenty of outlandish characters -- human and otherwise.Entirely too much eye-rolling Libertarian college sophomore bull session philosophizing.

What should not be missed is the most viciously funny caricature of pompous ol' Walter Cronkite in all of literature.(Easy to spot if you know what the German homonym of his last name means.And think "Jimmy Carter.")

5-0 out of 5 stars Crime wasn't much of a problem.
Not in the North American Confederacy.Not until people start disappearing left and right.And Detective Win Bear's close friends start to vanish also.
At first he figures that some Hamiltonians might still be running about, but as the clues (or clews) start to pile up everything starts to point to the other side of the Probability Broach.But right when you'ld think things might start to clear up the Bear Curse kicks in and makes everything even worse- there seems to be TWO plots going on at the same time.
If Win Bear doesn't figure out what's happening, and fast, both universes might end up under the Iron Heel of a Totalitarian State! ... Read more

10. Forge of the Elders
by L. Neil Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 640 Pages (2001-04-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671319825
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the twenty-first-century world, Marxist communist humanscompete with the capitalist Elders, an alien race resembling giant squid, for control of an asteroid ful of valuable minerals and other resources. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
As others of stated already, this is primarily a lecture on extreme Libertianism (ie Anarchy.....sorry, I amLibertarian...not an anarchist..the two are NOT synonymous.)

While I enjoyed his first Libertarian books (Probability Broach, Venus Belt, etc) I quickly discovered that the same kind of slap stick humor can get old....and the constant weird aliens....well...you get the point.In this book.....Smith set out to lecture and he did just that...seemingly writing the lecture first and then fitting bits and pieces of story here and there.

I like Mr. Smith, have even corresponded with him several years ago.I truly respect him and the philosophy he advocates (even if I do not agree with it 100%).Yet I truly think he needs to worry more about the story, and focus more on humans..

For those of you wanting a good story featuring Libertarian values, I highly suggest his first book, The Probability Broach, or perhaps Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson. As for this book....I would give it a pass...it was a waste of money.

5-0 out of 5 stars From the frying pan into the fire...
This is a three-in-one book, publishing Contact And Commune (renamed First Time The Charm), and Converse And Conflict (named Second To One), with the third and, maybe, final book in the series - Third Among Equals.
The asteroid, 5023 Eris, has turned out to be a ship - a very, very old space ship full of danger but little in the way of answers for the Elders.Then there is ANOTHER murder.Also it turns out that the ship isn't uncrewed.And, what do you know, the Banker, one of the most powerful men on Earth, may still be alive.
Eichra Oren and his friend Sam have their hands (and paws) full.Enemies are coming from every direction - from within their ranks, from within the asteroid and maybe from beyond the stars!Toss in the Galactic Confederacy and you have WHOLE other Universe thrown into the mix.
It makes you want to toss in your sword, scream Uncle and get drunk.Great ending, maybe, to the series.
I keep saying maybe because you never know with Mr. Smith.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where's the story?
I can't believe this book is so highly rated, you should all be ashamed of yourselves for propping it up just because you agree with the politics.I'm an active card-carrying Libertarian and a fan of Smith's other books but this was just one long dry lecture delivered by aliens.His other books showed, this one just shoves.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Slow Read
This novel, divided into three books in one volume, took me the better part of a year to read.The problem for me was the extensive detail, especially to socio-political theory.Most of the time I felt as though I was merely observing the author talking to himself, setting up one straw man after another and then knocking each one down.

If atheism bothers you and anarcho-capitalism isn't your cup of tea, then this book won't do much for you.The science fiction aspect didn't really become interesting until the third section of the book, after already enduring seemingly endless political tirades.It was, in a word, tedious.

Though I'm glad that I can say I've now read a book by this author, I do not intend to follow up with any of his other work.

