Rush songwriter-drummer Neil Peart widely remembered for his libertarian idealism, individualism

The lifelong libertarian idealism of Neil Peart, the Rush songwriter-drummer who died Jan. 7 and whose passing the LFS noted in a previous blog, has been highlighted in several of the major media essays and obituaries that have followed his death at 67 after struggling privately for three years with cancer.

Neil Peart, Rush drummer and songwriter Credit: Creative Commons

In  a short note titled “Farewell to Rock’s Greatest Drummer (and Randian),” NR writer and New York Post columnist Kyle Smith offered high praise about the Canadian musician’s talent, positive ideas and legacy:

“Fan polls routinely agreed he was the greatest rock drummer of his time (or indeed of all time, I would argue, though some would go with Keith Moon). I’m not sure any rock track boasts drumming that can match Peart’s breathtaking work on the 1981 song “Tom Sawyer.”

Continue reading Rush songwriter-drummer Neil Peart widely remembered for his libertarian idealism, individualism

Neil Peart has died

Neil Peart behind his drumkit. (Creative Commons photo)

Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, 67, has died of brain cancer. The Rolling Stone obituary notes that Peart “was one of rock’s greatest drummers.”

Peart’s death comes as one of the band’s songs, “The Trees,” from the Hemispheres album, currently is listed as one of the five finalists this year for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.

Peart’s lyrics were influenced by Ayn Rand and the band was loved by many libertarians; see for example this posting by Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution. 

Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. It was obviously a well-deserved honor, as the band has been a staple of rock music and classic rock radio stations for many years.

 

Looking back at Prometheus Awards history: What happened at the first awards ceremony in 1979 in Los Angeles – and why it was controversial

Today marks nearly the end of a pivotal year marking the 40th anniversary of the Prometheus Awards, so it’s interesting to take a moment in 2019 and look back at the birth of the awards with the very first Prometheus Awards ceremony in 1979.
First envisioned and launched by sf writer L. Neil Smith, the Prometheus Award was first presented in 1979 in a high-profile ceremony at the year’s biggest Libertarian convention, which attracted several thousand people in Los Angeles.

Writer Robert Anton Wilson announced the winner – F. Paul Wilson’s sf mystery Wheels Within Wheels– after announcing three finalists, including Poul Anderson’s The Avatarand James P. Hogan’s The Genesis Machine.
Here’s a glimpse of how the event was covered in Frontlines, a leading libertarian-movement-news newsletter published by Reason magazine’s foundation:
“The first-ever Prometheus Award was presented for the best libertarian science fiction novel of 1978. The finalists were Poul Anderson’s The Avatar, James P. Hogan’s The Genesis Machine and F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels within Wheels. Robert Anton Wilson did the honors, on behalf of the Prometheus Award Committee (an independent group of libertarian sf fans, who contributed the award), presenting the $2,500 in gold to (no relation) F. Paul Wilson. The prize (which has already increased significantly in value) is the largest award for science fiction given anywhere in the world.”

Continue reading Looking back at Prometheus Awards history: What happened at the first awards ceremony in 1979 in Los Angeles – and why it was controversial

Videos: The 2019 Prometheus Award ceremony at the Worldcon in Dublin

The Prometheus Award this year went to Causes of Separation by Travis Corcoran, while the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award was won by “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The awards were presented at the 77th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Dublin, Ireland, August 15-19 2019, by two members of the Libertarian Futurist Society, Fred Moulton and John Christmas.
If you didn’t make it to the Worldcon, you can watch our (three) videos to witness the event.
Continue reading Videos: The 2019 Prometheus Award ceremony at the Worldcon in Dublin

Kickstarter launched for new Heinlein novel

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched for the new Heinlein novel, The Pursuit of the Pankera.

If you were planning to buy the ebook, you should probably go ahead and use the campaign to get an advance discount. For $7, you get the ebook when in comes out in March AND you get to vote on the final choice for the book cover from five different sketches from the “award winning artist” selected for the cover, says Shahid Mahmud of Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick.

Of course, there are more goodies if you make a bigger pledge.

Here is our earlier post on the project. Note that the title has been changed.

 

 

Brad Linaweaver has died

Brad Linaweaver (Creative Commons photo)

Libertarian science fiction writer Brad Linaweaver has died from cancer; he would have been 67 on Sunday. He was a two-time winner of the Prometheus Award and was known for Moon of Ice, his brilliant alternate-history novel expanded from a Nebula Award-nominated short story.
 Mike Glyer has an obituary posted at File 770. 

Championing cooperation over coercion: A Tor.com survey of some of the most intriguing sf, fantasy that finds alternatives to violence as the plot solution

Libertarian futurists champion peaceful, non-violent behavior over acts of aggression, whether committed by individuals, groups or governments.
In fact, modern libertarian political philosophy is based on the principle of non-aggression – coupled with self-ownership (and self-defense against aggression) as the core of property rights, the strongest and most practical base for all human rights, properly understood.
So it’s fascinating to read science fiction and fantasy that explores such themes.
In the latest issue of Tor.com, writer James Davis Nicoll surveys the sf/fantasy literature and offers several examples of works that fit that focus in “SFF Works In Which Violence is Not the Solution.”

Continue reading Championing cooperation over coercion: A Tor.com survey of some of the most intriguing sf, fantasy that finds alternatives to violence as the plot solution

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

Travis Corcoran accepts 2019 Prometheus Award for Causes of Separation

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.
Continue reading Travis Corcoran accepts 2019 Prometheus Award for Causes of Separation

R.I.P., Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman has died

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.
Continue reading R.I.P., Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman has died