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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Science Fiction I Have Read
I read this novel in 1987, when I was feeling depressed about the deteriorating state of liberty in England. I found it so inspiring that I rejoined the libertarain movement, and have been active ever since.

Politics asie, it is a very good read. It has a strong plot and credible characters. The politics do tend to be obvious. But this is much more than a...
Published on 18 Dec 2008 by Dr. S. I. Gabb

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great
This is an amusing book and Neil Smith has created a colourful (and to my mind believable)world in which the story takes place. However, while the basic premiss is promising and the English generally good and light, it falters in execution. The story is not really well paced enough, with a lot of things happening a bit too suddenly, of the 'oh and then this happened'...
Published on 13 July 2007 by Peter T


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, 13 July 2007
By 
Peter T (london, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
This is an amusing book and Neil Smith has created a colourful (and to my mind believable)world in which the story takes place. However, while the basic premiss is promising and the English generally good and light, it falters in execution. The story is not really well paced enough, with a lot of things happening a bit too suddenly, of the 'oh and then this happened' type. If you are both an anarchist (minarchists will like it too) and a sci-fi fan you will enjoy this book. If you have no interest in politics but do like sci-fi you might find it interesting, but may find other books more satisfying. If you are a bit of a lefty you are likely to find the book annoying rather than convincing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Science Fiction I Have Read, 18 Dec 2008
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This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
I read this novel in 1987, when I was feeling depressed about the deteriorating state of liberty in England. I found it so inspiring that I rejoined the libertarain movement, and have been active ever since.

Politics asie, it is a very good read. It has a strong plot and credible characters. The politics do tend to be obvious. But this is much more than a polemical novel.

I strongly recommend it. I quite often give copies to people as presents.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phillip Marlowe meets the free wheeling future!!, 27 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
A detective of the same cut as Phillip Marlowe is blasted into a parallel dimension where governments don't exist, freedom and responsibility rules, and prosperity is everywhere. There he uncovers a plot by the dreaded Federalists to institute a government upon the people and it's up to him and his anarchist buddies to stop them.
Although a bit dated, I first read this novel in the early 80's and loved it. It was a great introduction to libertarianism and a wild ride to boot. One of my all time favorites.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Paradigm for A Discouraged Freedom-Lover, 2 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
I picked up the sequel to The Probability Broach (The Venus Belt) by accident. That hooked me. L. Neil Smith plays with the language as can no author since Harry Harrison and, unlike Mr. Harrison, promotes a world-view of unfettered freedom and unlimited personal responsibility. After too many years of Comrade Clinton, I was starting to lose hope, but after reading The Probability Broach, I realized that this could work! Get this book into the hands of anyone who'll read it. We just might start a much-needed Gallatinist revolution in this universe!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little too, too Heinleineske, but no true story., 8 Mar 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
Little spurts of action followed by all your favorite Heinlein characters sitting around drinking, recuperating and explaining why the totally useless action sequence just occurred. The clueless male hero who keeps getting wounded, the Friday-like female nurse/gunwoman romantic fluff, the bartender-like guy, full of inappropriate witticisms, the old enigmatic character who turns out to be a famous master spy/politician/warrior. Everybody here is way overarmed and undersmart. Another alternate world, wow. If this is the vision of the future of Libertarianism run rampant, it's no wonder none of their candidates can get elected. The one aspect of this work which bothers me most is that HUMANS DON"T ACT THIS WAY! Science fiction writers are the most guilty of all, in that when they contrive their brave new worlds they try to make man into a different animal without explaining why he would be different. If Mr. Smith thinks a little bout of libertarianism will change human nature, then he should think again. Escapism is fine, but give us a break. Buy it if you're a fan of libertarian fiction or a die hard R. A. H. fan. Otherwise, shine it on.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must read for libertarian SF fans!, 15 Dec 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
Smith presents a well-crafted tale of alternate realities in the tradition and style of H. Beam Piper and Heinlein. It is especially enjoyable for readers of the libertarian persuasion, as the alternate universe presents an anarcho-capitalist near utopia that diverged from our own in the late 18th century. There is a serviceable plot having to do with a conspiracy of pro-government nasties in both universes, but SF world-building is the main order of business, and it's nicely done. My 8 is for libertarians and alternate universe aficianados; for others it's a 5-6.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probability Broach is becoming a liberty clasic., 21 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
I first read this book many years ago and it was one of many that helped to form my understanding of how a free society could function and some of the dangers that would face such a society. It offers compelling reason to think about what liberty means and what you could and would do to maintain that liberty. We fool ourselves sadly to think that we can have both liberty and unbroken peace. When liberty is sold to gain peace, we get neither one.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible book., 26 April 2008
By 
Paul M. Clark (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
I was pointed towards this book as "the" Libertarian science fiction novel and have just finished struggling through it (in the optimistic and flawed hope that the ending may be the book's salvation).

This book is truly awful. The characters are cliched, unbelieveable, one dimensional and unsympathetic. The story is paper thin and utterly ridiculous (even for sci-fi). By any standard, the writing is very poor. Perhaps I am missing the point in that books like these are about the message (i.e. the benefits that a Libertarian society would bring to us all). I really believe that fiction can convey this type of message far better and more engagingly than non fiction but this book even does a poor job of this. Avoid.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 21st century gumshoe Novel. *****, 28 April 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
As a 20+ year collector of SF, I feel that this is a refreshing original. Having read it for the first time in 1983, I found that it is still as unique now as it was then. Mr. Smith creates a setting in which his detective gumshoe hero CAN be a hero and get the girl without the emotional baggage of a 'blade-runner'. The context of the story is that a run-of-the-mill cap in the process of solving a political murder stumbles into an alternate probability (similar to H. Beam Piper's Paratime series) that was created when a different word was used in the declaration of independence. What follows is a delightful action packed adventure that is full of understated witticisms and an occasional jab at the status quo. If you are a political partisan of a liberal or socialist bent, you will absolutely despise this book and throw it down in disgust; if you are an adult or are apolitical and don't take it as a gospel view of libertarianism but rather as what it is -- a good fiction tale that is meant to be entertaining -- you'll love it. On a scale from 1-10 I give it an 8.5.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for non-big government liberals!, 18 Oct 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Probability Broach (Paperback)
Fascinating look into an alternitive reality, one that is totally antithema to todays "big-government, it takes a village air-head liberal" Great fantasy read that takes your mind off of todays depressing state-of-the-state. It read well in 1980, and it reads well today! Hummm maybe it should be required reading for liberals as well. Detective Bear is gritty, and beliveable. The Chandler overtones only add to a gutsy style that pulls no punches, and puts you right into the book with the charecters. Everytime I read this book it turns into a nonstop readathon. Read it on a weekend, because you will miss work because its impossible to put down.
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The Probability Broach
The Probability Broach by L.Neil Smith (Paperback - 26 April 2002)
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