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Definitive L. Neil Smith: fish out of water meets weirdos,
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
...and ends up liking them. L. Neil Smith's authoritative book, now unexpurgated, points out that not all Science Fiction has to revolve around militaristic governments where the rights of the individual exist only when they serve the state.
Detective Win Bear is pulled from a pre-apocolyptic society to a strange new place where the virtue of selfishness is readily apparent. It is so different that Det. Bear resists the idea. However, his philosophical journey is complicated by his investigation, and subsequent hijinks, so the story is less of a lecture and more of an adventure with political undertones.
The point of the book, however, is that there is always another way, especially in science fiction. When you suspend your disbelief that such a society could never form because of a subtle difference in history, then you can objectively examine the system and see if it could work. L. Neil Smith's scenarios make it work.
While I cut my teeth on Smith's The Nagasaki Vector and Tom Paine Maru, the Probability Broach remains one of my favorites