Prometheus

Newsletter of the Libertarian Futurist Society

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Volume 29, Number 1, Fall 2010

Editorial: Whither Prometheus II?

The editorial in the previous issue generated some comments. Many more comments came in response to Phillip Salin’s review essay on Nevil Shute. Like many of the people who wrote me about Salin’s essay, I have long known of Shute, though in my case that knowledge was limited to the novel and movie A Town Like Alice. After reading the piece, I went through our bookshelves and discovered almost ten Shute books that we had acumulated over the years. Over the next few months I read several of these books, with many more still on the nightstand that I intend to read. Shute’s style lacks some of the key elements that I tend to prefer in a writer, and most of his stuff isn’t SF or fantasy, and instead falls into what I consider “literature of a bygone age,” one represented by pre-WWII British life (or at least the kind of fictionalized, romantic view of England between the wars, and shortly thereafter). Salin’s essay, and the response it generated, is the sort of stuff I’d love to see more of in Prometheus.

In this issue we have a gem—Karen Anderson’s long reminiscence of her husband Poul Anderson, in her acceptance letter for his Hall of Fame Award for the short story, “No Truce with Kings.” As a long-time fan of Anderson’s fiction and also fascinated by backstories around how writers conceive of their ideas and imagined worlds, this window into the world of Poul Anderson represents a remarkable opportunity. Few people outside the readership of this newsletter will experience this opportunity, unless Karen Anderson has written something similar elsewhere. The issue immediately following Worldcon remains my favorite issue for this reason—writers, editors, and those closest to the works of fiction that win the Prometheus Award say and write fascinating and illuminating statements about fiction and the art of writing. Statements that are found nowhere else, and so give us unique insights into the works we love, and the writers that we admire and enjoy reading.

Fred Moulton also gives us his regular and always entertaining insight in events at the science fiction Worldcon—this time from down under. We have a review of the first volumne of the very important new biography of Robert A. Heinlein. This book opens up whole new perspectives on what many might call the father of libertarian sf. I met James P. Hogan many years ago and interviewed him for Prometheus. Now I have the sad task of writing an obituary. I enjoyed many of Hogan’s novels and short stories.

Regarding the other issue that generated comments—my editorial in the last issue about the fate of the print edition of Prometheus. Undeniably the future points toward the web. Questions now revolve around timing and format. What makes the best sense in order to produce a quality newsletter and create value for those members and subscribers who currently finance the newsletter? Already someone has sensed a market opportunity and created an online libertarian review site, a sign that the print newsletter is a dying breed. Without long-time contributors such as Bill Stoddard, Fred Moulton, and others, this newsletter would not exist. I invite you, gentle reader, to join Prometheus as a contributor.

—Anders Monsen

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