Seize What’s Held Dear: Karl Gallagher’s Best Novel finalist explores cultural clash of customs, battle for freedom against novel interstellar tyranny

Note: This is the latest Prometheus-blog review of our 2022 Best Novel finalists, following previously posted reviews of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and Lionel Shriver’s Should We Stay Or Should We Go.

By William H. Stoddard

In Seize What’s Held Dear, the third volume of Karl Gallagher’s The Fall of the Censor series, the action returns to Corwynt, a planet controlled by the Censorate that the Fieran protagonists visited in the first volume. Much of the story develops in parallel tracks following the situation on the planet’s surface and the continuing struggle in space.

The primary conflict grows out of the Censorate’s basic rule that access to information is to be restricted as much as possible. In a fashion similar to China’s Qin Dynasty, access to historical works is prohibited, and their mere possession is a capital crime.

The result is a totalitarian society of a novel sort, different from those in classic dystopias. Fiera, the planet that opposes the Censorate after a hyperspatial route between them has reopened, has no such prohibition — and for that very reason the Censorate cannot tolerate its survival. Fiera doesn’t offer a model for a libertarian society, but it’s comparatively free and is struggling to preserve that freedom.

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Author update: Karl K. Gallagher continues writing his Fall of the Censor series

Author Karl K. Gallagher, a frequent Prometheus Awards nominee and Best Novel finalist, is keeping busy and catching up with an ambitious writing schedule – including a new novel just published: Captain Trader Helmsman Spy.

This is the fourth novel in the Fall of the Censor series for the Texas-based writer, currently a 2022 Best Novel finalist for two different novels (the second and third) in that series.

Captain Trader Helmsman Spy, published  May 9, 2022 by Kelt Haven Press, focuses on an exploratory mission to gather more information about the authoritarian Censorate in the ongoing series about a complex interstellar conflict between two long-separated but newly connected sets of human-colonized solar systems – one relatively free and peaceful, blending diverse cultures through mutual trade, and the other near-totalitarian in its murderous control of many planets and Orwellian cancellation of history and culture.

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Meet the author: Karl K. Gallagher, a double Best Novel finalist for Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear

For only the third time in the 43-year history of the Prometheus Awards, one author has been recognized twice within one year as a Best Novel finalist.

Author Karl K. Gallagher (Creative Commons license)

That’s Karl K. Gallagher, whose 2022 finalists include Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear, respectively the second and third novels in his Fall of the Censor series.

Continue reading Meet the author: Karl K. Gallagher, a double Best Novel finalist for Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear