The Probability Broach Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Probability Broach

Orb, Dec 2001, 15.95, 315 pp.
ISBN: 0765391539

    In Denver homicide detective Win Bear begins to feel his age after years on the force dealing with all kinds of vermin. His latest case is the usual chasing a murderer in a country that is totally controlled by the government with killers seemingly the only individualists left. The economy is in the tank and the only thing rising is pollution. Individual freedoms are nearing “zero”.
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    Win stumbles on the PROBABILITY BROACH. He enters a different United States where individual freedom means everything and with limited government, technology has thrived within the blue skies. A different history has occurred with the major divergence beginning in 1794 with Gallatin joining the revolting Pennsylvania farmers, which results in the execution of Washington. The rest is history.

    This is a reprint of a 1980s tale comparing two worlds, ours and an idyll realm based on L Neil Smith's contention that we lost freedoms during the Federalist period that also cost progress. Readers do not have to be libertarians to enjoy a well-written science fiction that dramatically portrays government excess using an alternate historical base for comparison. The story line engages the audience while making the readers think especially with today's debate over military tribunals for alleged terrorists or even the Steele case under Starr. Though avoiding the issue of the private sector stealing our civil liberties that also permeates American history, Mr. Smith's novel remains fresh today as the air in his alternate history is so that the reader gains a fabulous thought provoking novel that also entertains its audience.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

An ordinary police detective with an ulcer and fallen arches finds himself the target of government killers. In the process of dishing out a little leaden justice, he unwittingly activates a 'probability broach', a gate into a parallel universe where government gradually faded away after George Washington lost the Whiskey Rebellion (and his life) to Albert Gallatin. Our Hero must adjust to an anarchist society while hunting down the authoritarians who are trying to kill him and enslave two time-lines.
The review of this Book prepared by Brian R. Hughes

Chapter Analysis of The Probability Broach

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book    -   very upbeat FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   alternate history Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   dimension travel--general Spying & Investigations    -   Yes What is main char. doing?    -   spying/espionage in enemy territorry    -   finding a killer (criminal)    -   deposing an evil leader    -   unraveling a conspiracy Tech./$$$/Info hunt    -   Yes Stealing/recovering/destroying    -   weapon    -   info about lifeform(s)/society/phenomena    -   state secrets Inner Struggle    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   search for identity/new understanding    -   change of heart Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Cultural problems, alien culture    -   Yes Culture clash-    -   one culture tries to impose its culture on another group

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's


Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   explicit references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a fair amount of scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes How much dialogue?    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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