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L. Neil Smith (1946–2021)

Author of The Adventures of Lando Calrissian

37+ Works 3,534 Members 55 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

L. Neil Smith is the three-time winner of the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian Fiction for his novels Pallas (1993), Forge of the Elders (2000), and The Probability Broach (1980). As founder and National Coordinator of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, publisher of the on-line magazine show more The Libertarian Enterprise, and a Life member of the National Rifle Association, Smith is renowned for his prominence in the Libertarian movement, of which he has been a part for more than thirty-five years. Author of more than twenty books, Smith has been hailed for his ability to combine adventure, humor, and rivetingly original political concepts to create more compellingly than any other writer, novels that embody Libertarian concepts. He currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife and daughter. show less
Image credit: Courtesy of L. Neil Smith.


Works by L. Neil Smith

The Probability Broach (1980) 340 copies
The Venus Belt (1981) 156 copies
Pallas (1993) 140 copies
The Crystal Empire (1986) 140 copies
The Nagasaki Vector (1983) 131 copies
Tom Paine Maru (1984) 127 copies
The Gallatin Divergence (1985) 118 copies
Forge of the Elders (2000) 112 copies
Henry Martyn (1989) 108 copies
Their Majesties' Bucketeers (1981) 108 copies
Brightsuit Macbear (1988) 80 copies
The American Zone (2001) 77 copies
Bretta Martyn (1997) 72 copies
Taflak Lysandra (1988) 60 copies
The Wardove (1986) 59 copies
Contact and Commune (1990) 50 copies
Converse and Conflict (1990) 24 copies
Hope (2001) 22 copies
Roswell, Texas (2008) 16 copies
Ceres (2010) 9 copies
Blade of p'Na (2016) 4 copies
Phoebus Krumm (2010) 1 copy
Open Space #3 (1990) 1 copy
Ares (2023) 1 copy
TimePeeper 1 copy

Associated Works

Stellar #7: Science-Fiction Stories (1981) — Contributor — 58 copies
Stellar #5: Science-Fiction Stories (1980) — Contributor — 55 copies
Free Space (1997) — Contributor — 53 copies
Stellar #6: Science-Fiction Stories (1981) — Contributor — 45 copies
Future Washington (2005) — Contributor — 35 copies
Open Space no. 3 (1990) — Contributor — 8 copies


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Common Knowledge



Author L. Neil Smith became one of my literary heroes the instant I read his first novel, "The Probability Broach." It presented, in an exciting novel, all the concepts and precepts of human rights and individual liberty I believed in -- and still do! -- in a fictional form that was entertaining as well as instructional.
L. Neil's writing style just got better and better -- most of the time. (He had a vocabulary bigger than the dictionary and sometimes he did use too many words -- an understandable, and minor, flaw, I guess.)
As I've said in other reviews, L. Neil was so well-read and knowledgeable, he could over-awe near-hermits like myself who simply don't have the knowledge of popular culture he had. Therefore, some of the references went and go over our heads.
But that just means we can re-read and re-re-read his books and get fresh insight each time.
Yes, first we read L. Neil Smith's books for the philosophy, the ideas, the support of human rights and individual liberty, but we also read for his enjoyable style, his frequent tongue-in-cheek references.
Though Neil and I talked often on the phone, and e-mailed back and forth a lot, we never met. Still, I miss him every day. Selfishly: We need, we desperately need, thinkers and writers to help us spread the message of freedom.
We can, though, continue to be grateful we have what Schopenhauer called "that paper memory of mankind," books, plus Neil's powerful essays are also available on the Internet.
His influence remains. And we are grateful.
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morrisonhimself | 2 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
Author L. Neil Smith slightly branched out in this entry to his alternative universe series -- and added another fascinating episode.
His premise, that there are limitless variations in alternative universes, offers hope to us dreamers of a world where human rights and individual liberty reign.
We dream such dreams, despite the "news" reports showing that even the very concept of human rights and individual liberty takes a beating daily. HOURLY!
Such enemies of liberty as Joe Biden and Donald Trump are so much a part of daily life, such enemies as Congress, state legislatures, city councils, county supervisors, hold such sway, dominate our lives, that it seems only in fiction do we see any consideration given to human rights and individual liberty.
So it is with gratitude we grab hold of books and essays by L. Neil Smith. We latch onto the opportunity to read his alternative universes -- but we need also to recognize his great ability in how he says what he says.
L. Neil sometimes, because his own knowledge was so great, mentions aspects of popular culture that stick-in-the-muds like me might miss. Never mind. Every one of his books has been such a treat that, if some allusions elude my grasp, heck, that's just another reason to re-read any particular book. Another good reason.
L. Neil is gone from this particular universe, but, fortunately, his books -- and his essays -- remain with us, giving us hope and entertainment and encouragement.
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morrisonhimself | 3 other reviews | Jun 30, 2023 |
The Science Fiction novel, Blade of P'Na tells a story of bio-altered, sometimes symbiotes, sapient species from around the universe. Spiders, dogs, molluscs, etc. all have a part in the story. Social aspects of diversity, sex, and inter-species communication are explored as the story of detectives, Mr. Oren and Mr. Oasam, man and sapient dog, evolve. Eichra Oren is the holder of the Blade of p'Na, a moral debt-assessor, and provides the Elders' justice when needed. The Elders, giant molluscs, provide the culture that identified Appropriated Persons of diverse species that allows a level of sapient interaction of all the species. The Elders/molluscs provide a rational, reasoned society for the story. Enemies are out to destroy the balance. Man and sapient dog are central to stopping the enemy and saving the worlds.

Author L. Neil Smith provides a story with alternative examples that humanity could adapt to find commonalities and stop contemporary violence and distrust. The story is reminiscent of 1940s detective novels with Mr Oasam, the symbiote dog, being the central character. The description of interactions and social customs, example the idea of moral debt, identify how to maintain balance and peace. The extremes of the species types, for one the spiders, provide an extreme example of groups overcoming fear of each other and respectfully normalizing differences.
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Sue_McFadden | May 18, 2023 |
In The Probability Broach author L. Neil Smith combines a hardboiled detective story with an alternate universe and a heavy dose of libertarian preaching. And yet it works. His storytelling ability is strong enough to overcome the blatantly didactic purpose behind the story.
PMaranci | 7 other reviews | Mar 29, 2023 |



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