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5.0 von 5 Sternen Politically Incorrect--That's why it's FUN!
I've been an LNS fan ever since I accidentally picked up _THE VENUS BELT_, and I can't get enough. Finally someone had the guts to print the Forge of the Elders series (it's actually three books, Contact and Commune, Converse and Conflict, and another the original publisher canceled because it made too many people squirm.)
Well, FORGE is full of squirmy moments:...
Veröffentlicht am 22. April 2000 von HSSKCHAI@prodigy.net

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2.0 von 5 Sternen Smith should show not tell
Instead of showing us the virtues of Libertarianism, Smith decides to tell us. And tell us. Roughly half this book is a thinly disguised lecture on the virtues of Libertarianism and the utter worthlessness of everything else. That would be acceptable if the lectures had been interesting or convincing, but for the most part Smith skipped over interesting issues and...
Veröffentlicht am 11. Juli 2000 von Tim Hochberg


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Politically Incorrect--That's why it's FUN!, 22. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I've been an LNS fan ever since I accidentally picked up _THE VENUS BELT_, and I can't get enough. Finally someone had the guts to print the Forge of the Elders series (it's actually three books, Contact and Commune, Converse and Conflict, and another the original publisher canceled because it made too many people squirm.)
Well, FORGE is full of squirmy moments: the three space shuttles from the American Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) are named after Orrin Hatch, Bob Dole, and John McCain. (in the original two volumes they were named after comparably prominent Democrats). Don't go into this book without promising yourself to hold on to the surprise ending. It's a page-turner in the third volume.
The book does have certain minor inconsistencies in the third volume, but only nitpickers would find them. Expect well-portrayed aliens who really are alien, along with one of the most original aliens yet. Expect subtlety in characterization and at least one character who transcends indoctrination (the last one you'd suspect). Expect a truly villianous villian, with a certain sick charm but definitely someone in need of killing. Expect hidden meanings and subtle (as well as not-so-subtle) puns. Expect great imagery and writing that, if not entirely consistent in quality, improves as the plot advances. Above all, expect to finish the book thoroughly disgusted by the status quo in this country. Neil's ASSR could happen here, but needn't if enough of us read this book.
You won't waste your money if you buy Forge--but you may come away changed. I did.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Gave me an "Aha!" moment - well worth my time, 3. Mai 2000
Von 
Geoffrey Kidd (Berkeley, CA USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
L. Neil Smith was the author who first got me introduced to libertarianism, and it started a friendship with the ideas and ideals of that philosophy that never wore off. This book was a delight, not only because it finally completes the cycle "Questar" never finished, but because, about halfway through the book, I had one of those wonderful "Aha!" moments. I'll describe it at the end of the review, but that moment made my year!
The story is very well told. Smith *can* be a tad preachy, but it doesn't interrupt the flow of the story, while making sure you understand not only WHAT happens, but WHY. Smith has taken the concept of alternate realities farther than anyone else, and made it a truly living thing. In these days, when our government waves automatic weapons at terrified children, it's a comfort to think that *somewhere* in the multiverse there are people, (and sea-scorpions, and nautiloids, and ...) who HAVEN'T screwed up. This is a book I plan to re-read, and, with the limits on my time these days, I don't do that often.
As to the "Aha!" moment. One of the main characters is "Eichra Oren", a "Moral Debt Assessor" who is a combination of detective, arbitrator, judge, jury, and, if need be, executioner. It hit me about halfway through the book that *ALL* debts are MORAL debts. Money, or any other form of restitution, is simply a tangible expression of that morality. Mr. Smith, if you read this, thank you. A book which hits me like this is a rare and valuable gem.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen More Alternate Than Thou, 31. März 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Some readers will think _Forge of the Elders_ is L. Neil Smith's best book so far. He began revolutionizing the alternate world subgenre many years ago with _Probability Broach_. It was comparatively a mild departure from the real world in that the historical difference was the success of the Whiskey Rebellion during Washington's Presidency. A lovely book that I've read at least a dozen times. But _Forge of the Elders_ takes alternate worlds further than ever before. Not to give too much away here, but there is an _infinity_ of parallel worlds, including at least one where homo sapiens never existed, and the Earth is dominated by sapient squid. And these squid know how to travel between the universes. The story, as always with Smith, stands on its own as an adventure. Readers who dig deeper will find lots of scrumptious stuff, including thought-provoking political philosophy, as well as deeply-buried puns and jokes that will reward those who decipher them. Hint: Nero Wolfe fans will find secret messages here. As an adventure novel, _Forge_ is in a league with Tom Clancy's best. As science fiction, it is best compared with _Gulliver's Travels_ and _Mother Night_. As a work of philosophy, it reminds me of _Atlas Shrugged_ and _Moon is a Harsh Mistress_. And somehow, there is a bit of H. P. Lovecraft there, too. Smith is always full of surprises.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Smith does it again, 24. April 2000
Von 
Scott Bieser (Cheyenne, WY) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
In a sense _Forge_ is a fuller and robust re-telling of the basic story underneath _The Probability Broach_. _Broach's_ Win Bear becomes _Forge's_ Soviet American Expedition, as the hapless functionary(ies) from a corrupt and decaying government who stuble onto an incredibly advanced and absolutely individualist civilization.
Much of _Forge_ involves the various American characters learning about how this civilization functions, and this is the vehicle by which Smith delivers one of the best argments yet for a completely stateless society. I particularly enjoyed the way he resolves the tiresome "flagpole emergency" objection to the non-agression principle.
As before, Smith ably conveys the confusion and wonderment of both the visitors and the hosts as they discover one new aspect after another of their very different cultures. And each such discovery conveys an important idea about the nature of love, trade, justice, freedom, and slavery.
And of course there's a real story here with a three-part main plot, several sub-plots, and more than a dozen really strong characters along with "a cast of thousands." All sprinkled liberally with humor, pathos, and just the right amount of sex.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen El Neil's Best, 6. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I first discovered Smith over a decade ago when I picked up Bretta Martyn in a used bookstore. Since then I've made a point of buying his books when I came across them. Until now my favorite has been The Probability Broach, a parallel world where government is all but dead and libertarianism has prevailed over collectivism. I think Smith has outdone himself with The Forge of the Elders, its got a lot of the same feel as TPB with a little Robert Anton Wilson(of Illuminatus fame) mixed in. Smith's books are full of politics but its not C-Span, he talks about the big issues individual liberty vs collective security etc The kind of ideas that start wars and topple governments. Libertarians will love The Forge, but Smith weaves his ideas into the plot so even non-libs can enjoy it. Smith doesn't beat you over the head with his ideas like Ayn Rands infamous 40 page polemic in the middle of Atlas Shrugged. Bottom line Smith has inherited Robert Heinlein's mantle of making SF with a freedom theme popular to the mainstream. And as we are now beginning to realize todays SF is tomorrows reality.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Smith should show not tell, 11. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Instead of showing us the virtues of Libertarianism, Smith decides to tell us. And tell us. Roughly half this book is a thinly disguised lecture on the virtues of Libertarianism and the utter worthlessness of everything else. That would be acceptable if the lectures had been interesting or convincing, but for the most part Smith skipped over interesting issues and contented himself with blasting away at strawmen.
The sad thing is that there is what is probably an interesting and amusing story buried in this book. If most of the heavy handed lecturing were removed and Smith could content himself with showing us the virtues of his philosophy through the plot, what was left would be an interesting and entertaining story of roughly half its current length.
If your interested in a good space opera, or in reading an insighful, convincing argument on the virtues of Libertarianism, you won't find it here. However, if you're already a believer and you want to see other ideologies getting a good thrashing, you may find this book entertaining.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Not his best work., 6. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
An interesting diversion in the endless universes of the Probability Broach, El Neil is humorous, and certainly does wear his idiology on his sleeve. I have read the first two books of this triad, and I must admit that while the ideas are interesting, the story is rather...dull.
Sorry, Mr. Smith, I gotta say what I think. I believe that the third book was originally dropped not because it was "too radical", but because the books weren't selling. I intend to purchase this book, first because I do wish to know how it all turns out, but also for completeness. My original copy of The War Dove and The Galatin Divergence are lonely.
Every OTHER L. Neil Smith book that I've read I have enjoyed very much. Hopefully, the third triad of Forge will redeem the first two.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Somewhat weak; definitely misleading, 8. April 2000
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
As an LNS fan, I was looking forward to this. I was very disappointed to find out that this was two other books (Contact/Commune/Converse/Conflict) plus a third to fill out the trilogy. I couldn't find anything (I looked afterwards) mentioning that 2/3 of this was reprinted material. No copyright, no notice, nothing. (There were some trivial edits to the first two books, but nothing substantial)
So, I consider the third book to be the only ("non-policy") thing reviewable. It's a bit weak. Yes, it's got the (LNS's) standard individualism rants and humor, but it just smells like someone went back the well one too many times. Makes me want to go reread Prob. Broach again to get the taste out of my mouth.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Getting it Right, 5. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
L. Neil Smith has again proven his talent for correctly extrapolating historical trends and current events into a believable and convincing possible future. In this time and place, alien contact is found in the asteroid belt along with murder, mystery - love lost and won. Individualist mollusks (drinking beer and solving crime), lovers found and lost, villians (you know who you are), and fleshed-out heroes, space battles and all the murder mystery you could ask for. This book is in the highest tradition of the art.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen FORGE IS COMPLETE AT LAST!, 3. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Forge Of The Elders (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Finally! After years of waiting, we get to learn how this story turns out. Originally to be published as a trilogy, the fianl book was cancelled by the publisher for being too radical! L. Neil Smith does his usual fine job of blending outlandish aliens, humor and political philosophy to produce a cracking good read. A fun adventure story which takes a few well-aimed shots at some of the sacred cows of today. This one is pure pleasure!
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Forge of the Elders
Forge of the Elders von L. Neil Smith (Taschenbuch - 3. April 2001)
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