5-0 out of 5 stars L. Neil Smith for President!
I started with Lever Action, his first (and only I believe) non-fiction book.Lever Action led me to his science fiction works. Now I can read Heinlein or Smith when I need some intelligent fun.
peace joe silvestri ... Read more

11. Pallas
by L. Neil Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 448 Pages (1995-05)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812509048
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
True to his namesake, Emerson Ngu follows the way of individualism, making him the hero of Pallas, a libertarian paradise atop an asteroid, and the enemy of former senator Gibson Altman, the jealous leader of a communist dystopia. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good beginning to a trilogy
When I first started reading this I thought to myself, "What a great idea". Meaning the encapsulation of an entire asteroid, terraforming the surface and then populating the resultant planetoid with people who represent the extremes of human organization.On the one hand there are the "rugged individualists" who live by a Covenant of Unanimous Consent and on the other the "ant farm" where "From each according to his ability and to each according to his need," and other Marxist platitudes are taken seriously.Anyone familiar with Smith's earlier works will be able to predict who the final "winner" will be but, as with many worthwhile things, the journey is the important part.

This book was, in part, inspired by a 1987 article "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race" written by Jared Diamond.In the article, Diamond argues that, contrary to popular belief, agriculture was not an unalloyed blessing.However, where Diamond concentrates on the effects of agriculture on health and longevity, Smith illustrates through the contrasting societies on Pallas how it also enabled hierarchal religion, taxation, and the modern state.All three of which Smith sees as institutions to be cast aside as soon as possible.

I do have a few quibbles with the book,First, Smith imagines that handguns can fill the same technological niche as rifles do.This is a well known characteristic of Smith and should be expected in his stories.Secondly, a bit over halfway through the book "cold" fusion suddenly seems to work. There is no explanation of the whys and wherefores and it seem a bit too much like a Deus Ex Machina to be believable.

Some people will hate this book.It might be the guns or it might be the vision of free men and women living without the benefit of gods or governments telling them how to live.Or it might be some other of the ideas Smith plays with that make people uncomfortable.That is their loss.Science Fiction is at its core a literature of ideas and if you are interested in a vision of future mankind that doesn't condemn our descendants to cramped cities, cameras everywhere, armored LEO's, and being eaten (or worse) by slavering aliens then you may enjoy Pallas.

4-0 out of 5 stars OK to a point...
If it was just pure sci-fi without the lecturing OR a libertarian sci-fi book with a more realistic setting, I would have given it five stars.As it is, it is good enough for four.
The main character, Emerson Ngu, escapes from a U.N. colony on the terraformed asteroid of Pallas.Outside the colony people have set up a libertarian paradise.The book, the plot, is mostly the powers that be trying to bring him back OR, failing that, destroy the libertarian utopia.
This story is like The Probability Broach, where the main character is placed in a new society and, by learning the ropes, we learn a lot about the author's views on gun control, hunting, and the common good.If you're a libertarian, that's OK.If you're NOT, then it's just too much, too confusing, and maybe even enough to make a person give up after the first few chapters.
If you're new to Mr. Smith I would suggest taking the book slowly.

1-0 out of 5 stars There's good SF, there's bad SF, and there's Libertarian SF
L. Neil Smith is similar to Robert Heinlein, in much the same way that a fish taco is similar to the Great Wall of China.Heinlein wrote novels, even going so far as to include archaic distractions such as plot and characters.There is no way of identifying "Pallas" as a novel, since the entire thing is one long lecture on the virtues of toting weapons and murdering anybody who's different from L. Neil Smith.This would be distressing enough, even without the fact that L. Neil Smith is insane.But he is, and things get ugly.

The book features somebody (I hesitate to say a character) named "Emerson Ngu" (Emerson Ngu?), who heroically escapes from a Stalinist commune run by "Gibson Altman" (Gibson Altman?And didn't Stalin kick the bucket in 1954?)Since anyone who isn't an utter moron could figure out the ending of the book without bothering to read it, I won't bother explaining it.The important point is that the book does not really contain anything other that Mr. Ngu lecturing on the virtues of libertarianism.So in short, if you're one of the college-aged losers who has sexual fantasies involving Ayn Rand and uses the word hardcore to describe Ludwig von Mises, then you might as well read this slop heap since you have nothing better to do with your miserable life.But if you're a normal person wondering whether there's any entertainment to be had in "Pallas", the answer is: NO.Mr. Smith truly is insane; I'm not just saying that.To give you some idea what you're up against, consider that in a recent column Smith accused George W. Bush of collaborating with Osama bin Laden.

