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"Unexpected Questions" interview with Barry B. Longyear.



The Fireteller Tales

In my idle moments after my decade-long struggle with THE CANDLE MAN, I decided to gather into a collection the short fiction pieces of mine that had not been collected elsewhere. I present them now as THE FIRETELLER TALES. These are stories for adults, and for children who wish to become adults. If you or your children are triggered by battle, death, fighting, ghosts, capital punishment, addiction, dementia, terrorism, hidden fears, Martians, learning, or talking cats, you may want to pass on this one and wait for my next collection, THE MILK TOAST CHRONICLES. Some of you who remember the Miklynn stories, they are not in The Fireteller Tales. I plan to collect them in another book.

I read all of the pieces included in this collection, and was somewhat startled by the number I couldn't remember having written until I read them over and recalled some of the fan mail I got, particularly regarding "The Monopoly Man." I really enjoyed reading them, too. I am, after all, my favorite author. There are two collaboration pieces in this tome: "Bloodsong,". written with the late Kevin O'Donnell, Jr. and "A Case of Immunity," written with the consultation of two attorneys editor George Scithers inflicted on me, S.A Cochran, Jr., & Warren M. Solomon. THE FIRETELLER TALES are (is) available in trade paperback and Kindle formats.






The Candle Man


(From The Candle Man)

Foreword: A Warning

 Thank you for taking the time, as well as the risk, to peek within these pages. What did I mean by using the word "risk"? Any medication warning that begins with "May cause anal leakage, constipation, hallucinations, and in rare cases, death" should make the user cautious. I do not see this work causing any sort of bowel distress, although it might disrupt many of the illusions upon which you depend. How you react to that may be your entry into the fight of your life or see you run up the white flag of surrender. Take this paragraph as this work's warning label: Danger. Use of this product may cause discomfort and thought.


My name is Doctor Clay Morgan, and no I am not that kind of doctor. My first doctorate was in history, and others followed. And, no, I am not incredibly smart. I have had and still have unlimited time to go to school. About this book that you have incautiously opened, although it carries a science-fiction label, the story I have to tell you does not fit comfortably within any of the usual genre designations. As with the Planet Earth and the inhabitants of it, the boundaries, issues, loyalties, labels, truths, and aims of this story are difficult to categorize.


Modern publishing nowadays wants to warn potential readers of "triggers" and of possibly offensive remarks concerning the myriad "sensitive" issues of the moment. This it seems is more important than the story itself. If you, dear reader, know who and what you are, nothing within these pages should have you curled up in the back of a dark closet sucking your thumb, running to a lawyer, or beating the drums on social media to have me, my life, my occupation, and my home destroyed. If you are uncertain who and what you are, however, if your life is arranged as a sensitivity antenna continuously searching for signs of social error against you and yours to continuously paint yourself as a victim, perhaps it would be wise to put this volume aside until you have completed therapy.


As for guns and violence, the span of this volume covers a number of conflicts beginning with the Mexican War, the American Civil War, and other even worse struggles up to and including the invasion of Israel by Hamas and Israel's response which at this writing is still taking place, as is Russia's invasion of Ukraine, chaos and death in Haiti, Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the state executions of Fulani civilians in West Africa, as well as the American government's war on the Constitution. This does not include the duels, riots, and murders recounted within these pages which also enhance this volume's body count. If you need to shun death and violence to make it through your day put down this volume. In addition, do not watch the televised news, nor read history, nor step outside your front door. We do not live on a comfortable planet.


To those readers who remain, welcome.


To begin, I have for you a very important question: Do you feel safe?


I ask, dear reader, because I am not certain you are safe. Through experience and scientific testing it has been shown that I am, for all practical purposes, immortal. Even so, I do not feel safe.


Do you know what is going on out there?


Do you watch all the news?


If you simply headline hop through state owned and state managed media committed to convincing you that things have never been better, stay at home or confine yourself to gated neighborhoods. You most likely do not know what is happening on those other streets, along dark country lanes, in homes left unoccupied for a few days, in occupied homes here and there, and in all those dark corners of political power here and around the world. Mind, they are coming for your town, your neighborhood, and eventually you.


Do you feel safe enough to take a few minutes to read several pages?


You believe so?


