Hall of Fame finalist review: “The Trees,” a fantasy-themed rock song by Rush, resonates as cautionary tale

By Michael Grossberg

Even though they’re eligible for nomination, no songs have ever been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

Neal Peart, Rush drummer and songwriter of “The Trees.” Credit: Creative Commons

I can’t imagine a good song more deserving of that honor, and that fits the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards better, than “The Trees,” a 1978 song by the Canadian rock group Rush.

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Check out the Atlas Society’s animated Atlas Shrugged video

Have you seen the Atlas Society’s animated video highlighting Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged?

The video, which has received more than 600,000 viewings on You Tube, is billed as the “first-of-its-kind book trailer for Rand’s masterpiece novel.”

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Best Novel finalist review: Gordon Hanka’s provocative God’s Girlfriend explores coercion, consent, masculinity, femininity and basic instincts

By Eric S. Raymond and Michael Grossberg

Subversive and satirical, God’s Girlfriend challenges some of the deepest assumptions of today’s politics and culture.

One of five 2024 Prometheus Best Novel finalists, Gordon Hanka’s provocative sci-fi novel raises thorny questions about ethics, religion, coercion and consent, the nature of masculinity and femininity and the use of weapons of mass destruction.

The 540-page novel offers a taboo-shattering mixture of unorthodox libertarian provocations and Christian eschatology amid a life-or-death clash of two cultures: Earth humans and Wyrms, human refugees from another planet.

Subtitled “Sci-Fi that should not be published,” the novel blends SF and fantasy tropes from spaceships and advanced weaponry to the apparently supernatural, including Jesus’ Second Coming.

The story revolves around the rising tensions, conflicts and increasing likelihood of nuclear war between Earth governments, desperate to preserve their power, and the Wyrms, genetically modified to resist disease and political-psychological control.

As the failing nation-states of Earth threaten nuclear apocalypse to wipe out the Outback-style beachhead of the Wyrms in Australia, all hell breaks loose. So does heaven, with the Second Coming of God in the unexpectedly modern form of Joshua, who has his own notions of good and evil and shifting ideas about which side should survive.

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Columnist Ed West on Eugene Zamyatin, author of the first classic dystopian novel of the 20th century

By Michael Grossberg

When it comes to the birth and development of dystopian literature, Russian dissident writer Eugene (Yevgeny) Zamyatin may have the dubious distinction of being one of the most overlooked novelists of that disturbingly timely and emerging 20th-century genre.

Zamyatin’s We was the first dystopian novel of the 20th century, helping to pave the way for others, most notably George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and Ayn Rand’s similarly-themed Anthem.

Yet, sadly, references to Zamyatin are rare in today’s culture, media and magazines.

So it’s nice to see an insightful column that not only mentions Zamyatin but offers revealing commentary about his fiction and places him within the historical and literary context of Russia in the early 1900s.

Continue reading Columnist Ed West on Eugene Zamyatin, author of the first classic dystopian novel of the 20th century

SF magazine explores the enduring themes of V for Vendetta

By Michael Grossberg

V for Vendetta is one of only a handful of fiction works that have received Prometheus recognition twice – first as a graphic novel, inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame, and second, as a feature film, which received a special Prometheus award.

So it’s nice to see a magazine article celebrating such popular art and exploring its resonant libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes.

Forty-two years after the initial publication of the graphic novel, Journey Planet 79, an online sf/fantasy journal, pays eloquent tribute to V for Vendetta and its creators: writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd.

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Several ways you can make a difference in the Prometheus Awards – including some less-obvious steps worth taking

By Michael Grossberg

Without the Libertarian Futurist Society and its members, the Prometheus Awards wouldn’t have survived for 45 years – and counting.

Prometheus, the light bringer (Creative Commons license)

 

Freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans have made a difference over the decades in three major ways: Through their continuing LFS memberships and support, by becoming active in the discovery and nominating process of our awards and ultimately, by reading the annual finalists and voting to choose the annual winners.

Yet, there are several less obvious but vital ways that LFS members (and others) can help enhance the awards process and help ensure that worthy potential contenders aren’t overlooked – especially in the annual Best Novel category, first presented in 1979.

Continue reading Several ways you can make a difference in the Prometheus Awards – including some less-obvious steps worth taking

Which sf/fantasy literary awards are the most worthwhile? (You might be surprised how high the Prometheus award ranks)

Naturally, the Prometheus Awards are important to Libertarian Futurist Society members and other freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.

Gold coins are used as prizes in the Prometheus Awards

But where does our award rank among other sf/fantasy literary awards in the considered opinion of leading sf/fantasy editors?

Prominent sf/fantasy novelist Charles Stross, who won the 2007 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Glasshouse, shared a private conversation with a top editor that actually ranks the Prometheus Award quite high.

Continue reading Which sf/fantasy literary awards are the most worthwhile? (You might be surprised how high the Prometheus award ranks)

Best Novel finalist review: Karl K. Gallagher’s Swim Among the People dramatizes heroic planetary resistance to an insidious totalitarian interstellar empire

By William H. Stoddard

Swim among the People, a 2024 Prometheus Best Novel finalist, is the fifth of six (so far) volumes in Karl K. Gallagher’s science fiction series The Fall of the Censorate.

The series as a whole begins when a merchant starship from a long isolated cluster of solar systems discovers a new route through hyperspace that leads to a much larger interstellar human civilization.

Continue reading Best Novel finalist review: Karl K. Gallagher’s Swim Among the People dramatizes heroic planetary resistance to an insidious totalitarian interstellar empire

Prometheus finalist Three Body Problem inspires two TV series with a classic sf “sense of wonder”

The Three-Body Problem, a 2015 Prometheus Best Novel finalist and landmark international bestseller by Chinese sf novelist Liu Cixin, has now inspired not one but two TV series worth watching.

Three Body, available free with Amazon Prime, is a 30-episode Chinese series. Netflix also has tackled its own TV-series adaptation of Cixin’s epic novel with a recent eight-episode first season.

Leading libertarian thinker Virginia Postrel has praised both TV series as good SF, along with the English translation of the novel.

“All three versions produce the sense of wonder that is science fiction’s—especially hard science fiction’s—traditional appeal. The stories take place on a grand scale and are propelled by mind-expanding scientific ideas,” Postrel wrote in her “Virginia’s Newsletter” Substack column on “3 Three Body Problems and the Appeal of Science Fiction.”

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Taibbi on Bradbury: How Fahrenheit 451 remains relevant and resonant today as a cautionary tale of lost liberty

By Michael Grossberg

Ray Bradbury envisioned in his classic novel Fahrenheit 451 a dystopian future of censorship and destruction of literature – a paradoxically chilling world in which firemen paradoxically don’t put out fires but set them to burn books.

However haunting in its literary power, Bradbury’s dystopian vision sadly may not be as widely referenced in popular culture these days as George Orwell’s widely quoted 1984 and Animal Farm or Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or perhaps even Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical story “Harrison Bergeron.”

All of the above works have been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame over the decades. Yet, not all are equally remembered and applauded as still-resonant cautionary tales with vital lessons that still should be heeded in the 21st century.

That’s why it’s a pleasure to report that Matt Taibbi, a prominent journalist and independent-minded columnist, has referenced Bradbury’s novel and poignant themes in a recent essay posted on his Racket News platform.

Continue reading Taibbi on Bradbury: How Fahrenheit 451 remains relevant and resonant today as a cautionary tale of lost liberty