“Columbus sailed west for spices – and came back with Boulder Dam, Detroit and the Empire State Building. Every great new adventure of the human race has produced totally unexpected new profits,” he wrote in a 1947 letter, which the Heinlein Prize Trust’s primary trustee Art Dula shared recently with the LFS.
“The same inquisitive, questing, practical spirit that crossed the plains and conquered the air will turn up new wrinkles to make space and space flight pay,” Heinlein wrote in the letter, which Dula read from and commented on recently during the 43rd annual Prometheus awards ceremony.
“But what of that. You and I would go if there were never any dollar-and-cents reward in it. There is the greatest reason of all – the itch to go take a look.”
Art Dula, primary trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust, spoke eloquently about the life and legacy of Robert Heinlein during the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
During his acceptance speech for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Heinlein’s story “Free Men,” Dula read excerpts from – and commented on – one of the Grand Master’s most interesting but little-known letters, written over several months but completed Feb. 27, 1947.
“It’s a remarkable early document in Heinlein’s life,” Dula said.
J.R.R. Tolkien, widely hailed as the father of the resurgent “high fantasy” of the modern era, died 50 years ago today.
Tolkien, who passed at 81 on Sept. 2, 1973, is remembered by Ed West, who writes about Tolkien’s legacy and increasing influence today in his timely Substack column Wrong Side of History.
With Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings having been inducted in 2009 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction, LFS members certainly remember and admire Tolkien.
But in his striking and thought-provoking column, West praises Tolkien in extraordinary ways – perhaps even more highly than do libertarians, who admire the British author for the mythic world-building, rich storytelling and poignant themes of his cautionary libertarian fable about the inevitable temptations and corruptions of absolute power.
West goes so far as to call Tolkien “the most important creative mind of the modern age.”
John Tilden, president of The Heinlein Society, spoke Aug. 19 during the 2023 Prometheus Awards ceremony to accept the Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction for Robert Heinlein’s short story “Free Men.”
Tilden spoke eloquently about Heinlein’s legacy in general and about the setting and themes of his winning story in particular, while shedding some fascinating light on its provenance and place in Heinlein’s Future History series.
For the record, here is a transcript of Tilden’s speech:
BY JOHN TILDEN
It is my pleasure to provide a few remarks on this occasion of Robert Heinlein’s short story “Free Men” being inducted into the Prometheus Award’s Hall of Fame. I add my thanks to the Libertarian Futurist Society for this honor.
You can’t get away from it these days, for good or ill.
Just about anywhere you look, from mainstream newspapers and magazines to Substack blogs and social-media references, writers, columnists and commentators frequently are referencing classic novels, stories and fables to forge timely metaphors about today’s trends.
All too many prove to be cautionary warnings about the importance of telling the truth, in the midst of so many public falsehoods… and draw upon some of the most enduring Prometheus-winning works of fiction, from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Australian writer Dave Freer had some interesting thoughts about the Greek God Prometheus and Robert Heinlein after learning that his novel Cloud-Castles has won the 2023 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
“According to Aeschylus, (Prometheus) caused blind hope to live in the hearts of men (a goal of my writing if ever had one),” Freer wrote in “Prometheus Bound,” his latest post on the Mad Genius Club blog.
“A trickster who stole fire from the gods for man and pushed them towards science and technology, as well deceiving the powers-that-be (Zeus) of the day, into choosing the rubbish which looks good on the outside, instead of the good that looks rubbish on the outside… he’s my sort of guy,” Freer said.
Quite a few writers have won more than one Prometheus award since the awards were launched in the 1970s, but nobody has won more than the late great Robert Heinlein.
Libertarian Futurist Society members proved anew how much they remain ardent fans of Heinlein (1907-1988) by voting his 1966 novelette “Free Men” the 2023 Best Classic Fiction winner and thereby inducting it into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.
That marks the ninth novel, novelette or story by Heinlein to be recognized with a Prometheus Award – a record.
Arc Manor is venture testing a new approach to sf publishing in cooperation with a number of publishers and authors – including several recognized via the Prometheus Awards.
Arc Manor, best known to LFS members as the sf publisher of Prometheus winners Robert Heinlein and L. Neil Smith, is gearing up for Book Bale, its new download-books subscription program, with a special July discount.