The Prometheus Blog’s ongoing Appreciation series has reached a milestone -after two productive years of regularly published review-essays exploring and explaining the libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes of past Prometheus winners.
With the recent publication of an appreciative review-essay about the 2021 winner (F. Paul Wilson’s short story “Lipidleggin’), the appreciation series for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction is now complete – and conveniently accessible via links from our Prometheus Awards page.
Or at least it’s now as up-to-date as possible – until next year’s winner is announced.
The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, is publishing review-essays of all past award-winners that make clear why each deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work.
Here’s an appreciation for Robert Heinlein’s story “Coventry,” the 2017 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade-plus history and make clear why each winner deserves our recognition, the Libertarian Futurist Society has been publishing since 2019 a series of Appreciations of all past award-winners. Here is an Appreciation of Donald Kingsbury’s Courtship Rite, the 2016 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
As an opening epigraph in Glory Road, Robert Heinlein quotes some lines by Bernard Shaw that include the sentence “He is a barbarian, and thinks the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.” One of the things science fiction can do for its readers is to jar us out of such complacency, by portraying worlds with customs other than ours – not utopias or dystopias, but heterotopias, “other places.” Donald M. Kingsbury’s Courtship Rite is one of the great heterotopias.
Prometheus-winning author and scholar Victor Koman is leading a new project to digitize the papers and publications of Samuel Edward Konkin III (SEK3) for posterity.
Konkin, a libertarian philosopher and activist who led the “agorist” wing of the libertarian movement in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced quite a few libertarians and libertarian science fiction writers, such as the Prometheus Award winners J. Neil Schulman, Brad Linaweaver and Koman himself.
You can pay anything you want for The Number of the Beast (even free), and the new alternative version of the novel, The Pursuit of the Pankera (preferred by many Heinlein fans) is offered at a sale price of $5.99, instead of the usual $9.99. (The paper versions of Pankera also are on sale for a big discount).
Eleven novels have been nominated by Libertarian Futurist Society members for the 2021 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
These novels, published 2020, reflect a wide range of subjects, styles and settings – from the day after tomorrow to the distant future, and from right here on Earth to far-flung solar systems.
Yet, each novel in some way illuminates the value and meaning of freedom, explores the ethics and benefits of cooperation over coercion, and/or dramatizes the dangers of tyranny, aggression, war and authoritarianism in its myriad forms of the Left or Right.
The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, makes clear why each award-winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work.
Here’s an appreciation for “Requiem,” Robert Heinlein’s short story, the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
For a good 40 years – between 1957 and 1997 – the premise of Robert Heinlein’s 1940 short story “Requiem” looked dated and quaint, almost laughable. Private space programs? A tycoon flying to the moon? Absurd! For those were the decades in which everyone was sure that space programs had to be vast government-run leviathans.
The Old Man had the last laugh. In the new millennium government-run spaceflight is moribund; all the action is at companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. It is now the era of government-run-space programs that is beginning to look quaint, as the political will to push them evaporated with the end of Cold War competition in 1992.
But this story, and the related “The Man Who Sold The Moon”, resembles today’s reality in a way that is more than coincidence.
To celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear why winners deserve recognition as pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian works, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of all award-winners. Here’s an appreciation for The Survival of Freedom, edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, the 2001 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:
The Survival of Freedom was one of the first sf anthologies to explore the future of liberty.
It also has the distinction of being the first (and so far, only) anthology to be inducted (in 2001) into the Prometheus Hall of Fame. This broad awards category for classic fiction is open to any works first published, broadcast or staged more than 20 years ago and encompasses many types of fiction – including but not limited to novels, novellas, stories, plays, poems, songs, musicals, films, TV episodes, series, trilogies and anthologies.
Edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, the 1981 anthology of stories and essays is notable for its wide-ranging and sometimes surprising collection of material.
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.
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 a pro-freedom work.
Here’s an Appreciation of Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, inducted into the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
Who has time enough for Time Enough for Love? For starters, fans of Robert Heinlein do – despite the epic novel’s length.
So do freedom-lovers who understand that freedom itself is a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite for human flourishing, human happiness and the fulfillment possible in life largely through love, family, creativity and achievement.