Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 950, November 26, 2017

You don’t want to be trapped
between the force of nature and the
doubling down of human stupidity.

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Fossil Cricket
Fossil cricket from the Cretaceous of Brazil (source: Infogalactic)

Tell It To The Crickets
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

A few years ago, I was going to write a novel that began with crickets who, for some unexplained reason, are fully as intelligent as you or me. Their century-old little civilization, centered in southeastern Colorado (write what you know), is standing on the ruined shoulders of ours, and there are no human beings around anywhere. Everybody wonders why.

Much of the crickets’ knowledge comes from us. Scholars walk slowly over the pages, along the sentences, in open books, shouting the words down to scribes writing them down below. Teams of laborers pull on ropes to turn the pages. Individuals sleep in half-open match-boxes. They eat at “tables” which are actually the little plastic thingies used to keep the cover off the pizza in a box. They regard their predecessors as gods, and are prayerfully thankful for the many blessings (accidentally) bestowed on them. There is even a somewhat fanatical priesthood, the Cult of Jiminy, who savagely tear their middle limbs out to be more like their cartoon idol. Always let your conscience be your guide. The crickets’ grandest accomplishment so far is a network of rail-lines—HO gauge, of course—powered by the sun. Their mortal enemies are the mindlessly collectivistic and destructive ants.

The protagonists are an elderly “mad professor”, his lovely (for a cricket) daughter, and the Indiana Jones-like character they hire to take them on a quest to find out what happened to the gods (us). The hero’s mighty steed is a domesticated wolf-spider (a local variety of tarantula) whose venom he puts on the tips of his crossbow quarrels (guns don’t work at that scale). The lasso he throws is spider silk.

They begin by boarding an eastward-bound train. I really looked forward to writing the scene in which the hero leads his spider up the ramp, like John Wayne, into a boxcar. They ride to the end of the line (maybe fighting off some train-robbing grasshoppers along the way) and start the hard part of the journey. They buy additional mounts, learn to ride them, learn to shoot, have some adventures (the ants, again, and maybe a predatory mantis or two) and end up somewhere around northern Alabama.

There, in a commercial research laboratory, they discover the horrifying truth from newspapers lying around or something. Human beings ceased to reproduce and became extinct because political correctness and a fear of being prosecuted as a sexual offender made meeting a potential mate impossible. Everybody died, old and gray, in their mothers’ basements. The shocked crickets learn an even more awful truth: Cricketkind was created in this laboratory for a purpose. Their nervous systems were enhanced by a symbiotic virus; their human-like intelligence was entirely accidental. They were intended for the cruelest fate imaginable: to be agonizingly impaled on a steel hook and cast. torn and bleeding, into the water as a superior bait to be devoured by monsters.

So much for the kindly benevolence of the so-called gods. And so much for gods in general. Unfortunately, my co-author in this project, and potential illustrator, and I had a serious falling out, and now, the book will probably never get written, for which I am extremely sorry. I always thought it might be another Watership Down. (Look it up.)

Is our species doomed to die out, thanks to the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Joseph Biden? I’m afraid that only time will tell. And before you start getting all shirty with me (please note there was an R in that word), I don’t know the solution to this problem. I don’t suggest that females have any obligation to tolerate getting pinched and fondled by every loser in the office. On the other hand, I don’t think seeking written permission for a peck on the cheek—the way that idiots on campuses across America want us to do—is a very romantic idea, either. In fact, it’s a real mood-killer.

Like a cricket galloping his trusty wolf-spider across your lap right at the Supreme Moment.


L. Neil Smith

Publisher and Senior Columnist L. Neil Smith is the author of over thirty books, mostly science fiction novels, L. Neil Smith has been a libertarian activist since 1962. His many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essays were originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. Use them to fight the continuing war against tyranny.

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