But the point of the book is really this.What are Gibson Altman's traits?Well, he's an exile who's on the fringes of society, he sucks off the hard work of others, he spends his days reciting nonsensical political junk that no one else believes, and he knows that he has no future.In other words, he's a perfect duplicate of the college-aged Libertarians who sit around schmoozing off their parents' money while knowing that no one in the real world will ever care about their moronic "philosophy".Libertarianism is just a glurge fantasy about how the rest of us will eventually be dragged down by our own supposedly corrupt and decadent society.But of course that fantasy will forever remain a fantasy, nothing more.To truly understand how Smith and his ilk maintain such fanatic support among their microscopic fan club, what you truly need to understand is that these people are self-loathing.It's no surprise that they enjoy seeing Smith repeatedly kick their own mirror image.

L. Neil Smith is like Robert Heinlein in one way at least; they both represent extremes in their approach to human existence.About one of his greatest characters, Heinlein once said, "Lazarus Long is so in love with life that he refused to stop living it."The same could be said of Heinlein himself, whose soul lives on in his still-popular books though his body may have failed him.Heinlein loved life, loved himself, loved others, loved science, loved art, loved love, loved sex, and he poured his love for all those things into his books.Smith, on the other hand, hates everyone else almost as much as he hates himself.His hatred for the human race is so strong that he'd gladly wipe it out just to stop other people from getting the enjoyment of life that he's denied to himself.And the purpose of his fiction is to let himself slaughter off his enemies, which is virtually everyone, time and time again without giving them a chance to fight back.I used to be offended by junk like this, but "Pallas" is so pathetic that it isn't worth my while to be offended.I used to think that Terry Brooks was the worst author of all times.Congratulations, Mr. Brooks.Against all odds, and in defiance of smug predictions by so-called experts who insisted it was impossible, you've just reached number two.

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit dry, but still a decent read...
I must agree with the Publisher's Weekly reviewer on this one - it reads more like a manifesto in novel guise than a true novel.I love the politics and the ideas behind the story, but I did not enjoy the lack of character depth. Much like the colonies, the characters were black and white - in fact, it reminded me quite a bit of Rand's Atlas Shrugged in that respect. However, if you're not in it for the character development, I certainly recommend it for the contrasting politics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pallas - Literature for the 21st Century
Not many science fiction writers can actually create a new world populated by heroic, but real people - AND convey a sense of dynamic IDEAS about society and technology that yoju would WANT the future to become.L. Neil Smith has done just that with "Pallas", arguably his BEST BOOK ever (until the upcoming "Ceres", that is! :-)Pallas tells the story of a child inventor who grows up to become a hero amidst the largely, but not exclusively, liberty-loving colony on Pallas asteroid.While the enemy is obvious, the plot twists and turns are not.In science-fiction, its the IDEAS that count, and this book ROCKS with them.As good, if not better, than Robert Heinlein and Fred Pohl.Buy and read this book and enjoy! ... Read more

12. Brightsuit Macbear
by L. Neil Smith
Paperback: Pages (1988-03)
list price: US$2.95 -- used & new: US$18.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380753243
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Libertarian SciFi
A young boy raised by an overbearing uncle, under a cloud because of his parent's death years ago, lives in a libertarian paradise where people can live on spaceships cruising among the stars.

But these people have their problems too; it seems some people are always going to want power over others, and there's always need for someone willing to stand up for their rights.

This is an adventure story, an exploration of growing up, a wish-fulfillment fantasy of playing with the most advanced tech seen yet, and a (sometimes heavy-handed) explication of the Libertarian point of view with horrible examples of what goes wrong when people seek power over others.

