Prometheus Awards 40th anniversary panel set with F. Paul Wilson, LFS leaders, for online-only New Zealand Worldcon; Sarah Hoyt and Wilson to lead LFS panel and awards ceremony at North American Science Fiction Convention

The Libertarian Futurist Society will raise its visibility online and around the world this summer with events and Prometheus-winning speakers and LFS leaders at both the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) and the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC).

Everything will take place safely during these “virtual cons,” set up to protect online participants and viewers during the pandemic – which means that LFS members and the public will be able to watch, participate and ask questions from the comfort of their own homes via computers, smart TVs, tablets or smart phones.

WORLDCON PROMETHEUS PANEL
Bestselling, Prometheus-winning novelist F. Paul Wilson (An Enemy of the State, Sims, Healer, Wheels within Wheels, Repairman Jack series) will headline the LFS’ Worldcon panel on “Freedom in SF: Forty Years of the Prometheus Award.”

Celebrating the recent 40thanniversary of the awards, the Worldcon panel will explore the distinctive focus and impressive track record of the many diverse winners of one of the oldest continuing fan-based awards in the sf/fantasy field after the Hugo and Nebula awards.

(To find out who has won the 2020 Prometheus Awards, read the LFS press release posted on the LFS website.)

Wilson, the first author to win a Prometheus Award in 1979, will join journalists and LFS officers Tom Jackson and Michael Grossberg on the virtual Zoom-platform panel, set for 10 p.m. Saturday Aug. 1 (Eastern Daylight Time; equivalent to 2 p.m. Sunday Aug. 1 NZST New Zealand time).

F. Paul Wilson. Photo credit courtesy of author

The 78th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as CoNZealand, was scheduled to take place in person July 29 to Aug. 2 2020, in Wellington, New Zealand, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced in March that it would be a “virtual” con.

Thus, the entire ConZealand multi-track weekend of panel discussions, workshops, Hugo awards, Retro Hugo awards, Virtual Masquerade, fan parties, and special events has been transformed into a virtual-reality convention.

Mercedes Lackey (Heralds of Valedemar, Magic’s Pawn, Bedlam’s Bard books) and Larry Dixon (Lackey’s husband, an artist and co-writer of her The Mage Wars trilogy and Owl trilogy) are the Author Guests of Honor, with George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) as Toastmaster, and Greg Broadmore as Artist Guest of Honor.

Viewers online (through Zoom and other online platforms) must be registered ConZealand members, who have the right through July 22 to vote on the Hugo Awards and the bids by Chicago and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to host the 2022 Worldcon. For more information on registrations and the full ConZealand convention schedule, visit conzealand.nz


LFS PANEL, AWARDS CEREMONY AT NASFiC
Meanwhile, looking farther ahead, the LFS will present a two-part program during the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC), originally set to run in person Aug. 20-23 in Columbus, Ohio.

Because of safety concerns during the pandemic, NASFiC leaders have switched their convention to virtual reality, with plans for a program running Friday through Sunday (Aug. 21-23) using the Zoom platform.

The LFS two-part program will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 22, and will be free to all online viewers.

First, the Prometheus Awards 2020 ceremony will be presented (1-1:30 p.m. Aug. 22), with F. Paul Wilson presenting the Best Novel category and Sarah Hoyt (Darkship Thieves) presenting the Hall of Fame category for Best Classic Fiction.

Writer Sarah Hoyt. (Creative Commons license)

Prometheus judges and LFS board members Tom Jackson and Michael Grossberg will moderate and introduce the ceremony with brief descriptions of the awards 40-year track record and distinctive focus.

Immediately following the 2020 Prometheus Awards ceremony, as a continuation of the same Zoom program, will be a NASFiC and LFS panel discussion on “Visions of SF, Liberty, Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards over Four Decades, from F. Paul Wilson and Robert Heinlein to Today.”

Headlining the panel will be Sarah Hoyt, who won the 2011 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Darkship Thieves (the first novel in her Prometheus-nominated Darkship series), and F. Paul Wilson, who in 2015 became the third sf writer to receive the Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement and who last won an annual Prometheus Award in 2004 for Sims.

Journalist Tom Jackson will moderate the panel, which will include LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg and LFS president William H. Stoddard. All three serve as annual Prometheus-finalist judges, with Stoddard chairing the Hall of Fame finalist-selection committee and Grossberg chairing the Best Novel finalist-selection committee.

How have our visions of a free, dynamic and better future, with universal respect for individual rights, evolved and changed in science fiction/fantasy – from L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach and J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night to the libertarian asteroid colony in  Hoyt’s Darkship Thieves?  What libertarian/classical-liberal lessons have we learned, meanwhile, from the many cautionary dystopian visions that have been published increasingly in the past century, from Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm to Doctorow’s Little Brother? Such questions, and such Prometheus-winning novels, will be explored in the NASFiC panel discussion.

The Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between Liberty and Power. Such works have critiqued or satirized authoritarian trends, exposed abuses of power by the institutionalized coercion of the State, championed cooperation over coercion as the roots of civility and social harmony, and upheld individual rights and freedom for all as the only moral and practical foundation for peace, prosperity, progress, justice, tolerance, mutual respect, universal human flourishing and civilization itself.

LFS/PROMETHEUS PANELIST BIOS
• Sarah Hoyt is an American science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction writer. After moving to the United States in the early 1980s, and becoming a U.S. citizen in 1988, she began writing under her own name and under the noms de plume Sarah D’Almeida, Elise Hyatt, Sarah Marques, Laurien Gardner  and Sarah Marques de Almeida Hoyt.

Sarah Hoyt at an sf convention (Creative Commons license)

Hoyt won the 2011 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for her science fiction novel Darkship Thieves, the first in a future-history series of novels set within our solar system and including a libertarian anarchist society in the asteroids. She also won the 2018 Dragon Award for Best Alternate History Novel for Uncharted, co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson.

• F. Paul Wilson, a Grand Master Horror award-winner and Prometheus Award Lifetime Achievement winner, has written over 60 books spanning science fiction, horror, adventure, medical thrillers, young-adult, etc. – including the Prometheus Award winners Wheels within Wheels, an sf murder mystery; Sims; Healer; and An Enemy of the State.
Wilson, who sold his first story to Analog in 1970 and has 8 million books in U.S. print, is best known as creator of the urban mercenary Repairman Jack (featured in his latest novel The Last Christmas). Among his New York Times bestsellers: The Keep (also a 1983 Paramount film), The Tomb, Harbingers, By the Sword, The Dark at the End, and Nightworld.

• William H. Stoddard is a copy editor specializing in scientific and scholarly publications.

William H. Stoddard (File photo)

He has written more than two dozen GURPS supplements for Steve Jackson Games, beginning with GURPS Steampunk in 2000, which won an Origins Award for best roleplaying supplement.

Stoddard is the president of the Libertarian Futurist Society, and many of his essays and reviews have appeared on its Prometheus blog (http://lfs.org/blog/).

• Tom Jackson is a newspaper reporter for The Sandusky Register who has also worked as a reporter in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Oklahoma. He writes a blog, RAWIllumination.net, devoted to writers Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea (Prometheus Hall of Fame winners for The Illuminates trilogy).

Tom Jackson with his cat Neko (Photo courtesy of Jackson)

Tom has been active in fandom for years, contributing to fanzines, attending conventions and participating in the apas APA-50 and FAPA. He is a member of the board of the Libertarian Futurist Society (lfs.org), which presents the Prometheus Award, and serves as a judge on the Prometheus Award nominating committee.

• Michael Grossberg co-founded the Libertarian Futurist Society, established in 1982 to sustain the Prometheus Awards, and chairs the Prometheus Awards Best Novel Finalist Judging Committee, which selects annual slates of finalistsA journalist since the mid-1970s and a theater/arts critic, feature writer and arts reporter since the early 1980s, Michael has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook, and an essay/afterword for the first paperback edition of J. Neil Schulman’s Prometheus-winning novel The Rainbow Cadenza.

Michael Grossberg (File photo)

Michael has written reviews for Reason magazine; wrote a regional column for years with Backstage, the national performing-arts weekly; and has helped over two decades to lead the American Theatre Critics Association, including administering its national new-play and regional-Tony awards and producing its two most successful conventions in Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays and in Las Vegas. Michael won the 2019 Society of Professional Journalists awards for Best Critic in Ohio (also won in 2015) and Best Arts Reporting (won seven times).

Admission and viewing will be open to the public for the LFS programs and NASFiC events. For more information, visit columbus202nasfic.org

The LFS, which has presented the Prometheus Awards since 1982, is a non-profit tax-exempt organization of freedom-loving science fiction fans who believe cultural change is as vital as political change in achieving a fully free future and universal human rights for all. For more information, visit the rest of the LFS website.

* Coming up soon on the Prometheus Blog: 
News of our 2020 Prometheus Awards winners, plus the next Appreciation in the second phase of our series, now focused on the Prometheus Hall of Fame category for Best Classic Fiction.

* Read the introductory essay about the LFS’ 40th anniversary retrospective series of Appreciations of past Prometheus Awards winners, with an overview of the awards’ four-decade history.

* Other Prometheus winners: For a full list of winners – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the recently updated and enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website.

* Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.

Published by

Mike Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been a writer, arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Most recently, Michael won the 2019 Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio (for theater reviews) and Best Arts Reporting (which he’s won seven times). He's written for Reason and Libertarian Review magazines, was a regional columnist for years for Backstage weekly, helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword/essay for the first paperback edition of J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among the books he recommends to inform a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

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