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by L. Neil Smith

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-87369-7
Publisher: Tor

Lamely comic sequel to Probability Broach (not reviewed) has hard-drinking, big-eating, pistol-packing, Colorado good-ol'-boy p.i. Win Bear stumbling after a terrorist cell wreaking havoc on the North American Confederacy in an alternate universe where George Washington lost the Whisky Rebellion and the Civil War was never fought. Win is knocking back a Scotch-and-Scotch on July 2, the NAC's Independence Day, when Clark Gable and Carole Lombard appear at his doorstep. The aged but still spry king and queen of Hollywood hire him to find out who’s importing movies that were never made, such as Gone With the Wind. After several conversations about how great it is to live in a world in which everyone is armed and no one pays taxes, Win and perfect wife Clarissa rush off to rescue victims of a freak attack on a local skyscraper. It isn't long before Win suspects that the wackos disturbing the peace are a bunch of rabid Franklinites, followers of Ben Franklin's proto-socialist ideas. Smith (Forge of the Elders, 2000, etc.) uses the story as wobbly barstool to rant against contemporary American government and make crude fun of such liberal and conservative personalities as Geraldo Rivera, Al Franken, George Will, William F. Buckley, and William Bennett.

Not half as funny as Smith might think it is. For fans only.