Jessie Lilley
Buddy Barnett
Brad Linaweaver

November 2009     Web Edition     Issue #3

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John DeChancie's cameo in the Silicon Assassin episode "Problem Child".
With Paula LaBaredas and Vicki Marie Taylor.

Brad Linaweaver

Guest of Honor

by John DeChancie

I'm pretty sure I first met Brad Linaweaver at a Loscon back in the last century. I was at a room party, and suddenly found myself unable to hold a drink. I had no arms. I realized that the man I was chatting with had talked them both off. Brad Linaweaver has a lot to say, and he says it well.

Brad Linaweaver is a writer of the first magnitude, and a versatile one in the bargain. His award-winning Moon of Ice is arguably one of the best alternate history novels ever written. His short stories span the fantastic genres from hard SF all the way through to Lovecraftian horror. He is a New York Times best-selling novelizer of the popular video game Doom. He wrote the only novelization based on the short-lived but popular TV series Sliders. He wrote a nonfiction book about the series. Brad also writes Young Adult fantasies in the vein of C. S. Lewis. Add to that dozens of articles on film. Big pile there? Sure, but it gets bigger. Throw on his articles for high-circulation national magazines such as National Review.

Obviously he doesn't only talk. He performs, he works, he cranks out pay copy. He writes. But he also talks. If you've ever had a conversation with Brad, you might notice that he will utter, on average, forty words to your one. He'll need every one of those, though, because he has more to say than you do. He will tell you things you've never known. He knows more about Adolf Hitler than Hitler's mother. He will tell you of the ominous parallels between our contemporary culture and that of pre-WWII Nazi Germany. Think anti-smoking campaigns and health/body fetishes are recent liberal phenomena? Think again. Hitler was a vegetarian and hated cigarettes. Think fascism and free enterprise are correlates? Think again. Fascism is inimical to the free market. Think Green activism is anything new? Check out the back-to-nature cults down through the proverbial ages. He'll tell you more, if you care to listen.

No, Brad isn't a doom-crier, for all that he is a Doom writer. In fact, he will tell you that the diet of doom and gloom that today's kids are fed, that noxious, volatile mixture of Nirvana and nihilism, is the real cause of atrocities like the Columbine high school massacre, not some innocuous video game.

In short, Brad is a provocative fellow. Yes, he's political, and sometimes his fiction carries a pot of message. But the message is always tailored to the medium. For Brad, that medium is the literature of the fantastic. He once persuaded me to write a short story for the first anthology of science ficton with a libertarian political theme. I did so, and instantly became so covered with tar I looked like I'd spent the day rolling around a beach in Santa Barbara. I was instantly a libertarian pariah in the SF world. Me, probably the least libertarian writer in the book. (I think national parks are fine.) The anthology was a popular success, but the critics said, "Too preachy." Of course, we all know that the Left never preaches in art or literature. Read the book (Free Space) and judge for yourself. Brad is a good editor who knows that a story must entertain before it breaks and runs a political spot.

Brad is also a friend of mine. He is a lot of fun. He likes to talk, but he'll also listen. His fiction shows that he's been listening to people. Listening to the times, too, taking the pulse of the Zeitgeist. He has a keen historical sense which he combines with a visionary view of the future. He'll listen to you, and then he will tell you that the future will be free. You won't be able to talk him out of it.