Newsletter of the Libertarian Futurist Society
Congrats, as always, on another fine issue of Prometheus! I especially liked the the article on Nevil Shute, which was a surprise and a delight. Like most people, I knew him only through On the Beach, which I had read in high school back in the late 1950’s.
On the first day of Senior English, our teacher asked each person in turn what they had read in the way of literature. When she got to me, I said, “On the Beach by Nevil Shute and 23 volumes of Tom Swift Junior.” The class grew quiet as she stared silently at me, finally uttering, “Well, I didn’t know you were illiterate.” A few brave souls squelched snickers, and even I grinned sheepishly. I never got a chance to explain to her that mild dyslexia had slowed my reading rate, making reading a chore; I was already in middle school when I discovered scifi, which finally hooked me on reading.
Anyway, your discovery of this 20+ year old piece is a boon. I am trying to select books for my British Lit students to read, books which will at least indirectly paint an attractive picture of liberty and individualism. So far, 1984 and Night Watch are the only ones I’ve put on my list (any ideas you have will be appreciated). Thanks to you I learn that Shute had many other works and that they have a sense of life akin to objectivism. I’m going to read a few and see if they will be suitable for my list!
P.S. — I much appreciated your review of Escape From Terra. Among other things, your observation that “some of the pages almost pack too much,” hit home. Roswell, Texas suffered a similar burden. Apparently controlling narrative flow must be handled differently in novels vs. graphic novels.
I must say, it was a jolt of alarm to me, to get my first issue of this newsletter, and see an editorial wondering whether or not to discontinue it. I was (and am) looking forward to Libertarian science fiction to read, and hope that my adventure with your fine newsletter does not end before it begins. But if what you need is submissions, I can gladly supply them. The only problem, I fear, is that I don’t think I am paid enough money to qualify as a contributor. But if needs must, that can be remedied!
On another note, I had discovered Escape from Terra independently a few months ago, and while it’s libertarian flair did appeal to me, it seems to be spread so thin that I cannot keep grasp of it. More of an anthology than a cohesive storyline. But I would not dissuade others from reading it; after all, we need all the help we can get.
I am reading the Phil Salin article on Nevil Shute. I worked with Phil on the AMEX project years ago.
And I am a huge Nevil Shute fan. I have read nearly all his novels and some many times.
Have you seen the Australian miniseries A Town Like Alice? It is great, but still not on DVD for some reason.
I vote for Prometheus being online. If you produce a pdf file, you can still offer to mail a print version, and in color, for some amount.
I prepared this page when a new edition of Shute paperbacks came out:
They went out of print quickly and some of the copies I have are listed on Amazon for high prices.
Now new editions are coming out and they look nice.
One of my all-time favorite print magazines was Omni.
When they ceased publication and went to a strictly online existence I never saw or read it again.
I am confident there is not enough money in the world to compensate you for the time you spend putting Prometheus together. But I can tell you this. Before I got to your editorial, I read every word of Phillip Salin’s “Novelist of achievement.” It was absolutely terrific. I would never have known of Nevil Shute had it not been for your publishing his essay.
I, for one, can guarantee that I would never have spent the time reading said essay off some website. Moreover, my wife, who is a professor of English, latched onto the essay right away and took it into her night class and read pieces from it. I photocopied it for my son, who is a Captain in the US Air Force and will be fascinated to read of Mr. Shute’s brilliant career as an engineer. My daughter who is an accomplished screenplay writer wants to read some of Shute’s work as well.
Thanks for this latest issue. The lead article is a fascinating piece. I only knew of Shute from On the Beach, which I have not read. But the catalog of his other works is very impressive. The familiarity with the material of Mr. Salin is even more impressive. As I read this, I realize that I was rather honored to have a few of my pieces see printed in Prometheus. I thank you for including me.
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