Nerds, jocks and sf fans: LFS/Reason panelists explore why some people embrace libertarian ideas (and why some don’t)

Contrary to some perceptions, science fiction fans – and paradoxically, both nerds and jocks – are more likely to come to appreciate the benefits of freedom and voluntary cooperation and more often begin to see the dangerous defects in authoritarian systems of the Left or Right.

That insight was one of the richer and more unexpected subjects explored by prominent panelists during a recent Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussion.

With Reason magazine as the media sponsor, the online panel followed the 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony, in which Barry B. Longyear and F. Paul Wilson won awards.

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L. Neil Smith memorial site set up

L. Neil Smith’s family has set up a memorial website; go there to see photos, memories, etc. Smith died on August 27; see our tribute. 

The above photo from the site shows Smith, left, with another person at the 2004 Freedom Summit in Phoenix. Cathy Smith asks, “Can anyone identify the gentleman that Neil is pictured with?”

Would anyone like to help?

 

Liberty, power and sf: Highlights and video of 2021 Prometheus Awards and “SF & Liberty” panel with Reason editors, Barry Longyear, LFS president

“For me, there’s something that science fiction has always been the vehicle for thinking about: What would the world be like if different or fewer people had power? That’s an idea that’s increasingly appealing.”
— Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor-in-Chief of Reason magazine

“Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe anyone who has received a Prometheus award has complained about the Prometheus awards. I know some leftwing authors who have received a Prometheus award who are proud of it. They seem to realize that there is something appropriate to it.”
— Jesse Walker, Reason books editor

“I have all sorts of immortality stories, and I’m afraid I’m not in one of them.”
— Novelist Barry B. Longyear, 2021 Prometheus winner for Best Novel

“I like to think the boundaries of what people see as libertarian ideas is blurring into the boundaries of what people perceive as just good mainstream ideas… and that may be a hopeful turn.”
– Mangu-Ward

Those are just a few of the interesting or amusing comments made during the related panel discussion on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards” that followed the 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony.

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R.I.P., L. Neil Smith: Sf writer, best known for libertarian classic The Probability Broach, leaves a lasting legacy of liberty-loving sf adventure

Libertarian science fiction writer L. Neil Smith has died, leaving a legacy of high-spirited libertarian sf adventure and of the Prometheus Award itself.

L. Neil Smith (Creative Commons photo)

Smith, who died at 75 on Aug. 27, 2021 in Fort Collins, Colo., is best known for his explicitly libertarian novel The Probability Broach and its rambunctious alternate-history sequels in his The North American Confederacy series.

During his writing career from the 1970s into the 2010s, Smith wrote 31 books, including 29 novels, and many essays and short stories.

Quite a few of his works were nominated for Prometheus Awards because of their freewheeling adventure, sense of humor, imaginative alternate-reality scenarios and strong libertarian/individualist themes.

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“A beacon of libertarian freedom” – Barry Longyear’s acceptance speech for The Hook, the 2021 Prometheus winner for Best Novel

What is freedom?
How can we achieve it?
How can we defend it?

Veteran sf novelist Barry B. Longyear, winner of the 2021 Prometheus Award for Best Novel, discussed those questions in his acceptance speech, which he delivered Aug. 21 during the Libertarian Futurist Society’s online 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony.

Here is the transcript of Longyear’s speech, which discusses his 2021 winner, The Hook, Book Five of The War Whisperer:

By Barry B. Longyear

On behalf of The Hook, Book 5 of The War Whisperer, I thank the members of the Libertarian Futurist Society for their Prometheus Award.

The seven volumes of The War Whisperer are, essentially, a fictionalized think-and-do on human freedom: What it is, how it works, how to achieve it, and how to defend it.

The first four volumes, through the eyes of Jerome Track, show what the problems are as well as presenting and absorbing the elements of the solution.

In Book 5: The Hook, is at last that beacon of libertarian freedom and one possible answer to the charge that has, up until now, always led the libertarian argument down paths of compromise or fantasy: How does a society that forbids the initiation of coercive force defend itself against military invasion?

That is the libertarian hook.

