The Probability Broach
by L. Neil Smith
Category: Fiction / Historical
315 pages; ISBN: 0765391539
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
In Denver homicide detective Win Bear begins to feel his age after years on the force dealing with all kinds of vermin. His latest case is the usual chasing a murderer in a country that is totally controlled by the government with killers seemingly the only individualists left. The economy is in the tank and the only thing rising is pollution. Individual freedoms are nearing “zero”.
Win stumbles on the PROBABILITY BROACH. He enters a different United States where individual freedom means everything and with limited government, technology has thrived within the blue skies. A different history has occurred with the major divergence beginning in 1794 with Gallatin joining the revolting Pennsylvania farmers, which results in the execution of Washington. The rest is history.
This is a reprint of a 1980s tale comparing two worlds, ours and an idyll realm based on L Neil Smith’s contention that we lost freedoms during the Federalist period that also cost progress. Readers do not have to be libertarians to enjoy a well-written science fiction that dramatically portrays government excess using an alternate historical base for comparison. The story line engages the audience while making the readers think especially with today’s debate over military tribunals for alleged terrorists or even the Steele case under Starr. Though avoiding the issue of the private sector stealing our civil liberties that also permeates American history, Mr. Smith’s novel remains fresh today as the air in his alternate history is so that the reader gains a fabulous thought provoking novel that also entertains its audience.
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