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L. Neil Smith's

Number 873, May 22, 2016

How stupid do you have to be?

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A Short Article About Short Stories
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I don't write very many short stories. It helps to minimize the annual rejection letters. In 1967, after having my first two stories ("Payment in Gold" and "Retaliatory Force", featuring trouble-shooter Kimberly Bright and my prediction of .40 caliber pistols, both long lost to a flood) rejected by every SF magazine then in existence, I resolved only to write stories when I was invited to. Here is a list, as nearly as I can recall, of the LNS stories that have been published. Most of them are very short, but I think you'll you'll like them.

My tales of Bernie Gruenblum, time-travelling cab-driver, "Grimm's Law", "Grandfather Clause", and "Folger's Factor" (which introduced the Freenies) were published in Judy-Lynn del Rey's Stellar Science Fiction series, Numbers 5, 6, and 7. As a result, Judy-Lynn asked me to write The Nagasaki Vector. Later on, I wrote "The Embarrassment Box", for a Heinlein-celebrating publication of Samuel Edward Konkin III. It's about the missing 18 minutes of Nixon's tape. If I ever get it written, the fifth Bernie Gruenblum story will be "A Little Knife Music", a new kind of locked-room mystery. [ This title has been added to What Shall I Write Next? -- Editor ]

Stellar Science Fiction #5 Contains "Grimm's Law" by L. Neil Smith

Stellar Science Fiction #6 Contains "Grandfather Clause" by L. Neil Smith.

Stellar Science Fiction #7 Contains "Folger's Factor" by L. Neil Smith

New Libertarian, issue 187, 1990 (a.k.a. Vol. IV #20, Vol. V #9/10), contains "The Embarrassment Box" by L. Neil Smith

"The Spirit of Exmas Sideways" is about acculturation, an anthropological phenomenon in which somebody moves to a new civilization, has trouble living in it, but is too changed to go back home. It's about ex-homicide detective Win Bear's first year in the almost crime-free North American Confederacy. It's also my revenge on a nasty little critic who took it out on me and another, selling writer because he couldn't get his own crappy book sold.

The Spirit of Exmas Sideways

One of my pet peeves is liberaloid mush-heads who condemn moral certainty as some kind of Hitlerian sin, and regard uncertainty as a badge of sincerity and, twistedly, the sign of a deep thinker. Ayn Rand gave me the gift of moral certainty, and I will honor her name for it for as long as I live. So I wrote "A Matter of Certainty" about the courageous humans, around 2500 A.D. who ended the Ninth Atomic War between the Ogat and the Ewonese whom we see being friends and allies in my novel The Wardove.

Free Space", edited by Brad Linaweaver. Contains "A Matter of Certainty", by L. Neil Smith.

"The Lone and Level Sands" is a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelly's "Ozymandias"; it is also my latest short story, written for a collection about the future of Washington, D.C. In the future of the Ngu family, Washington is a ghost-town which a grown-up Llyra Ngu, her skationg-champion husband, and her three and a half kids all tour as part of their long farewell to Earth—when a figure from the past raises its ugly head.

Future Washington, edited by Ernest Lilley (Oct 2005)
also for free in
Issue 834 of this online magazine.

That's it, for now. As I say, if an editor invites me and offers sufficent inducement, I'll get cracking. Otherwise, it's back to lovely Surica and to Julie Segovia Ngu!

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