5-0 out of 5 stars MacBear had things to prove...
Fifteen year old Berdan Geanar was not a very happy boy.He didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, he wasn't allowed to carry a gun and his grandfather seemed to hate him.Now his grandfather had jumped ship, taking all the money and a experimental smartsuit with him.One that didn't belong to him.
Berdan decided to stop his grandfather, but doing so meant leaving the Tom Edison Maru and landing on a planet covered, from pole to pole, with jungle, dangerous animals and exotic cultures.
Set after the events in Tom Paine Maru ( which is set in the Confederacy universe) the novel is fast, fun and, like many of the author's books, about people who belive in being themselves - about TRUE freedom.The book could be red as a stand alone novel or as one part of the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars keystrokes in the snow
I am proud to be the first in about two years to review this book. A continuation on Neil's Probability Broach series, it serves as yet another reminder that inidividuals do exist, and provides hope that, in the future,they still will.

Like Robert Heinlein, Neil gives the reader more tocontinue for, if only in the capacity of knowledge that someone can see abright, sterling future.

J. L. L. F.

4-0 out of 5 stars The start of a great adventure (beginning in the middle)
L. Neil Smith again proves that rugged individualism and personal accountability are important part of anyone's life who truly wants to be free. This novel shows the trials of a young man who has been robbed of the cradle of a loving family and must find his own life through daring interstellar adventure. A great addition to the back log of Smith's books that speak well of the future and of the potential of humanity.

4-0 out of 5 stars I give this book to middle school kids in foster homes
Because this book is about a heroic kid who successfully faces adversity and a hostile home life, I give this book to middle school kids in foster homes. Tom Glas ... Read more

13. The Gallatin Divergence
by L. Neil Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 240 Pages (1985-08-12)
list price: US$2.95
Isbn: 0345303830
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Did it happen that way?
In the time line of the North American Confederacy there is no povery, no war, hardly any crime and not much in the way of government.But that can all change if the Hamiltonians get their way.
It seems they plan to travel back in time to both crush the Whiskey Rebellion and kill Albert Gallatin.Now it is up to Win Bear, an ex-Denver Cop, Lucille Gallegos Kropotkin, who carries more iron than most armies, and a porpoise to save the universe.
The action, for those of you who know nothing of your early American history, can get messy and downright confusing.Add the changes Mr. Smith tossed in and the speed in which the plots move, and some of you may wish to just sit this one out.

5-0 out of 5 stars For Want of a Word
The Gallatin Divergence is the fifth novel written in the Confederacy series, but the sixth in chronological sequence according to my reckoning, which is subject to change as I re-read the series and Smith turns out new books.Prior to this novel, Edward William Bear (the one from the USA timeline) and Clarissa MacDougal Olson Bear have moved to the Second Asteroid Belt and established a homestead, where they practiced their professions and raised their daughters.Now their daughters are away on the Tom Paine Maru and Clarissa has acquired a fatal disease on a mercy mission to a ravaged timeline.Since the disease was incurable at the time, Win and Clarissa have themselves placed in stasis to wait for a cure.

In this novel, Win is awakened by Lucille Gallagos Kropotkin to take on a mission to prevent a Hamiltonian agent from going back in time to kill Albert Gallatin, founding father of the Confederacy timeline.Edna Janof, a staunch Hamiltonian, has somehow survived her presumed death in an aircar crash -- helped by gunfire from Win and friends -- and has commissioned Hirnschlag von Ochskahrt, a competent if not brilliant physicist, to invent a time machine, then stepped into the past, leaving Hirnschlag manacled to a bench with three metric pounds of plastique on time delay.Fortunately, he escaped but the time machine and the laboratory itself were destroyed.Oolorie P'wheet, the theoretical physicist porpoise, determines the space/time coordinates of the time broach and builds another to send back a rescue party -- for Gallatin, not Janof.

