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Freedom!

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Liberty is a recurring theme in science fiction. Here's a volume of explorations of this theme, combining landmark stories from science fiction's golden age with new stories by some of today's top writers, including Hugo winner and Grand Master Jack Williamson; Michael Resnick, winner of four Hugos and a Nebula, and author of the international bestseller, Santiago; Michael A. Stackpole, author of eight New York Times best sellers; best-selling novelist Jane Lindskold, New York Times best-selling author James P. ...
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Overview

Liberty is a recurring theme in science fiction. Here's a volume of explorations of this theme, combining landmark stories from science fiction's golden age with new stories by some of today's top writers, including Hugo winner and Grand Master Jack Williamson; Michael Resnick, winner of four Hugos and a Nebula, and author of the international bestseller, Santiago; Michael A. Stackpole, author of eight New York Times best sellers; best-selling novelist Jane Lindskold, New York Times best-selling author James P. Hogan, Robert J. Sawyer, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year; and more. This stellar crew considers how a government-free society could operate, how a low-tech society might throw off the influence of more "advanced" intruders, how the right to own weapons is fundamental to freedom, and much more. In the future, liberty may be even more threatened than in our present-and this volume suggests very unusual ways of defending and advancing it. . . .

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416520726
  • Publisher: Baen
  • Publication date: 7/4/2006
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Harry Greenberg has edited more than 1,000 anthologies of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and other genres, and has become renowned for his ingenuity in developing books written around a theme, and his ability to fill them with stories of high quality. Booklist has written, "Greenberg's choices are impeccable," and Library Journal has praised his volumes for "Sheer enjoyability . . . provokes everything from meditation to laughter."

Mark Tier is a former Australian who lives in Hong Kong because "paying taxes is against my religion." He was one of the co-founders of the Australian equivalent of the Libertarian Party. His book Understanding Inflation was a runaway best seller. His second book, How to Get a Second Passport was also an international bestseller. He is the former Hong Kong correspondent for the New York Journal of Commerce. His articles have appeared in Time, Liberty, Reason, and elsewhere.

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Read an Excerpt

Freedom!


By Mark Tier Martin H. Greenberg

Baen Publishing Enterprises

Copyright © 2006 Mark Tier & Tekno Books
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4165-2072-4


Chapter One

PART I: GIVE ME LIBERTY

Introduction

Mark Tier

When Patrick Henry spoke his immortal words, "Give me liberty or give me death," on the eve of the American revolution, the last thing he expected was for the British to give him liberty. Indeed, in the history of mankind, you could count the number of benevolent rulers who have given people their liberty on the fingers of one hand-and still have plenty of fingers left over.

History shows there's only one way you can be sure of gaining your liberty: take it.

Which is exactly what Patrick Henry proposed to do. His stirring 1775 speech concluded:

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

This is a collection of stories about people who, like Patrick Henry, take their liberty.

Just as liberty is a powerful urge in the human heart, so liberty is a recurring theme in science fiction. Yet the majority of the stories in this book are unique even within the imaginative realm of science fiction. They propose taking the ultimate in liberty: doing away with government entirely.

They show the ultimate truth of the saying that Thomas Jefferson made part of our history: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

When Jefferson used the phrase at the signing of the American Declaration of Independence was he talking about the British? Absolutely not. He was naming the American government a far greater danger to the liberties of Americans than the British (or much later, Soviets) could ever be, a sentiment widely shared by the American revolutionaries.

Jefferson's declaration was co-opted and corrupted by cold war politicians. Eternal vigilance, they told us, was required to protect our liberties from external enemies like the Soviet Union. In the name of freedom they erected the powerful welfare-warfare state that continues to invade our liberties to this day.

Stories like Lloyd Biggle's "Monument" and Frank Herbert's "Committee of the Whole" demonstrate the ultimate truth of Jefferson's statement: that eternal vigilance against our own government-not external enemies-is the price of liberty. A lesson that has, to our detriment, been forgotten.

I first read most of these stories as a teenager, beginning with A.E. van Vogt's "The Weapon Shop." I can still recall the excitement that gripped me then-what teenager could resist the idea of a gun that would fire only in self-defense? Sold by shops that government officials (and criminals) simply couldn't enter?

You might argue that such a teenage fantasy should remain where it belongs-as a teenage memory. I can only respond that yes, when I first read it, the idea of liberty that gripped me then through van Vogt's story was merely an abstract ideal. As an adult, my teenage ideal has taken on whole flesh, so to speak. This, of course, is not the place for a discourse on liberty (or anything else). All I can say is that, as an adult, I can think of numerous times when van Vogt's gun would have come in real handy. And when I see the injustice and oppression around the world, if van Vogt's weapons shops were to suddenly appear as they did in his story, I'd say the demand for his guns would far outstrip even his wild imaginings.

Ah, but you might respond, if there's no government wouldn't society collapse into barbarism?

I suggest you read Eric Frank Russell's classic "And Then There Were None"-my favorite story in a book full of favorites. If you've never read this story before (and quite likely you haven't, as it's been out of print for far too long) I envy you. I've re-read this story many times, but there's no time like the first time.

The possibilities that Russell offers in just a few thousand words is mind-boggling.

Then there's Vernor Vinge's neglected gem, "The Ungoverned." As the "Republic" of New Mexico invades the peaceful anarchy of Kansas where can your heart lie but with the truly free people-the ungoverned?

Do you sometimes think that bureaucrats should be strangled with their own red tape? Then you'll love Russell's "And Then There Were None." Do you feel like dancing with joy when a ruthless dictatorship collapses? Then you'll cheer along with Murray Leinster in "Historical Note." And shouldn't petty tyrants get their just deserts? They have no choice but to surrender in "Gadget vs. Trend" by Christopher Anvil-and are delightfully defenseless in van Vogt's "The Weapon Shop."

I feel sure you can't fail to be inspired by these wonderful stories about the ultimate freedom. Whether I'm right about that, I know you're in for a lot of fun in the following pages.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Freedom! by Mark Tier Martin H. Greenberg Copyright © 2006 by Mark Tier & Tekno Books. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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