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Banning trans fats and “food that tastes good” – F. Paul Wilson’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech for ‘Lipidleggin”

Here is F. Paul Wilson’s acceptance speech for winning the 2021 Prometheus Award for Best Classic Fiction (the Hall of Fame) for his short story “Lipidleggin'”, which he delivered Aug. 21, 2021, during the online ceremony for the 41st annual Prometheus Awards:

By F. Paul Wilson

Many thanks to the members of the Libertarian Futurist Society for this honor.

I’ll be brief.  (“Lipidleggin’” is a short story, after all.)

Back in the 1970s, a national health care system was a major political topic.  (Some things never change, do they?)  So I asked the next question: If the State is paying for your health care, won’t the State demand a say in behaviors that it considers hazardous to your health?  Like, oh, say, banning saturated fats?

So, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, I wrote this little cautionary tale about a day when foods with saturated fats – such as butter and eggs – would be banned by the government.  I mean, I saw how it could happen, but never for a moment did I believe it would happen.  Not in a free country like our good old U.S. of A.

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Watch online the 2021 Prometheus Awards and post-ceremony panel on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends…”

Don’t forget to watch the free online 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony and LFS-Reason panel Saturday.

This is a rare opportunity to watch one of the annual Prometheus Awards program live, via Zoom. (The free link is posted below.)

Barry B. Longyear, the 2021 Prometheus Best Novel winner (Courtesy of author)

First up will be a relatively short awards ceremony, followed immediately by a panel discussion, with Reason magazine as the media sponsor and two Reason editors as panelists, on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards.”

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In praise of Ray Bradbury: Let’s continue to read the Prometheus-winning author before the “firemen” come, The Spectator warns

By Michael Grossberg

Ray Bradbury, a soulful romantic and ardent lover of American civil liberties, was one of the most celebrated American writers of the 20th century.

Ray Bradbury in 1975 (Creative Commons license)

Perhaps best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, one of the earliest and most deserving works inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame, and the many film and TV versions of his stories and novels, Bradbury continues to rank high in the pantheon of the greatest short-story writers and leading golden-age sci-fi/fantasy authors.

Yet, how long might his well-deserved reputation as a storyteller last amid the dismaying anti-liberal and authoritarian worldwide trends of the early 21st century?

A just-published essay in The Spectator, a British weekly magazine on politics, culture and current affairs, asks that worrisome question – while also making a powerful case for Bradbury as an enduring writer and champion of liberty.

Continue reading In praise of Ray Bradbury: Let’s continue to read the Prometheus-winning author before the “firemen” come, The Spectator warns

Prometheus winner Barry Longyear, Reason magazine editors, and LFS president to discuss book publishing trends, sf, liberty and the libertarian movement on Zoom panel at 2021 awards ceremony

How is technology expanding book publishing and alternative fiction, a trend reflected more strongly than ever in this year’s slate of Best Novel finalists for the Prometheus Award?

What’s the historic relationship among science fiction, liberty and the libertarian movement-and is that changing?

What are the challenges and pitfalls of balancing artistic merit in fiction and awards with ideology and positive social values?

Barry B. Longyear (Courtesy of author)

How do this year’s Prometheus winners – Longyear’s The Hook and F. Paul Wilson’s satirical story “Lipidleggin’” – explore the value of individual freedom and human rights, champion cooperation over coercion, dramatize the perennial tensions between liberty and power and/or expose the evils of tyranny, slavery and other abuses of unchecked government power?

All these questions will be discussed Saturday afternoon Aug. 21 during the 41st annual Prometheus Awards ceremony in a free post-ceremony Zoom panel discussion, with Reason magazine as media sponsor.

Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward and Reason book editor Jesse Walker will join award-winning author Barry B. Longyear and Libertarian Futurist Society president William H. Stoddard in the post-ceremony panel discussion (for free access, see Zoom link below) on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards.”

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Prometheus laureate Victor Koman inaugurates The Agorist Archives of Samuel Edward Konkin III

Prometheus-winning author and scholar Victor Koman is leading a new project to digitize the papers and publications of Samuel Edward Konkin III (SEK3) for posterity.

Konkin, a libertarian philosopher and activist who led the “agorist” wing of the libertarian movement in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced quite a few libertarians and libertarian science fiction writers, such as the Prometheus Award winners J. Neil Schulman, Brad Linaweaver and Koman himself.

Sam Konkin at a convention. Photo by Victor Koman

 

Continue reading Prometheus laureate Victor Koman inaugurates The Agorist Archives of Samuel Edward Konkin III