Clad in faux buckskins over a 22nd century thin-skin suit, carrying an imitation "Kentucky" rifle with a Heller Effect stasis beam, and bearing an anachronistic Bowie knife,Win steps into the 18th century and immediately stumbles over Hirnschlag, dropping pots, pans, powder horns, and knives all over the place.After this auspicious start, Win and friends -- Ed (his Confederacy doppelganger), Lucy and Hirnschlag -- make their way to an observation point on Bower Hill, each loaded with essential supplies and equipment, include Hirnschlag's cello.From there, they watch the crucial events leading to the Whiskey Rebellion and keep watch for Edna Janof.

The following chapters portray a version of the actual events of that time, up to a point of divergence at Braddock's Field.Like all reenactments, the minor details are fictional, yet reasonably consistent with written accounts and the customs of that time.Both the Rebels and the Federalists come across as mostly long-winded and indecisive, with some exceptions such as John Baldwin and Alexander Hamilton.The Rebels have meeting after meeting until the critical council where only the (fictional) intervention of Albert Gallatin focuses the issue on the illegal (in the alternate timeline) nature of the Constitution as designed by the Federalists.

In the Confederacy timeline, Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "the unanimous consent of the governed" in the Declaration of Independence, differing thereby from the corresponding phrase in this timeline only by the word "unanimous".An armed rebellion of citizens, Gallatin pointed out, was prima facie evidence of lack of unanimity and thus the illegality of the revenue act.

This novel fills in the backstory of the Confederacy, but also illustrates the author's cynicism and sense of humor.The chapter heading are modifications of well-known phrases -- e.g., The Bombs of August -- and the situations have more than a modicum of slapstick -- e.g., Win has an overfull bladder and a gunpowder bomb with a short fuse rolls in...what to do? -- but the premeditated topper is the list of Confederacy presidents, including Harriet Beecher, H.L. Mencken and A. Rand.It is wordy -- Win Bear's stream of consciousness is like the Mississippi river:wide and winding;also windy as Chicago on a bad day -- but still fun.Don't read this book if you are a no nonsense, straight to the point type, but Faulkner fans will feel at home with the style if not the content.

Recommended for Smith fans and anyone who likes SF adventure stories with political sidebars.

-Arthur W. Jordin

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding!!
The Gallatin Divergence is positively the perfect sequel to the best book of Liberatarian Sci-Fi I have ever read!!If you like "alternate-history" type books, you'll love this one AND it's predecessor, "The Probability Broach".

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent sequel to "The Probability Broach"
Detective Win Bear returns in this much-more-SFish sequel to _The_Probability_Broach_ by the same author.More than anything else, this novel gives you an opportunity to see, at the human level, what the author thinks might have led to the anarchistic North American Confederacy of the earlier novel. ... Read more

14. Taflak Lysandra
by L. Neil Smith
 Paperback: 230 Pages (1988-11)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380753235
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars TAFLAK LYSANDRA

5-0 out of 5 stars Voyage to the surface of the planet...
Majesty's surface was covered by jungle.Jungle, in some areas, that was six miles DEEP.Nobody had EVER seen what lay at the bottom, not even the natives, the taflak, knew what was under the Sea of Leaves.So when Lysandra and her father, G. Howell Nahuatl (both characters from Tom Paine Maru) are hired to test out a subfoline they don't know what they will find.A Yeti, a lost civilization and the Hooded Seven.Oh my.
The first few chapters overlap the last few chapters of BrightSuit MacBear.In fact, both Middle C and Goldberry, characters from BrightSuit MacBear, become major characters in this story.
Here is the funny part.When I first red this story years ago I knew nothing about the Confederacy Series or about L. Neil Smith.I enjoyed the story, then years later found The Probability Broach and only now have linked the book to the author.Taflak Lysandra is a adventure story, first and last, set in a different universe.Once again, you could read it as a stand alone, like I did so many years ago, or as part of the greater whole, like I just finished doing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Weakest of the L. Neil's Confederacy books
I've enjoyed all of the Confederacy (not southern confederacy) books written by L. Neil Smith since the first one "The Probability Broach."However, this one was the least enjoyable of the stories.