Upon what is your belief based? Are you in a book store reading this? Should someone hurl a Molotov cocktail into the store, or hose down the place with a submachine gun have you a plan? You are at home reading, perhaps even in bed? Are you counting on someone else having locked the doors and windows? You count on them because they are one hundred percent reliable? Have you not done any checking at all yourself? Do you know what planet you are on? Do you know what year it is? Are your doors and windows locked?


You don't live in that kind of town, you say?


My friend Glendon told me years ago that thanks to population growth, drugs, and the Internet everybody in the world now lives in that kind of town. Severing criminal acts from judicial penalties and defunding the departments charged with enforcing the law have consequences—obvious consequences to some.


Very well.


You assume you are safe. Nevertheless, please remember to sit in shadows, shades drawn, an unobstructed view to your front and sides. Keep that which is behind you something solid like a cliff, a masonry wall should you have one, or someone you can trust guarding your back such as close family, well funded and trained military or police guards, or your own security force—if indeed these days you can trust anyone.


Can you trust anyone?


That person you think is a friend may secretly think you are one of the bad guys. Did you ever express a political opinion near them and get only a nervous smile or silence in return? If your views match your friend's, you'll be fine. If not, if you voted wrong, praised even faintly the wrong candidate, or, perish forbid, are registered in the wrong party, forget the Human protection and stick with the masonry wall.


A weapon of some kind wouldn't be amiss.


You are against weapons and violence, you say? Just mentioning, dear reader, it is difficult to arrange a no-weapons event with one's attackers in advance. Such rather gives away the element of surprise.


I sense someone is thinking that she would rather die than injure or kill another Human being. That is such a fine sentiment, isn't it? Let us hope her family shares her preference for victimhood over survival. You say you share her belief? Well, maybe you are scrappy, bulletproof, or can run really fast, say better than 3,200 feet per second.


Still feeling safe?


. . . . ?


Did you hear that? a clunk? a bang? a squeak? a bird? a child cry? voices muttering? perhaps a moan? A body thudding to the floor? Possibly it was just the wind, ice melting, someone on the roof—


Someone close . . . breathing heavily? Sounds like that to me.


An ambulance siren? Whew! That's good. It is something of a comfort to know that you are not the only potential victim in town. Safety in numbers, you see. Danger might not have enough time to get around to you for now.


It is good to keep a positive thought.


More in The Candle Man



The 8th N.C. Infantry shortly before reorganization as the 18th N.C.



Longyear Wins 2021

 Prometheus Award

for Best Novel

2021 Prometheus Awards:

Barry B. Longyear wins for Best Novel,


The Libertarian Futurist Society, a nonprofit all-volunteer international organization of freedom-loving science fiction fans, has announced Prometheus Award Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction winners.
The 41st annual Prometheus Awards will be presented online in late August with an awards ceremony and panel discussion, with Reason magazine as the media sponsor of the post-ceremony panel. Reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward and Reason book editor Jesse Walker will join LFS President William H. Stoddard and others (to be announced) to discuss "SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards."

The Prometheus Award for Best Novel
The War Whisperer, Book 5: The Hook, by Barry B. Longyear (Enchanteds), has won the 2021 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for novels published in 2020.
  In one of the rare novels to imagine a fully libertarian society and attempt to do so realistically, Longyear depicts a near future in which the Mexican government's bungled response to a devastating Category 5 hurricane prompts the people of the border state of Tamaulipas to secede, declaring themselves an anarcho-libertarian freeland. The protagonist, Jerome Track, must first decide whether the freeland is worth his commitment, and then develop an innovative strategy for its defense. In the fifth book of Track's autobiography, Longyear grapples with how a society that refuses to use coercion against its people can defend itself against military aggression without conscription or taxation, and develops an intriguing and plausible solution.
  This is the first Prometheus Award recognition for Longyear, best known for the award-winning novella and film of Enemy Mine and the first writer to win the Hugo, Nebula and Campbell awards in the same year. However, several of Longyear's earlier works, most frequently his 1981 novel Circus World, have been nominated by LFS members for the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

The Enemy Papers

>>>>Back in print!

