Billionaire blogger Bill Gates gives a thumbs up to a 2022 Best Novel finalist

By Michael Grossberg

Billionaire blogger Bill Gates is highlighting a Prometheus Best Novel finalist  among his favorite books of the year.

On the book page of Gates’ blog, he’s currently recommending Klara and the Sun, by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro.

Almost all the books Gates recommends on his blog are non-fiction, but occasionally a novel pops up – such as Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow or David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (an epic sf/fantasy perhaps best known for the ambitious film version of its multi-era reincarnation saga.)

To my mind, that makes Gates’ rare thumb ups for works of fiction – especially when they fall into the genre of science fiction – even more notable and worth mentioning.
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Klara and the Sun: Ishiguro’s Best Novel finalist offers hauntingly ambiguous tragedy about unrecognized agency, awareness and rights

By Michael Grossberg

The sympathetic character at the center of Klara and the Sun is profoundly human in her caring, determination, curiosity, loyalty and observant intelligence.

And yet, Klara is an artificial being, an android branded and sold as an Artificial Friend in Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel, one of five 2022 Prometheus Best Novel finalists.

Set a generation or two into the future and strictly told from the highly limited point of view of Klara, the novel never fully answers the question of whether Klara has achieved full self-awareness (and thus should be treated as a person with rights.)

Yet, Ishiguro carefully drops enough clues and hints to make Klara and the Sun both a tantalizingly ambiguous mystery about the threshold of full consciousness and a haunting meta-libertarian parable about the foundations of rights and the tragedy that can occur when basic “humanity” and basic rights go unrecognized.

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Struggles for freedom and space exploration in a distant future of artificial intelligences dominating humans: An Appreciation of Poul Anderson’s The Stars Are Also Fire, the 1995 Prometheus Best Novel winner

To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society began celebrating in 2019, we are continuing our series of weekly Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our first category for Best Novel.

Here’s our latest Appreciation for Poul Anderson’s The Stars Are Also Fire, the 1995 Prometheus Best Novel winner:

Poul Anderson’s 1994 novel offers a thought-provoking scenario in a distant future in which man-made artificial intelligences have come to dominate human beings, while many people still struggle for freedom and independence in a new era of space exploration.

The point of view of The Stars Are Also Fire alternates frequently over five centuries between an early 21st-century era of occupation of Earth’s moon and later Earth/moon conflicts as genetically-altered-human Lunarians seek independence from Earth’s World Federation and Peace Authority.
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