WorldFAQ: L. Neil Smith's North American Confederacy

The North American Confederacy, created by L. Neil Smith


  1. Quick Reference
  2. Description
  3. Printed Sources Bibliography
  4. Visual Sources Bibliography
  5. Related Materials Bibliography
  6. Online References
  7. Maintainer Information

1. Quick Reference

The North American Confederacy is in an alternate universe wherein the Whiskey Rebellion was a success, and the American federal government lost power and prestige. By the time of the 20th century (2nd century A.L., Anno Liberatis, measured from the date of the American Revolution), the entire continent of North America is one large country with little to no government -- and the inhabitants like it just fine that way. Crime is low and technology is high. Primary sources are L. Neil Smith's books: The Probability Broach, The Venus Belt, The Nagasaki Vector, The Tom Paine Maru, The Gallatin Divergence, et al.
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2. Description

Edward William "Win" Bear, homicide lieutenant for the Denver Police Department, accidentally leaves his home universe by means of the Probability Broach (an inter-universal travel gate). He discovers, on the other side, a universe which seems to have forgotten the concept of "government." Everyone is armed, but paradoxically, crime seems to be low to nonexistent. Furthermore, technology seems to have advanced beyond that of Win's home world, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Once in the other universe, Win meets several friendly individuals, namely Clarissa Olson, Healer (doctor); Lucille Gallegos Kropotkin, semi-retired space engineer and all around busybody; and his own counterpart in the new universe, Edward William "Ed" Bear. He also learns of the history of the new universe, and also of a plot that the nefarious Security Police of his own world are involved in to take over the North American Confederacy. Win and his new friends manage to call together a session of the Continental Congress, which has only convened six times in history, to learn about and deal with the threat. Win's adventures, and those of other people in the Confederacy, are chronicled in the other books in the series.

Geographically, the North American Confederacy consists of the entire continent of North America, including Greenland and the Caribbean islands. The population of the Confederacy, as close as can be known, is around one billion. Eventually, the Confederacy grows to encompass the entire Solar System.

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3. Printed Sources Bibliography (listed chrologically in Confederacy history

THE PROBABILITY BROACH, Del Rey, 1980. ISBN 0-345-28593-X.

THE PROBABILITY BROACH, Tor, 1996. ISBN 0-812-53875-7.

THE PROBABILITY BROACH, Tor, 2001. ISBN 0-765-30153-9.

This book details the first adventure of Win Bear as he crosses through the Probability Broach. Reprinted in October 1996 by Tor Books and as a Trade paperback in December 2001.

"The Spirit of Exmas Sideways," first published in ALTERNATIVES, Baen, 1989. ISBN 0-671-69818-4.

A short story where Win Bear investigates a murder in the Confederacy.

THE NAGASAKI VECTOR, Del Rey, 1983. ISBN 0-345-30382-2.

Captain Bernard Gruenblum of the Ochskahrt Memorial Academy in a still different universe takes a wrong turn in his time machine and finds himself in the Confederacy, in the process losing, and eventually regaining, his vessel.

THE AMERICAN ZONE, Tor, 2001. ISBN 0-312-87369-7 .

Terrorists try to force a government to form in the North American Confederacy. Win Bear, his wife Clarissa, and his friends Lucy Kropotkin and Will Sanders stalk the bad guys through the self-isolated community of fresh (and frightened) immigrants to the first free country they've ever known.

THE VENUS BELT, Del Rey, 1980. ISBN 0-345-28721-5.

Chronologically the third book, this is the second book L. Neil Smith wrote about the Confederacy. Win travels to the asteroid belt to investigate a massive series of disappearances involving women in his home world.


This takes place in the same universe as the rest of the Confederacy novels, although on a different planet; none of the human characters from the other novels appears in this one.

THE TOM PAINE MARU, Del Rey, 1984. ISBN 0-345-29243-X.

The first of the mainline Confederacy novels in which Win Bear does not appear. Whitey O'Thraight, descendant of some of the first extrasolar colonists, finds himself in the North American (now Galactic) Confederacy. His homeworld having reverted to barbarism (i.e. government), he suffers a rather severe case of culture shock but eventually assimilates into the culture.

BRIGHTSUIT MACBEAR, Avon, 1988. ISBN 0-380-75324-3.

Berdan Geanar, great-grandson of Win Bear, explores a jungle planet. Similar in tone and style to Heinlein's juvenile novels.


Lysandra "Elsie" Nahuatl arrives on the jungle planet and explores, eventually learning of Berdan Geanar, now calling himself Macdougall Bear, and searches for him.

THE GALLATIN DIVERGENCE, Del Rey, 1985. ISBN 0-345-30383-0.

Win Bear returns, traveling back in time to the Whiskey Rebellion, to stop an insane woman from changing history and destroying the entire Confederacy.
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4. Visual Sources Bibliography.

No known adaptations.
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5. Related Materials Bibliography.

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6. Online References:

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7. Maintainer information

Maintainer: Chris Goodwin <>

Last updated: October 15, 2001.

HTML on: October 15, 2001.


Special thanks to Ken Holder, for providing web space.

And extra special thanks to L. Neil Smith, without whom this would not have been possible. Neil has also very kindly provided his permission for the creation of this document.

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End of Document.

The above is Copyright © 2001 by Christopher A. Goodwin. Permission granted to copy and distribute without prior written consent as long as:

1. No money changes hands

2. The contents remain unaltered

3. The author's name and e-mail address remain with the document.

It is encouraged, but not required, that you notify the author if you copy and/or distribute this document. And feedback is always requested.