Robot rights, practical autonomy and character-driven comedy: An appreciation of Mark Stanley’s webcomic Freefall, the 2017 Special Prometheus Awardwinner

With this review-essay of the 2017 Special Prometheus Award winner, we complete the Appreciation series of past Prometheus winners, launched in 2019 with the Best Novel category, continued in 2020 with the Hall of Fame category and concluded* in 2022 with this final appreciation of our Special Prometheus Award-winners.

By William H. Stoddard

As the Libertarian Futurist Society began giving awards to works other than novels, one of the questions we faced was how to decide if a series was eligible.

It obviously wasn’t appropriate to give an award to an open-ended series, or to one that hadn’t been completed yet (though we might recognize a single volume, story, or episode). We were prepared to recognize a series that had been completed, such as Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. We also decided that we were prepared to recognize a bounded part of a series, such as one season of a television show. This decision proved applicable in 2017, when after nearly 20 years of publication, Mark Stanley announced that the first chapter of his webcomic Freefall had been completed with installment 2834.

Libertarian fiction’s philosophical or ideological content makes a lot of it serious, or even didactic, with characters discussing politics and economics in long speeches. Freefall, 2017 winner of a Special Prometheus Award, proved to be a happy exception.

Continue reading Robot rights, practical autonomy and character-driven comedy: An appreciation of Mark Stanley’s webcomic Freefall, the 2017 Special Prometheus Awardwinner

Author update: Other freedom-loving fiction by writer-songwriter Leslie Fish, a 2014 Prometheus winner

Anti-statist and anarchist themes frequently fill the stories, songs, books and other fiction by Leslie Fish, a 2014 Prometheus Award winner.

“Most of my fan fiction has subtle or blatant Anarchist themes,” Fish recently told the Libertarian Futurist Society.

So does her “fan-fic” novel “The Weight,” which is “pretty blatant,” she said.

Meanwhile, her sf/fantasy novel “Of Elven Blood,” published through Writers Of The Apocalypse Press and available on Amazon, is among her pro-published writings that have “subtle anti-statist themes,” Fish said.

That news will come as no surprise to the fans of Fish’s Darkover-inspired novella “Tower of Horses” and her related filk song “The Horsetamer’s Daughter.”

Together, Fish’s novella and the song that inspired it received the 2014 Special Prometheus Award – the first time that the award has recognized a song.

“That got me into the Darkover anthology series — which, alas, is now coming to an end,” Fish said.

Continue reading Author update: Other freedom-loving fiction by writer-songwriter Leslie Fish, a 2014 Prometheus winner