This is the omnibus collection of the Enemy Mine Series. It begins with fragments of the Drac Talman, including "The Myth of Aakva,"  "The Story of Uhe," and much of "The Story of Shizumaat." Following that is Enemy Mine, The Author's Cut, the novel-length expansion of the original novella that was made into a motion picture by Fox. Next are the two novel-length sequels: The Tomorrow Testament, and The Last Enemy. Included as well are two essays: "On Alien Languages," recounting some of the horror and fun of inventing languages, and "Run Drac Run," the epic saga of the writing of the Enemy Mine Series.




Announcing the publication of Alien Runes: Building and Using Your Personal Oracle. This is an introductory work describing the oracle, how it works and how the reader can modify it to build an oracle to suit his or her own experiences, goals, and challenges. It also includes theories on why it works as well as a history of how the author tinkered it together and developed it over three and a half decades.  At the same time Enchanteds has released Vade Mecum for Alien Runes  for those experienced in using the Alien Runes Oracle (see below).


■Is it the hand of a god, the key to life-transforming spirituality, guidance from a guardian angel, a mere parlor game, a reach for the infinite, or the product of an overtaxed imagination?


■The only valid means of answering the above question is to employ the Alien Runes Oracle in your life for a period and see if and how it works. In Alien Runes: Building and Using Your Personal Oracle author Barry B. Longyear describes and provides the historical basis for the oracle system he has developed and used for over three decades in his reach to grow within a spiritual life. Many will find the oracle very useful as is. With that as a template, however, he shows, step-by-step- how the reader can adapt the Alien Runes Oracle to the reader's own circumstances, life challenges, goals, and beliefs. Skeptics may find this oracle an amusing entertainment for guests. Those who open themselves to this adventure of discovery, however, will receive the guidance to achieve a life of fulfillment, contentment, and joy, and as a bonus discover themselves.



Vade Mecum for Alien Runes is a working book of rune readings, talisman sets, and index of issues for those experienced in using the Alien Runes Oracle either as a permanent guide or temporary set of runes and readings preparatory to devising their own versions of Alien Runes. Use of the Vade Mecum presupposes the reader is familiar with the terminology of Alien Runes and the symbology. In addition, it assumes the reader understands how to pose questions to the oracle, has chosen a selector, and understands how to use one in obtaining a response from the oracle.





This version is the original award winning novella that inspired the 20th Century Fox motion picture ENEMY MINE starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr. It is the story of a human combat pilot, incomplete in himself, taught to be a human by the sworn enemy with which he is stranded, an alien who leaves with the human its most important possession: its future. This version of "Enemy Mine" is the winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for best novella (1980). Other versions available are expansions of this version.




The War Whisperer

The final book of The War Whisperer: Book 7: Changes is now live on Amazon as both Kindle and paperback. That is the lot, and although this project cost me more than I care to recount just now, I wouldn't trade the experience for mountains of money. I learned so many things, had my mind stretched five different ways, and to my reckoning I've made a real contribution to a discussion that is only just beginning in the USA and elsewhere. I also learned how far I can drive myself, and how to let go of everything I was supposed to be doing for the past six years to focus on the story still in the machine.


I hope those who read the series enjoy it, perhaps a few even grasping the meanings in the work. Nevertheless, in the end I write for myself, and I am pleased with the work and dread the next few days it will take to get this story out of my head and get on with the next project. Even now I am beginning to miss White Cloud, Jaz, Reb, Tex, Lorena, Sara Mae, Juan-Diego, and so many others. It feels like a wake, and I hope I can resist the temptation to conjure up a zombie sequel for some kind of old-home celebration. The War Whisperer is complete.



Turning The Grain


Turning The Grain: A Novel of a Future Past

This is the most recent science fiction work of Barry B. Longyear and is the full novel portions of which were serailized in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. In a Sam Tomaino review (Analog, Sept 2009), he writes "Gordon Redcliff is a cynical Native American who has made his living as a soldier and a sniper. He winds up as part of a time-traveling mission to a village 139,000 years in the past, located in what is the present day Egypt, near the border of Libya. He is supposed to be a bodyguard to a scientist and they will visit the village before it is destroyed by a meteorite. They are supposed to leave and do nothing that would affect the world in the 139,000 years between then and now. Things go awry and Gordon is stranded in the past. Longyear once more shows how good a storyteller he is."


Available in both Kindle and paperback.





THE ENEMY PAPERS - Kindle Edition

The eleven thousand year saga of the Dracs from the Myth of Aakva to the quest for peace of an alien terrorist named Yazi Ro, and of the humans who became part of the legend.