Similar plot line to most of the others.Free and highly armed individuals whip evil pro-government conspirators. ... Read more

15. The WarDove
by L. Neil Smith
Paperback: 220 Pages (1999-01-31)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$131.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584450274
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Earth was destroyed in 2023 and only Lunar colonists survived. Nine hundred years later, in a star-spanning "nation" without conscription or taxation, "The Parkinson" is transporting famous entertainer Chelsie Bradford on a tour of the galaxy to raise funds for a very unpopular interstellar war. Captain Nathaniel Blackburn of Coordinated Arm Intelligence must find out who's killing rock musicians raising money for the War Against the Clusterian Powers.

Then the deaths begin.

Blackburn knows the killer will strike again. But he doesn't know why. Are the murders acts of sabotage--or acts of twisted love? Political passion, or personal fury directed at the beautiful, enigmatic Chelsie? . . . the woman who is--the WarDove! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
L. Neil Smith can't write bad fiction.Wardove is proof that he can write fiction that isn't great.

The writing is tight and the characters are believable.But it's by far the most conventional and predictable plot I've ever read from Smith.There are none of the startling new SF concepts, no new philosophical insights to mull over, not even much libertarian rabble-rousing.

He presents us with a 900-year-old post-apocalypse lunar libertarian paradise, but fails to describe it at all; it's not even a backdrop to the action.His aliens talk and act just like humans.In the prologue he gives away everything about the ending but the identity of the villain, and most of the characters are so unlikeable that it could have been any of them and we wouldn't really care.And he dots the beginning, end, and sometimes even the middle of every chapter with faux rock lyrics that add nothing but obstacles for your eyes to trip over.

Whoever did the blueline editing for this edition at pulpless.com should never work in the business again.

Some El Neil books are among my all-time favorites and some are not, but this is the first one I can only describe as disappointing.He never finished the trilogy (unless the Martyn books count) and that's a shame, because the Coordinated Arm concept was intriguing.But if this is as far as he could take it, maybe it's for the best.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book.
The Wardove is a fast read, and fairly enjoyable.Written in 1986, it's obviously influenced by BLADE RUNNER.

Story concerns a cynical, hard-boiled noir detective circa A.D. 3000.Set on a Libertarian lunar society, where most people view statists as weird and evil.

Luna is atwar with "Powerists" and, being a libertarian society, must raisefunds for the war voluntarily.The "wardove" is a pop singerwho's touring with her band to raise money for the war effort.Evilstatists are murdering the members of her band, and the detective must findthe killer.

The libertarian solutions and society are intriguing.

Onthe down side, the aliens are silly, as loopy and unrealistic as those inmost British sci-fi TV series (e.g. Dr. Who or the Hitchhiker's Guide tothe Galaxy).Ogats resemble floating umbrellas, and Ewons are like giantblue starfish.Amazingly, both survive in human environments, working sideby side with humans.And these aliens -- they're libertarians too!

Evenworse, this Pulpless... edition is FULL of typos.Broken paragraphs,reversed quotation marks, quotation marks and commas where there should benone, misspellings, missing periods and commas.

The wardove's"lyrics," strewn throughout the book, are dull and slow thingsdown.

They story is enjoyable, yet uneven, veering from drearilyhackneyed to strikingly original.

The identity and death of the villainis laughably unoriginal and ineptly handled.Yet the "wardove,"her personality and effect on people, why she is as she is, and her finalscene with the detective, are insightful and true to life, avoiding thecliches inherent in noir sci-fi.

If you like noir sci-fi &libertarian politics, you should enjoy THE WARDOVE despite the numeroustypos.

