Aphelion Review # 51
Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
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The Probabality Broach:

The Graphic Novel
By L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser

Review by Dan L. Hollifield

Type of music/work:

Sci-fi Graphic Novel.


L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser
Intrduction Page for the Graphic Novel
Published by Big Head Press
ISBN: 0-9743814-1-1
Cover by Scott Bieser

General impressions of the album/book:

WOW! This one will blow you away. Not only is it a great story, but the artwork is perfectly suited to give the reader a better feel for the lush details provided in the text versions of this tale. Gripping story, beautiful artwork, this volume should be on everyone's wish list.


This is the third version of L. Neil Smith's first novel that has been published. It's also the first time one of his books has appeared in Graphic Novel format. First published by Del Rey / Ballantine Books in text form in 1980 as a paperback, with a cover by Barney Plotkin, "The Probability Broach" didn't take long to start getting noticed. It was a 1980 and 1981 Prometheus Award winner for Best Libertarian Fiction. It was republished, in unexpurgated form, by TOR Books in 1996, with a cover byPeter Peebles. And now once again published by Bighead Press in 2004, as a graphic novel with artwork by Scott Bieser. This version may be the perfect way to get an introduction to L. Neil Smith's North American Confederacy novels. Not only is the story itself relativly unchanged, but the art provides the perfect visual for the reader to remember when reading other of Smith's NAC stories.

Every character is fully realized. They are living, breathing people that leap directly from the page and into the reader's imagination. There aren't any straw-men characters here. Both heroes and villans are packed with every sort of detail needed to bring them to life, set against the backdrop of an altogether too-close-for-comfort version of our world and the Libertarian paradise of the North American Confederacy. Once the reader follows he story's hero through the Broach into the alternate universe of the NAC, they'll want to pack their bags and move there themselves!

All the detail that Smith's fans have come to enjoy from the world-building in his novels are brought to vivid life by Scott Bieser's artwork. Every scene is packed with the tiny background bits and bobs that the reader once had to visualize in their own imagination as they read. Longtime fans of Smith's stories will be just as delighted as first-time readers. This graphic novel is quite simply the best that I have seen in several years. Whether you're a science fiction fan, a comics fan, or some blend of the two, you owe it to yourself to go buy a copy. You won't be dissapointed.

Background info:

I could do no better than to link to L. Neil Smith's own website for biographical data on him. So here is a link: Who Is L. Neil Smith?

Likewise, here is a link to Scott Bieser's website:Scott Bieser .Com

Review © 2007 by Dan L. Hollifield

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