Libertarian Short Story Contest: Win $300!

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Yours truly (as a member of the Libertarian Fiction Authors Association) is teaming up with Students for Liberty (a massive libertarian student organization) to run the first ever (that I am aware of) Libertarian Short Story Contest.

That’s right!

We’re putting our money where our mouth is, and you can win it! (the money, not the mouth).

1st prize is $300, sponsored membership in the LFA (worth a $60 value) and publication in a special edition of SFL’s arts and culture mag, Ama-Gi.  2nd prize is $125 plus all that, and 3rd prize is $75 plus all that.  All prize money can be paid out in dollars, Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Shire Silver, according to your preferences.

The contest is open to all, entry is free, and the deadline is March 4th.

The contest website can be found here:

And the prompt is:

Write a short story that illustrates the positive role of freedom in human life.

Whether it’s a galaxy-spanning space epic or an introspective contemporary character piece, we want to see stories that paint the benefits and possibilities of human freedom in sharply compelling brush-strokes.

So get writing!

Review of “Essential Liberty” by Rob Olive

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Rob Olive’s debut novel, Essential Liberty, will feel familiar to anyone who’s read other examples of “Tea Party fiction” like Matthew Bracken’s Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy or John Ross’s Unintended Consequences.

Like those works, Essential Liberty deals with the American government’s attempts to restrict firearms rights, in this case essentially outlawing semi-automatic weapons and using gun store purchase records to set up a confiscation scheme called “Collection.” The action focuses on the Pacific northwest, mostly around Portland, Oregon, and follows the paths of the ATF team enforcing the Collection orders, and various civilians and other law enforcement they come into contact with.essential liberty book

Don Williams, the protagonist of the story, is a bog-standard, white collar everyman. His vaguely liberal views continue unexamined until the process of Collection personally affects him through his close friend and “gun nut” Michael Niculescu. After a series of mishaps, overzealous enforcement of the law by the ATF’s “HOT” (Hazardous Operations Team), and a particularly vindictive ATF field division commander, Don soon finds himself running for his life from the very government he thought was meant to protect him.

The novel is a fun story overall, and certainly falls into the realm of guilty pleasure reading for any supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Though a little slow to get started, where the story really shines are the action scenes; well-described and full of tension that pulls the reader along at a good clip. There’s very much a sense of wanting to know, “what happens next?”

All that said, the novel does suffer from many of the issues endemic to first novels. While the action is great, the long spaces between action scenes are poorly paced and slow the story down considerably. A large part of these is given over to describing, in detail, the character’s thought processes, the political background, or mundane details that don’t advance the plot; very much a case of telling rather than showing that feels stilted. Point of view hopping mid-scene also occurs frequently and can be confusing when it’s unclear just who is thinking what.

The novel is a quick read, and I found the ending and climax satisfying, though the epilogue chapter dealing with legislative changes in Washington felt unrealistic. On the whole I’d recommend this story to any fans of 2A fiction or gun rights in general. It’s a good first effort and I look forward to future works from Mr. Olive.

You can get the novel at Amazon.

The Top 5 Libertarian Christmas Gifts

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It’s every capitalist’s favorite time of year; a time of Black Friday sales,  commerce, and cookies!

Ah!  But what should you buy for your lovable libertarian this year?  You’ve already lavished them with some of the best libertarian holiday gifts you can find, but now you’re fresh out of ideas!

Fear not!  AGL is here, like a bright-red-nosed ungulate on a stormy December 24th evening, to save the day.

Below we’ve compiled the very tippy-top 5 best libertarian Christmas gifts, so you can stop freaking out and go back to celebrating the beauty of voluntary exchange in a (kind of) free market!

A Second Opinion, Chapter Seven: The More You Know…

Featured, Original Works

This is chapter 7 of a serialized novella appearing on Ars Gratia Libertatis every two weeks.  Read from the beginning here.

Chapter Seven: The More You Know…

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? –Juvenal

The surveillance van was state of the art. No expense had been spared in equipping it with all the newest bells and whistles of the professional voyeur’s trade. Declaring that the van would be “fighting terrorism” the Health Board had kitted it out with full video and auditory sensing and recording equipment (including night and thermal filtering), a veritable hacker’s wet dream of phone and internet taps and signal boosters, and even some more exotic technology still in the experimental phase. Though budgets for life-saving drugs and new beds for hospitals lagged, for this, it seemed, there was always enough money.