1-0 out of 5 stars Out of print for a reason
This is not a "Broach" sequel, nor is it as Libertarian as the better of his works are. He still turns a phrase and it is readable. But this is not on my list of his memorable works. Don't "save it" toread at a special time, just read it when you have nothing you wish toreread.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read Me First: then 'Henry Martyn' and 'Bretta Martyn'
I've never read a bad piece of writing by L.Neil Smith, which is more than I can say even for other sci-fi greats.This book, however, comes through edgy and somewhat pessimistic-appropriate for a quasi-tragedy.If you wantbrain-candy, forget it-this one, as do all Neil's books, makes you thinkand question cherished assumptions.

Neil, as a musician himself, does awonderful job of portraying the bizarre alchemy of glitter and sleaze thatis the music industry.If anything, his work is almost too realistic.Youcan smell the stale cigarette smoke and sense the sweaty ambience ofdressing-room miasma as you read.

If you want to get 'Henry Martyn' or'Bretta Martyn' but haven't yet, do yourself a favor and get 'The WarDove'first; it contains background essential to Neil's later, bigger books. Bewarned: the style of the 'Martyn' tales differs greatly, and may not be toeveryone's taste.Still, Neil ties it together masterfully at the end of'Bretta Martyn.'You'll want to read all three--unless you're aClinton/Gore supporter who substitutes emotional reaction for clearthinking.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT SF DETECTIVE STORY!

16. Converse and Conflict
by L. Neil Smith
 Paperback: Pages (1990-06)
list price: US$4.95 -- used & new: US$14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0445207124
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wounded Birds
Both Contact and Commune and Converse and Conflict are in fact part of the novel Forge of the Elders. A third book in this artificially created trilogy was never published by Warner Books. It is the Concluding third of FotE. While I would not discourage anyone from buying these truncated books, I would urge you to buy Forge of the Elders either in dead tree or kindle versions, otherwise you will be frustrated by the absence of the concluding third of the story.
A.X. Perez

5-0 out of 5 stars Right when you thought things were simple...
Sequel to Contact And Commune, we enter right where the first book left off.Eichra Oren and his talking dog, Sam, have solved the murder mystery only to find out that the Elders need them to do another job.They want him to keep the ancient secret they came to find a secret.To keep the Earthlings, at least the Earthlings from that universe, from finding out what it is.But how can he keep it a secret when they won't even tell HIM what it is?
And when Russia, America and China all want the secret, whatever it is, things really start to heat up.As in nuclear missiles and fleets of warships.
You really need to read the first book - Converse And Conflict is not a stand alone novel. ... Read more

17. The Nagasaki Vector
by L. Neil Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 256 Pages (1983-03-12)
list price: US$2.75 -- used & new: US$23.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345303822
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most humorous of the NAC series
This is easily the most humorous of Smith`s NAC series of novels.
Win Bear gets a visit from an unusual fellow who is not just from the future, but a future produced by an alternate history.
The visitor`s life is a bit of a mess, what with his time machine being hijacked, ending up in an unfamilure alternate past, the hijackers trying to do him in, and being followed around by a group of tiny aliens who are convinced that he is god.
A fun story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT SMITH STORY
this is the funniest of all the L Neil Smith books...from the prospective of someone from an over reaching government to total Libertarianism and the shock that comes from oppressiveness to total freedom...just a great funny read for future Ron Paulites

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books
I found this novel to be hysterically funny. While reading it, keep an eye out for the many names that are anagrams for public figures - makes it even funnier...

1-0 out of 5 stars Preachy and unconvincing
Combines the worst features of Kim Stanley Robinson and Jerry Pournelle, without the redeeming qualities of either.

I'm generally sympathetic towards libertarian ideas and fiction. But this book made me want to go out and repress someone, just to be contrary. The only people I can imagine liking this are people who are already absolutely convinced of the absolute and unconditional RIGHTEOUSNESS of the author's 2x4 message (whack!), with neither nuance nor room for discussion. If that fits your religion, go for it.

