L. Neil Smith (1946-2021)

Author L. Neil Smith, 75, died on August 27, 2021 in Fort Collins, CO.

Lester Neil Smith III was born May 12, 1946 in Denver, CO. He was a former state candidate for the US Libertarian Party, ex-police reserve officer, and a gunsmith. Smith created the Prometheus Awards in 1979 to honor libertarian science fiction.

Smith began publishing science fiction with “Grimm’s Law” for Stellar 5 (1980). He wrote 31 books, including 29 novels, and a number of essays and short stories. Titles include The Probability Broach (1980), which won him his first Prometheus Award in 1984. He won twice more, in 1994 for Pallas (1993) and in 2001 for Forge of the Elders (2000). He has been nominated 17 times for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel. Nominations include Their Majesties’ Bucketeers (1981), The Venus Belt (1981), The Nagasaki Vector (1983), The Gallatin Divergence (1985), The Crystal Empire (1986), Brightsuit MacBear (1988), Bretta Martyn (1997), The American Zone (2001), Roswell, Texas (2008), Ceres (2010), and Blade of P’Na (2016). He also wrote a trilogy of Lando Calrissian novels, all published in 1983. In 2016, Smith received the Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to libertarian science fiction.

Smith is survived by daughter Rylla Smith and wife Cathy Smith. Full obituary and appreciations will run in the October issue of Locus.

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