The work contains three complete Novels: an expanded Enemy Mine, The Tomorrow Testament, and The Last Enemy, as well as substantial fragments of The Talman, and essays on the story of Enemy Mine and troubles on building an alien language.



ROPE PAPER SCISSORS, the third crime adventure in the Joe Torio Mystery Series, following The Hangman's Son and Just Enough Rope, is now available at Amazon. The work came in at 340,000 words, hence it is being published by Enchanteds in three volumes: Rope, Paper, and Scissors.

This was a lot of work through a laundry list of health issues, but now it's done. I think it's a great story, and I am very grateful to all those who helped make it possible.

The most frequent question I am asked about the Joe Torio Series, is "Should I read the others in the series (The Hangman's Son and Just Enough Rope) before reading Rope Paper Scissors?"

Well, of course, one should purchase all of the series and read them in order. However, it is not necessary. The exception is Rope Paper Scissors. The three books together make up one novel, one story. Paper, for example, is the middle of the story. Reading it first will probably leave you wondering what's going on. If you choose to do so, however, have at it.



Screen-Handy English Rules and When to Break Them for Writers of Readable Writing

For Working Writers: All that crap you were supposed to memorize in high school English some of which may have faded or fallen though the cracks. Mount this Kindle on your monitor and when needed quickly find the answers to most of your English grammar, punctuation, and usage questions, as well as a bundle of ways to diddle, bend, and break the rules.

The Kindle is available now for $2.99.

I have been asked if this would be suitable for middle schoolers, and it does have a bit of rough language in it. However, I would have killed to have this be my English text when I was in the eighth grade. It contains no words eighth graders wouldn't understand and in all probability are already comfortable using. The work's object, however, is readable writing, as in fiction and nonfiction books, stories, and articles for sale. If you are on an academic kick and looking for tried and true guides for putting in footnotes or diagramming sentences, this is not the English text for you.


Updated the Kindle for Sea of Glass. Strange going through this work again. When I began writing, this was where I began, I fought with this manuscript for nine years, becoming an established author in the meantime. Near the end of that nine years, I had my original thirty thousand words, a signed and paid for contract offer, and a delivery date. I also had absolutely no idea how to finish this book.

I had lived with the character of Thomas Windom for nine years, however, and in many respects knew him better than I knew myself. I sat down and wrote Tom a letter in which I expressed my frustration at finishing the novel and asked his advice on what he wanted me to do with the damned thing.

In my head, I got a very clear message: "Put it down the way I give it to you and make sure it stays that way." In a few weeks more I had another seventy thousand words to go with the original thirty, and a book that still seems like someone else wrote it.

My late friend, George Alec Effinger, told me he regarded Sea of Glass as an "undiscovered classic." Be that as it may, it is an important story to me, and if I had to pick one of my stories to put forward to earn my way out of writers Hell, Sea of Glass would be it.


ENEMY MINE - The Original Novella in Kindle Format

Strange as it may seem, the originally published version of the novella "Enemy Mine" (1979)has not been available except from used magazine vendors, until now. The version released in the Author's Guild Backinprint.com edition is a slight expansion of the original that was first published in my themed collection, MANIFEST DESTINY. The many appearances of this story in anthologies since then are that same slightly expanded version.

The version we have been marketing from this site , ENEMY MINE: The Author's Cut, is a rather substantial expansion of the original that first appeared in the Enemy Mine omnibus titled: THE ENEMY PAPERS. This was in order to better balance Enemy Mine against its two sequels, THE TOMORROW TESTAMENT and THE LAST ENEMY, both full-length novels.

The Enchanteds version we are releasing with this announcement, titled: ENEMY MINE The Original Award Winning Novella, is as the title says: the original. Excepting for correcting a few typos appearing in the original, this version is as it appeared in the September 1979 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, thirty-two years, three awards, and a motion picture ago.


Jerome Track


He began life as a throwaway child in a dying Earth its inhabitants oblivious of their self-inflicted demise. Conceived out of rape and incest, inflicted with the hated nickname of "Geronimo," and thrust into a harsh existence, the gift of his birth leads Jerome Track to reach for a freedom he didn't understand and change a world that in his later years regards him as both hero and monster. To understand his own life he begins to write. Geronimo is the first book of his autobiography.


