The Enquiring Hitchhiker Interviews J. Neil Schulman

We had the pleasure to interview J. Neil Schulman last week. He is the author of the Novel Alongside Night and has twice won the Prometheus award for his work. Currently Mr. Schulman is working on a movie based on Alongside Night.


The Hitchhiker asks…

1. I have asked this of several authors and in your case I think this question is even more pertinent. Tell me about the influence Heinlein had over your work and life?

I wrote an entire book to answer this question: The Robert Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana (

As I wrote in my introduction to that book:

In July of 1973, I was twenty and had been an avid fan
of Robert Heinlein for half my life. I don’t think it’s an
overstatement to say there’s a good chance that if he
hadn’t lived, I would’ve never made it to age twenty.
Teenage suicide is common, and my teenage years
were, to state it mildly, not good. If Robert Heinlein
hadn’t written the books he wrote, and I hadn’t read
them, I doubt very much that I would have had the
intellectual background necessary to climb out of the
hole I was in between the ages of fifteen and eighteen.

For most of my childhood, Heinlein represented everything
in my life that meant anything to me. He wrote
about futures that were worth living for. He wrote
about talented people who felt life was worth living,
and made it worth living, no matter what the breaks
that fell their way. His characters never had an easy
time of it, but they persevered.

And, boy oh boy, when you’re getting the shit kicked
out of you in half a dozen different ways, images like
that are sometimes the only thing between you and the

2. I was looking over your work and I noticed you wrote an episode of the Twilight zone that came out in the 1980’s “Profile in Silver”. I was 15 at the time that episode aired. I haven’t seen it since but it is almost as fresh in my mind as the day I saw it. The premise is about time travel and the prevention of the assassination of JFK. Just as speculation do you think time travel is possible and if so do you think we would recognize them even if they were among us?

I not only believe time travel is possible, I believe that time isn’t anything like what we think it is. Like Heinlein described in Between Planets, I believe there are multiple parallel continua and that we’re constantly slipping in and out of them. By the way, I wrote about this episode in another of my books: Profile in Silver and Other Screenwritings and blogged about it at

3. You list your political affiliation as “Limited Anarchist” how is that different than Libertarianism. Tell us a bit about your political philosophy?

This interview is quickly becoming links to fuller answers to these questions. My best summary is also on my blog here:

4. Your novel Alongside Night is about an economic collapse in the United States. It is my understanding that it is being made into a movie. Can you tell us a bit about the work itself and the movie being made from it?  ( This answer included Question 5. What are the current projects that you are working on?)

This is going to answer both question 4 and 5. I wrote the novel Alongside Night in the 70’s and it was published in 1979. It projected a future where the dollar had collapsed due to government overspending and monetizing its debts, causing a hyperinflationary crisis. We are now living in the objective economic conditions leading to that kind of crisis — again see my article at — the last section titled “Yankruptcy: What is the tipping point when government overspending collapses the buying power of the dollar?”

I’ve written a screenplay adaptation of Alongside Night and I am currently in production as its writer/producer/director. We’re aiming for film-festival release by summer 2013. Full info is on the official movie website at

In a follow up conversation Mr. Shulman informed the Hitchhiker that Ron Paul has endorsed Alongside Night the novel and he and he’s appearing as himself in the movie.

Thank you for the interview and we look forward to supporting your new Movie.


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