Sanity, Good Humour, Joy, Possibility, and Wonder
The Editor’s Notes
by Ken Holder
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
L. Neil Smith (1946-2021)
I’m close to running out of friends. They keep dying. Will I be close behind? Time will tell.
My first encounter with Neil was in a bookstore. I found this book in the paperback section called The Probability Broach, it had a cover lllustration that seemed out of Planet of the Apes. I put it back on the shelf. A few days later, it was still there, I read the “About the Author” in the back, and decided maybe I should read this one.
And I did. Wow!
After that I kept an eye out for more books, and they gradually came. This was in the dark days before Amazon.com or the ‘net, and ya just had to wait. I waited.
Years later, along came personal computers, and something called Bulletin Board Systems. Somehow I discovered there was an L. Neil Smith bulletin board, run by a fellow called Karl Murphy, so I got the software, and dialed it up. I had a question about the missing 3rd volume of the “C & C” trilogy. Turns out it was never published, which explained why I never found it. Later it was published in a 3-volumes-in-1 edition called The Forge of the Elders which is my favorite of his books.
The BBS was frequented by many interesting characters, in addition to Neil: Claire Wolfe, and a bunch of others I can’t recall right now.
A year or so later, there was the Internet.I got the notion to build a web page for Neil, and he suggested as a joke I call it a “Webley Page”. (For the good old Webley Mark 6 revolver of the British Army, a favorite gun of Neil’s.) Then Neil started-up a little emailed magazine called The Liberterian Enterprise. I took each one as it came out and put it up on the web, with permission of course. At first Neil was not completely sure this was a good idea, but the feedback response he got changed his mind to enthusiastic support.
This was In 1995.
So, first monthly, then twice a month, then weekly. And I’ve been doing it ever since. At one point the new editor became ill, and eventually died, so I temporarily took over as editor as well as webmaster. And I’ve been stuck there! It was kind of a hobby. We never made any money to speak of, in spite of trying to sell advertishing, joining affiliate programs, and then Neil’s idea of having readers pay authors of articles or emails via a link at the bottom of same. Libertarianism isn’t a money-making field. “Povertarians” as they (we) say.
It was a fun ride. We made a difference. Maybe a small one, but a difference nevertheless. The best thing for me was becoming good friends with El Neil. And now that is over. Is the Enterprise over? Probably, it is a lot of work, and I’m getting old and inclined to inactivity. We will see.
Anyway, this issue is a big bunch of tributes to Neil. Next issue will be more—if you have something to say about him, now is the time, and this is the place.
Related content: a picture of a Dardick pistol: here
See A Flying Car Make The First-Ever City-to-City Flight—one step closer to my flying Winnebago.
Stay Deplorable, my friends.
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