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Strip 2 - Click on page above to goto the next page. -- First Seen: 2008-09-26
Escape From Terra is updated with new pages every Monday through Friday.

Remembering L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser in 2009 after receiving the Prometheus Award for The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel.

I've been having a hard time putting words down here. This is my third attempt at putting together a suitable, or at least coherent, collection of remarks about my friend who discorporated this last August 27th.

I use the term discorporated because that was a euphemism favored by Robert A. Heinlein, the grand master of classic sci-fi who was the author Neil most admired and sought to model his own work upon. It seems appropriate here. One of Neil's most-prized possessions was a letter he received, early in his career, from RAH himself, who told the younger Neil that he had found the correct balance of action, romance, and philosophy in his stories.

I've only known Neil since the late 1990s (which was HOW many years ago? Geebus) but he had a fairly large impact on my life. I found him via The Libertarian Enterprise web-magazine and presumptuously sent a graphic of The Bill of Rights bursting through the Eurostyle don't do this symbol which I'd rendered out in 3D Studio Max, and was an improvement on the low-rez drawing he had put together himself.

So we exchanged e-mails and I made some more art for him on occasion and next thing I knew we were making The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel together and then I had moved from southern California to Cheyenne, Wyoming, partly to be closer to him as we collaborated on Roswell, Texas and Phoebus Krumm. However. after that Neil wanted to do a sequel to Roswell but I'd gotten tired of the 1950s and wanted to make stories set in the future – which I did when I embarked on my own QUANTUM VIBE series.

Were it not for Neil I don't think there would be a QUANTUM VIBE, or at least nothing closely resembling it. I learned much about storytelling by working with him, and by our association I acquired the core of an audience which sustains me to this day.

We remained friends and I continued to drive the 50 miles from Cheyenne to Fort Collins to hang out with him in the bleachers of the local ice-skating rink, where we chatted while also watching Neil's wife and daughter skating on the ice. On occasion I brought my sons down to join with them and I hope I wasn't too embarrassing as I stumbled around.

But then my wife, E.J., discorporated 40 years early and my family in Texas beckoned my sons and me home to heal, which we did. Neil continued writing stories, maintaining his optimism despite his declining health – he once told me he intended to be the world's first 400-year-old diabetic. I had hoped to return to Fort Collins once or twice to visit, but circumstances prevented me from making the trip, even for his Libertarian Futurist Society Lifetime Award acceptance in 2016.

Another friend of mine likes to speak of having an immortality project, something one does while in the world that makes an effect that continues after one has gone. Neil's immortality project, aside from his daughter Rylla, was his stories, which deserve to be remembered long after all of us have discorporated, ourselves.

-- Scott Bieser


IGG Campaign Concludes

Alyss Roaz thanks you!

A Message From Alyss

So, we fell just a few hundred short of our goal, but that's okay, because it's a "Flexible Goal" meaning we still get the funds raised (minus Indiegogo's cut) so we can and will fulfill the promised perks.

We are grateful to all who contributed, and yes you are all now founding members of the "Free Cosmos Project," with all the privileges membership entitles you thereto. (Unless you don't want the honor, we'll respect that too.) Which for now means we'll be whipping up a spiffy little Certificate for each of you, physical versions sent out with the physical books requested, and PDF versions for the rest.

Indiegogo will disburse the funds to us soon. And we've already got the ball rolling printing books, and postcards, as well as the above-mentioned FCP certificates. And we'll be talking a bit more about the Free Cosmos Project in the coming weeks.

Thanks again and click on, me hearties, click on.


The Transcript For This Page

Strip 2 – Life in UWRS

Panel 1
Medium-close shot of Guy at desk looking at some paperwork, while speaking to someone via a headset he’s put on. POV could be from monitor or from a point either side of the monitor, we want to see his face.

This is the face of a man who hates his job even more than he realizes -- and yet has the sort of pride in himself that he undertakes to do the best he can at it. His eyes seem to express a permanent annoyance.

It’s also a bit warm in the office – he has taken off his jacket and has loosened his collar. He has a bit of sweat on his brow.

Caption: His day began as usual – he sat in row 5, cube 3, reviewing audit lists, processing settlements, scheduling prosecutions.

Panel 2
Wide shot of cubicle area. We see around a dozen occupied cubes but not necessarily the people in them, other office drone types of variouis shapes and sizes walking about or stopped in a cube doorway talking to its inhabitant. Everyone is in “shirtsleeves” (some of them wear armless shirts), all of them wearing their badges, a few fanning themselves with whatever papers they’re holding.

Caption: The UWRS offices were air-conditioned, but the temperature was set by law at 26°C.

Caption 2: Guy preferred winter, when the legal maximum was only 14°C – you can wear extra clothes in the chill…

Panel 3
Medium shot of Guy in his cube talking to some woman clerk – he’s handing her some paperwork. She is a 90-kg woman wearing clothes that used to fit when she weighed 55 – a stretch tank-top that’s not large enough to conceal the brassiere that doesn’t support well, and a pair of Post-Office-cut shorts – wide-cut legs that go to about an inch above the knee. It looks like she’ll burst out of them any second. Her ID Badge dangles from one of her shirt-straps.

He is sitting with his head at roughly her rib-cage level and looks at her sagging breasts with even more annoyance.

Caption 3: In the summer heat, there was a limit to just how much clothing you could take off.



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