To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing review-essays of past award-winners that make clear why each winner deserves recognition as pro-freedom. Here is an Appreciation of H. Beam Piper and John McGuire’s A Planet for Texans (aka Lone Star Planet), inducted in 1999 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
By Eric S. Raymond
In 2021, H. Beam Piper’s 1957 novel A Planet For Texans (co-written with John McGuire) can seem like little more than an appealing and rather lightweight adventure romp.
That’s because today we read it already having a good idea of what a libertarian minarchy would be like, and Piper’s New Texas seems like another exercise in familiar tropes.
In 1957 it was something much more, a bold and even shocking thought experiment – because it was among the very first works to propose that what we now think of as a libertarian minarchy would not immediately degenerate into a Hobbesian war against all, but could in fact be a stable and just society.