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Prometheus Awards

The Prometheus Awards: A Brief History

In 1979, science fiction writer L. Neil Smith created the Prometheus Awards to honor libertarian science fiction. A panel selected F. Paul Wilson's Wheels Within Wheels as the best novel, and a gold coin then worth $2,500 was presented to Wilson. Due to the cost and the lack of a formal organization, the Prometheus Awards fell into limbo.

Founded in 1982, the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS) revived the Prometheus Award, sponsoring an The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Cover annual prize for Best Novel, starting in 1982, and adding in 1983 a second annual category for Best Classic Fiction (the Prometheus Hall of Fame). The prize for the awards is a gold coin, as a symbol of free trade and free minds, mounted on an engraved plaque.

The Prometheus Awards take their name from the Greek myth about a titan who brought fire to mankind. As Louis Rougier wrote in The Genius of the West, his 1971 book with a preface by the Nobel-Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek,

The myth undergirding the civilization of the West is the myth of Prometheus - the philanthropic hero who dared defy the will of Zeus by stealing fire from heaven and giving it to mortal men whom that jealous tyrant of the heaven and the earth had decided to destroy. The story expresses the spirit of revolt against the prohibition of jealous gods (and) embodies that love of action which incited Hercules to rid the earth of tyrants.

Art can fire up the imagination about the limitless possibilities of liberty – not only in the West but throughout the world and for all of humanity.

To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society began publishing in 2019 a series of weekly Appreciations of past winners on the Prometheus Blog, starting with our earliest Best Novel awards. See "A 40th Anniversary Retrospective: Introducing a Reader's Guide to the Prometheus Award Winners" with an overview of the diverse range of past winners.

As the Appreciations are published, links to those review-essays will be added below.

Prometheus Best Novel Award Winners

Past Prometheus Best Novel Nominees

Prometheus Hall of Fame Award Winners

Past Prometheus Hall of Fame Nominees

Special Award Winners


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