There are better treatments out there. Anyone who wants some really first-class libertarian writing should check out Vernor Vinge's story "The Ungoverned," or Poul Anderson's Hugo-winning "No Truce With Kings." Both of these are far better stories, far better written--and far more convincing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great tongue-in cheek Time-travel novel.
Set in the same framework as one of his other great books, The Probability Broach, Mr. Smith has created yet another tongue-in-cheek, cynical and sarcastic poke at established society and liberalism.The hero, Bernie Gruenblum, is a delightfully politically incorrect individual; a refreshing character in an age where more and more authors find it impossible to visualize anything controversial.Bernie's one desire is to sit back, enjoy life (preferably a large beer and long cigar with a wench on the side), but keeps getting interupted with crises such as his flying-saucer/time-machine getting hijacked.Again, like his other North American Confederacy books, if you are a liberal or of left wing politics, don't bother.Otherwise it is a GREAT and amusing read ... Read more

18. Their Majesties' Bucketeers
by L. Neil Smith
 Mass Market Paperback: 176 Pages (1981-07-12)
list price: US$2.25 -- used & new: US$87.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345292448
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read
Smith makes a good attempt at picturing aliens. His aliens are different enough from anything found on earth to be believeable.
The alien society is a bit too much like human society. But it`s a better effort than most make in doing this sort of novel.
And since there are no human characters in the story, the human reader needs to be able to identify in some way to make it a good
novel. If he made their culture too alien it would be more of an academic speculation than a novel.
Overall it`s a good book that you will enjoy reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best novel of an alien society; Smith's second best book
"Their Majesties' Bucketeers" is a remarkable creation: Science fiction meets Sherlock Holmes, with a fascinating alien psychology thrown in. Beautiful! It's Smith's second best book, after "The ProbabilityBroach." And it is the best book I have ever read of a totally alienculture. Wonderful! I think L. Neil Smith had a lot of fun writing this,and I know I really enjoyed reading it, every time I have read it. Highlyrecommended. Needs to be republished immediately!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best novel of an alien society; L. Neil's second best novel
"Their Majesties' Bucketeers" is a remarkable invention: Science fiction meets Sherlock Holmes, with a fascinating alien psychology thrown in. Beautiful! It's Smith's second best book, after "The ProbabilityBroach." And it is the best book I have ever read of a totally alienculture. Wonderful! I think L. Neil had a lot of fun writing this, and Iknow I enjoyed reading it, every time I have read it. Highly recommended.Needs to be republished immediately! ... Read more

19. The Adventures of Lando Calrissian
by L. Neil Smith
Paperback: Pages (1994)
-- used & new: US$10.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000OVQLKI
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20. Contact and Commune
by L. Neil Smith
 Paperback: 208 Pages (1990-01-01)
list price: US$3.95 -- used & new: US$5.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0445207108
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wounded birds
Both Contact and Commune and Converse and Conflict are in fact part of the novel Forge of the Elders. A third book in this artificially created trilogy was never published by Warner Books. It is the Concluding third of FotE. While I would not discourage anyone from buying these truncated books, I would urge you to buy Forge of the Elderseither in dead tree or kindle versions, otherwise you will be frustrated by the absence of the concluding third of the story.
A.X. Perez

5-0 out of 5 stars A mystery set in a sci-fi setting...
First the space expedition sets down on 5023 Eris to claim the asteroid only to find somebody else was already there.But those that are already there are not human.Nor do they wish to give up the asteroid.And while Earth demands the expedition kick them out it is unlikely that will happen - the beings are from an alternate series of Earths and have technology that could be up to 200 million years ahead of the United World Soviet.
Now, add a couple of murders and shake well.
L. Neil Smith's works can get very heavy when he decides to debate and lecture instead of tell a tale.In his book he tells a tale, a interesting one, in which he keeps the setting just that, a setting in the background, that colors the story and molds the characters reactions, but doesn't hit us like a hammer. I liked the cover - unlike many sci-fi books the cover shows a real event in the novel and is one of the reasons I grabbed it. ... Read more

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