Interview with J. Neil Schulman

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J. Neil Schulman is one of the giants of the libertarian novelists active today. His 1979 novel, Alongside Night, is a libertarian classic, with endorsements from Milton Friedman, Ron Paul and others. It has helped to almost single-handedly jump-start the Agorist movement, and is currently being turned into a movie starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Andromeda).

Schulman agreed to sit down with AGL and answer some of our questions.

1. Why did you start [your film company] Jesulu Productions and how did you realize there was a market need?

Jesulu Productions is my one-man personal production company. I initially started Jesulu Productions to produce a film adaptation of my 2002 novel, Escape From Heaven, and that production is still in the pipeline for a tentative release toward the end of 2014. But since it was slow getting that production going I first produced Lady Magdalene’s and am now in pre-production on Alongside Night. Additional productions in the pipeline are listed on the website.

Liberty in visual art?

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Jon McNaughton is not afraid to inject some politics into his beautifully rendered paintings. That those politics are distinctly Tea Party is what makes his paintings so contentious amongst the snooty leftist sorts.

From a CBS Las Vegas piece on the Utah artist:

“For a long time I didn’t know if I wanted to paint this picture, because I worried it might be too controversial,” McNaughton explains in a voice over. “(T)his man (on the park bench) represents every man, woman, and child who is an American… he hopes to find the American dream of happiness and prosperity.

“But now because of unconstitutional acts imposed on the American people by our government we stand on the precipice of disaster”

The painting he is referring to is the first of a pair, and it is called “The Forgotten Man” (alluding, perhaps, to the Amity Schlaes book of the same name, a free market history of the Great Depression).  You can see it below, or in more detail at McNaughton’s website.

Review: High Desert Barbecue by J.D. Tuccille

Featured, Reviews

There is no shortage of novels devoted to the outdoors whose stories appeal to backpackers, campers and hikers (the granola sort, we call them in Colorado). It takes only a minute’s thought to conjure up such titles as Into the Wild, Hatchet, or Hemingway’s famous short story, Big Two-Hearted River. Many of these seriously and studiously explore nature as a vast healing power, a thunderous force not to be trifled with, or a dangerous coming of age challenge.

Rare are those stories that depict nature with a lighthearted chuckle, to be respected, sure, but also to be enjoyed by people who know what they’re doing in the Great Outdoors. Rarer still is such a story written from a free market, libertarian perspective. Luckily, author J.D. Tuccille has taken it upon himself to rectify that deficit with his new novel, High Desert Barbecue.

Interview with Big Head Press’s Scott Bieser

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If you have a passing familiarity with the cultural wing of the liberty movement, odds are you’ve heard of Scott Bieser. The prolific artist and writer has helped to put Big Head Press on the map as a great source for high quality, thoughtful graphic novels with a decidedly libertarian bent. AGL spoke with Scott about his work, Big Head Press, and libertarianism in the arts.

1. Why did you start Big Head Press and how did you realize there was a market need?

Big Head Press was started in order to publish The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel, which was the GN-adaptation of L. Neil Smith’s first novel, which has sold something close to 60,000 copies since it was published, in three editions.

The market need — or more directly, the cultural need — we saw was for more stories promoting individualism and rationality versus statism and mysticism, and after The Probability Broach we sought more stories from various writers along these lines.

2. Describe the company and what you do a little.  How do you get the word out? Is it your primary job or do you do other work?

Big Head Press is my brother Frank, who handles the money and contracts and runs the website, and I, who get graphic stories created and formatted for print or e-publication. So I write, draw, edit (the other artists and writers), letter, and generally manage all aspects of production. And of course, there are our free-lancers, most of whom are also creator-owners of the works.

The 5 Best Libertarian Holiday Gifts

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It’s that time of year again, and you’ve been tasked with braving the cold, the crowds, and the shopping mall Santas, and returning with the perfect gift for that Ayn Rand quoting, Gadsden Militia flag waving friend/relative/lover/frenemy of yours.

But what do you get someone who already has 3 copies of The Fountainhead, a Colt 1911 and gold coins with Thomas Paine’s face on them?

You’re about to find out!

Because below is AGL’s Libertarian Holiday Gift Guide: a random smattering of some of the best free-market schwag out there.  Put one of these under the tree, and you’re sure to bring a smile of joy to even the grinchiest Milton Friedman fan.