Honoring Kurt Vonnegut for Harrison Bergeron: Hall of Fame acceptance speeches

Kurt Vonnegut’s cautionary fable “Harrison Bergeron” was inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame at the 2019 Worldcon in Dublin, Ireland – where acceptance statements by the late Vonnegut’s family and by the Vonnegut Museum and Library were read.

In ‘Harrison Bergeron,’ first published in 1961 in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vonnegut blends a satirical and tragic tone in depicting a dystopian future in the United States where constitutional amendments and a Handicapper General mandate that no one can be stupider, uglier, weaker, slower (or better) than anyone else. Vonnegut dramatizes the destruction of people’s lives and talents and the obliteration of basic humanity via a denial of emotions and knowledge that leaves parents unable to mourn a son’s death. ‘Harrison Bergeron’ exposes and mourns the chilling authoritarian consequences of radical egalitarianism taken to an inhuman and Orwellian extreme that denies individuality, diversity and the opportunity to excel.

The sons and daughters of Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) sent a short statement, in the wry self-deprecating spirit of their father, which was read at the ceremony:
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Travis Corcoran accepts Prometheus Award

Travis Corcoran holds up  his Prometheus Award. 

 

Here is the acceptance speech by Travis Corcoran for 2019 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Causes of Separation.  (Corcoran could not attend the Dublin Worldcon but wrote this acceptance speech to be read there at the ceremony.)

I would like to thank the LFS for this year’s award, but more generally, I’d like to thank them for existence of the Prometheus award, all forty years of it. It’s good that our subculture has a long-lived award to recognize excellent science fiction, especially pro-liberty science fiction.

But the Prometheus award is not merely recognition, it’s an incentive!

In fact, I might not have written my novels without the Prometheus to aim for. But the Prometheus is not a financial incentive. The one-ounce gold coin on the plaque is nice, but neither I nor any of the other winners over 40 years would ever trade or sell it, and thus – ironically – it has no financial value.
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R.I.P., Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman

Very sad news: The Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman, a veteran libertarian activist for decades, has died Aug. 10, 2019.

Schulman most recently was recognized for his surreal semi-autobiographical novel The Fractal Man, a 2019 Prometheus Award finalist for Best Novel.

Schulman wrote scripts for episodes of The Twilight Zone and wrote and directed several independent films, including most recently an adaptation of his Prometheus-winning novel Alongside Night.
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