Abuse of power, violence, liberty, gaming and virtual reality: An Appreciation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, the 2012 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel

To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear what makes each winner deserve recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is presenting weekly Appreciations of past award-winners.

Here’s the latest Appreciation for Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, the other 2012 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:

By Chris Hibbert

Ready Player One
, Ernest Cline’s bestselling first novel, takes place mostly inside a virtual reality/MMORPG, though as usual with the recent spate of books in this genre, the action bleeds back and forth with physical reality.

The setting is pretty familiar: it’s 2044, and the economy has bifurcated into haves and have-nots, and most people seem to spend the bulk of their time in the OASIS.

James Halliday, the billionaire founder of the company that runs the OASIS has died, and has set up a contest inside the system that will determine who gets his company shares, his wealth, and control of the OASIS itself. It turns out Halliday was hugely into eighties trivia, and most of the story involves the main character, Parzival, and his on-line friends finding and devouring movie, music, video game, and science fiction trivia from that decade. If you’re not averse to geeking out on this stuff, it’s a fun romp.
Continue reading Abuse of power, violence, liberty, gaming and virtual reality: An Appreciation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, the 2012 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel

Personal identity, liberty, gender and power: An Appreciation of Charles Stross’ Glasshouse, the 2007 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel

Introduction: To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society began celebrating in 2019, and to make clear what libertarian futurists saw in each of our past winners that made them deserve recognition as pro-freedom sf/fantasy, we’re continuing in 2020 to present a series of weekly Appreciations of Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our first category for Best Novel.

Here’s the latest Appreciation for Charles Stross’ Glasshouse, the 2007 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:

Charles Stross’ 2006 novel explores themes of ubiquitous State surveillance and the struggle of individuals to survive in the face of severe pressure to conform.

Set in a distant future and taking place in the same universe as Stross’ novel Accelerando, though at a much later point in its history, Glasshouse revolves around un-rehabilitated war criminals using every tool at their disposal to build a society that they can control absolutely.

At the center of the story, set in the 27th century when interstellar travel is by teleport gate, is Robin, an ex-spy who wakes up in a clinic with most memories missing. Soon, he realizes that he’s a demobilized soldier from a civil war that’s ended, and that someone is trying to kill him because of something that his earlier self knew.

Pursued by a dangerous enemy and desperate to find somewhere to hide, the post-human Robin volunteers to participate in the Glasshouse, an experimental simulation of a pre-accelerated culture in which participants are assigned anonymized identities.

Continue reading Personal identity, liberty, gender and power: An Appreciation of Charles Stross’ Glasshouse, the 2007 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel