Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 595, November 14, 2010

"The secession of the individual from the state"

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Literary Doings
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

This was a good week.

I was in the process of dealing with the publisher's copy-edited version of my new vampire novel Sweeter Than Wine, when I received e-mail from my old friend Michael Grossberg HMFWIC at the Libertarian Futurists Society, to the effect that my epic "Ngu Family Saga" novel Ceres (a sequel to Pallas) had been nominated for the Prometheus Award.

The next day, my publisher, Shahid Mahmud of Phoenix Pick asked me if I'd like to try get Ceres between covers before Christmas—or before Thanksgiving if we really pressed hard and everything worked out.

I was astounded, and very, very pleased.

Ceres has long been my beloved but homeless child. In the two years it took to me write it, and the following years since I finished it on Christmas Day, 2005, it had never seen paper, either in the form of a manuscript, or publication as a dead-tree book. Its existence was electronic.


A while back, our Mighty Editor Ken Holder helped me post it as a serial over on my cyberhome away from home, "L. Neil Smith At Random" at and like the bald guy said, "'Tis a puzzlement." I don't know how many people have read it; I have little or no idea whether anybody liked it—except, of course, for my anonymous nominator.

So what is Ceres about?

A future worth working for.

A future worth living for.

A future worth fighting for.

Our future, if we want it.

In the 22nd century people have spread into the Solar System. Born and raised in a twentieth of Earth's gravity on the asteroid Pallas, young skater Llyra Ngu is grimly determined to compete and win on mankind's homeworld—an ambition that many say will cripple or kill her.

In part, she's driven to excel because she feels responsible (as many kids do) for the rocky marriage between her scientist mother and her engineer father. If she can make them proud, it will somehow fix everything.

Her older brother Wilson is equally set on quitting his boring job as a surveyor's helper on the Ceres Terraformation Project (working for his father) to become an asteroid hunter, a calling fraught with the promise of fabulous riches and the risk of sudden death. He will find his full share of romance and disappointment, love and loss—involving three of the sexiest young females I've ever written—and even pursue the asteroid hunter's holy grail, the legendary Diamond Rogue.

Llyra's training will require years, and a journey that will take her to Ceres, at one tenth Earth's gravity, where her father bosses the colossal terraformation project, to the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, to Mars and one third gravity, and finally to Earth. Along the way, she will survive jealous rivals, a hostile press, terrorist attacks, and the hijacking of a spaceliner, in order to achieve her ambition.

Llyra and Wilson will even hear and respond to the call of the stars.

Now I will finish working on Sweeter Than Wine and return to this year's NaNoWriMo project, a prequel to Forge of the Elders I call The Brown-Eyed Boogie Blues. My vampire novel will be published next year, after a campaign to spread word of it all over the entire planet.

Then I will take keyboard in hand again to finish the long-delayed Ares, the story of Marine lieutenant Julie Segovia (of whom you can begin reading in Ceres, where she's also important) and her war on Mars. Hope you'll have as good a time reading it as I'm having writing it.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of more than 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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