The eight books of The War Whisperer are difficult to pidgeonhole. Book 1: Geronimo is coming of age, Book 2: Black is action-adventure, Book 3: Misty is spy thriller, Book 4: The RAT is war-military, Book 5: The Hook is a very different kind of war-military, Book 6: The Notice is a political walk into the lion's mouth, Book Seven: Changes is part you can go home again and part romance, Book 8: The War Whisperer is short and is tacked onto the end of Book 7. It is science fiction.



The students of Black Academy named themselves and their athletic teams "Black Mambas" after a snake that was not black, but was quite deadly. An apt name in a school where nothing was what it appeared. It was a school of savants designed to produce a corps of assassins to fill the ranks of Misty, a secret and quite illegal branch of the C.I.A. Randall J. Black Academy was as enlightening as it was dark, an institution filled with love and vengeance, brilliance and death. This school, tucked away in the Maine Enchanteds, was where Jerome Track began changing the world. Black is the second book of his autobiography.



Misty. It was the code name for an illegal branch of the CIA whose purpose it was to make the adjustments needed in foreign and domestic areas that politics, democracy, and the demands for "transparency" had made unworkable. Jerome Track and Monkey House in Misty combined to make a force that truly changed the world. Misty is the third book of Jerome Track's autobiography.



The RAT: In a time of economic and military peril for America and the world, the United States Army's 688th Regimental Assault Team (RAT) was created by a fool because of a catchy acronym. After its disastrous Algerian battle debut, Billy Kilroy, the new commander of "The Lost Battalion" needed a way to revolutionize urban warfare and how to sell it to the Army. For both he picked fellow Black Academy grad, ex-Misty agent Jerome Track. The RAT is the fourth book of Jerome Track's autobiography.



The Hook: It was a college coffee house puzzle, a conundrum that excused freedom's purists from actually doing anything about governmental oppression except talk about it, make speeches, and write turgid tomes all of which did little to advance the cause of freedom in a world plummeting into a mire of collectivist control. The best freedom's advocates could offer were compromises until, as much of the world once again stood on the brink of yet another war and by the grace of a horrific hurricane and the efforts of a good many students, a patch of pure libertarian freedom came into existence. The Hook, however, still stood without an answer. Unless an answer could be found, that patch of freedom would be crushed out of existence, thousands would die, and millions would be returned to oppression. It was a problem for a particular kind of savant, but Jerry Track first needed to find something in which to believe. The Hook is the fifth book of Jerome Track's autobiography.


Winner of the

Prometheus Award

for Best Novel



Three months before the U.S. midterm elections, the people of Texas vote themselves a freeland and independent of the United States. To honor the father of freelands, Juan-Diego Aguilar, as well as the history Texas had as part of the union, the leaders of Texas Secession ask Aguilar to deliver to the U.S. government Texas' "Notice of Separation." The CIA had tried three times to assassinate Aguilar, the White House is contemplating everything up to and including invasion supported by the use of nuclear weapons to keep Texas in the Union, and the last thing the party in power wants to see is the mail from Texas. iBlack Director Jerome Track's problem this time is how to keep everyone on both sides alive while at the same time sell the U.S. president on letting Texas go its own way. The Notice is the sixth book of Jerome Track's autobiography.




After decades as director of iBlack, the wet-work and intelligence Division of Indigo Group Security, White Cloud's home state of Texas votes itself a freeland. Jerry retires and returns to Texas to bury his oldest friend and then to seek a freeland home, family, and to right an old wrong. Changes is the seventh and concluding book of Jerome Track's autobiography.





Now that I won't get cancelled, attacked, or have pitchfork and torch bearing mobs chasing me for misgendering a robot, I am doing this again. Because Xi is pronounced "She," and the platform is now called "X," obviously the new name for a tweet is "Sex." The plural for Sex is "Sexes." The pronoun for both is "It."

Barry B. Longyear is the first writer to win the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer all in the same year. In addition to his acclaimed Enemy Mine Series, his works include the Circus World and Infinity Hold series, Sea of Glass, other SF & fantasy novels, recovery works such as Saint Mary Blue and Yesterday's Tomorrow, and writing instruction works, like The Write Stuff, as well as numerous short stories. The image link above leads to his full biography.