L. Neil Smith's
Number 371, June 11, 2006

"A lot of controversy"

Letters to the Editor

Send Letters to editor@ncc-1776.org
Note: All letters to this address will be considered for
publication unless they say explicitly Not For Publication

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from James J Odle

Letter from L. Neil Smith

Letter from Pat Taylor

Letter from Kent McManigal

Hey Ken:

I thought that you and all the sci-fi fans at TLE would find this interesting. It appears to be a new, previously unpublished novel by Robert A. Heinlein that was completed with the help of Spider Robinson. It's called Variable Star.


James J Odle


And welcome to my "Group523" announcement list.

The purpose of this list is to let you know what I'm up to these days—books, graphic novels, other projects—and to share with you various things I find online that I believe might be of interest to you.

Only my webmaster, Ken Holder, and I can post to the list, as it's meant for announcements only. You can reply to me in the usual way, and, con permiso, I may pass your comments on to the list. Of course the last thing I want to do is intrude where I'm not wanted, so if you'd prefer not to be on the list, let me know, and I'll take you off.

That said, here are some things I had the list created to talk about:

At present, I've just begun writing ARES, which will eventually be the second volume of the "NGU FAMILY SAGA" that began with PALLAS a dozen years ago. Ceres, the third volume, is complete and looking for a competent agent and a literary (and, hopefully, a cinematic) home.

For now, try our free, online, graphic novel, ROSWELL, TEXAS, which you can find by going to www.BigHeadPress.com and clicking on the appropriate "button". R,T, as it's known around here, began as a prose novel, a collaboration between cartoonist Rex "Baloo" May and yours truly. It's a serial, set in an alternative history in which, mostly because Davy Crockett survived the seige at the Alamo after having felled General Santa Anna with a 600-yard rifle shot, the Lone Star Republic never did annex itself to the United States, but went its own way.

The story is gorgeously drawn by our good friend SCOTT BIESER, colored by another good friend, JEN ZACH, lettered by Scott's son ZEKE BIESER, and published by Scott's brother FRANK BIESER, Mr. BigHead himself, so it's very much a family project. The action is set in 1947, when Charles A. Lindbergh, president of the Federated States of Texas, dispatches his best friend and bodyguard, William "Wild Bill" Bear and his three top Rangers to the west Texas town of Roswell (New Orleans is a Texas town, too), to see what crash-landed there on July 4th.

I also maintain a BLOG on the BigHead site, where, so far, I have covered such diverse topics as the theories behind alternate reality science fiction, the history and charm of the Model 1910 Savage .45 automatic pistol, the insidious nature of socialism as the "politics of detail"—and what we can do about it—the tremendous (and silly) flap over The Da Vinci Code, and over immigration, legal and otherwise.

While you're there on the Big Head Press site, you can also obtain THE PROBABILITY BROACH: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, an illustrated retelling of my 1980 story. Both the original book and the graphic novel have won Prometheus Awards, the tale is still as exciting and funny as it was 25 years ago, and the message—of individualism and freedom and the threats against them—is, regrettably, more urgent than it was then.

Don't forget to pick up several copies of A DRUG WAR CAROL, by SUSAN WELLS and Scott Bieser. The idiotic, infantile "War on Drugs" was the original totalitarian camel's nose under the tent of freedom; we wouldn't be in the fascist mess we're in today without it. ADWC gives the lie to all of the tired, threadbare drug-warrior claims. It's an absolute gem that needs to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.

Finally (for now), drop by www.lneilsmith.org and click on the area dedicated to the electronic, online version of my 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU. Gravely censored (for its political, philosophical, and psychological content) by its original New York editors, the book has now been restored, with a lot of help from its friends, and can be seen—with a splendid original "cover" by Scott Bieser—as I intended it to be seen. Although the underlying theme concerns the origins of the authoritarian personality, it's a rip-roaring Galactic Confederacy adventure full of sex and violence, in the true Heinlein tradition.

Thanks for "listening",

L. Neil Smith

Subscribe to the Group523 announcement list at:

To The Editor:

Re "Thank God for Barry Bonds", by Jonathan David Morris

No, Barry Bonds is not "the worst thing ever to happen to baseball", but Barry Bonds is not all he's cracked up to be, either.

Somewhere in Barry Bonds' career—probably about the time his batting average started up—he stopped putting out effort in the field. He didn't make the plays (worse, he didn't strive to make the plays); he couldn't run bases well; he put all his effort in getting the bat on the ball.

There's a reason for that: steroid use (synthetic or natural) does not allow sustained effort overall, nor specifically sustained respiratory effort; and it does allow, even encourages, joint and bone weakness and subsequent breakdown. Steroids and other enhancement drugs can also cause bodily changes which affect diet, sleep, and irritability (which could account for some of his "villain-ism"; he was somewhat pleasanter, however reserved to the press and fans, before drugs took over his system.)

I've been sort of a fan of Bonds for many years: As a fanatical fan of Willie Mays, I became a respectful fan of Bobby Bonds, and a wannabe fan of Barry Bonds, stuck in a wishing-him-the-best mode during most of his career. He was good and getting better all the time. Then his field play started going down, while his body and batting average ballooned upward—and I got the message long before the press made anything of it. (Also true of McGuire and Sosa, and a few others in the 80's and 90's—not just in baseball, but in almost every sport. And, yes, I did feel the same way about McGuire and Sosa that I now feel about Bonds. I have less respect for them all.)

I don't excuse steroid use in anybody, in whatever sport. I've been a sports fan all my life, and to my mind, sport is about using your body (and mind) to the best of its natural ability. It's also about playing fair! Sport, even at professional level, is not war. Apart from ability itself, every player should have the same advantage. Steroids do not allow that equal-opportunity advantage.

Enhancement drugs are not even healthy! There are only two reasons an athlete might want to submit his body to them:
1) for statistics. . . an egotistical and misguided attempt to get his name in the history books; and
2) because he feels himself aging and knows he can never become a better athlete without them. (In Bonds' case, he might have feared he wasn't able to live up to star billing, compared with father and godfather before him. I don't know this is true, but I never saw the same ability present on the baseball field throughout his entire career.)

I submit these reasons are not enough to alter one's body with drugs. It's time athletes became more realistic about their careers, their bodies, their lives. We can't change the past, nor should we attempt to apply new rules retroactively. But we should insist that athletes be more responsible—to themselves and to their fans.

I don't attend a ball game to watch steroids at work; I want to see the "body beautiful" at work. Perhaps if less emphasis was put on scoring, and more on playing the game (hits and runs, bunts, base stealing, double plays, honest brushbacks, etc), we could weed out the non-talents and showoffs, and get baseball back to a pleasurable afternoon.

Pat Taylor

As the American Independence Day rapidly approaches, and the Stars and Stripes of the United States becomes more ubiquitous than usual, if this is even possible, I ask all lovers of liberty to consider joining me and flying the Gadsden "don't tread on me" flag instead.

I do this in support and recognition of "occupied America" and her eventual liberation from the clutches of the United States. In the event this sounds radical and harsh to you (in which case, I say "Good!"), allow me to explain.

America is a country defined by The Constitution and Bill of Rights, which specifically limit what any government established in this land is authorized to do.

The United States is a government defined by its bureaucracies and laws, almost all of which are in direct violation of the aforementioned Constitution and Bill of Rights.

So which would you prefer to honor at this special time of year: America, a land of liberty and justice for all; or the United States, a rogue government of counterfeit laws which seeks to destroy all that America stands for? You know where I stand. . .

Kent McManigal

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates. We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
  Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 371, June 11, 2006