Prometheus-winning author and scholar Victor Koman is leading a new project to digitize the papers and publications of Samuel Edward Konkin III (SEK3) for posterity.
Konkin, a libertarian philosopher and activist who led the “agorist” wing of the libertarian movement in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced quite a few libertarians and libertarian science fiction writers, such as the Prometheus Award winners J. Neil Schulman, Brad Linaweaver and Koman himself.
Konkin named his free-market, anti-war, anti-imperialism, anti-statist and anti-political philosophy Agorism. Through his books, magazines, lectures and writings and publications, he influenced not only a generation of libertarian science-fiction authors but also a growing generation of crypto-entrepreneurs (or cryptopreneurs) and anarcho-capitalists.
Konkin (1947-2004), who was born in Canada but spent his post-graduate life in America, wrote New Libertarian Manifesto, An Agorist Primer and Counter-Economics and published New Libertarian Notes (1971-1975), New Libertarian Weekly (1975-1978) and finally New Libertarian magazine (1978-1990.)
The last issue of the magazine was devoted to Prometheus Hall-of-Famer Robert A. Heinlein and featured a full-color cover portrait of Heinlein by D. Bruce Berry (inks) and Tom Luth (color.)
“Sam was a libertarian visionary who saw, back in 1978, the importance of an encrypted counter-economy,” Konkin said, and thus foresaw the rise of digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
Perhaps the best-known sf novel reflecting Konkin’s agorist vision of a better and freer future is J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night, which applied an Agorist framework to a future American counter-economy fueling a libertarian rebellion. Schulman’s novel was inducted in 1989 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.
Among the other Prometheus-winning novelists who were inspired or influenced by Konkin were Brad Linaweaver (who won the 1989 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Moon of Ice) and Koman, the first three-time winner of the Prometheus Awards. Koman won Best Novel for The Jehovah Contract (in 1988), Solomon’s Knife (in 1990) and Kings of the High Frontier (which in 1997 became the first novel initially published exclusively on the Internet to win a Prometheus Award.)
Koman, who recently completed his Ph.D., is enlisting support to create The Agorist Archives of Samuel Edward Konkin III and make them available online for free access by anyone in the world.
“Sam has been gone 17 years now,” Koman wrote in a recent email that also listed the many other libertarian thinkers and writers who have passed.
“Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, Robert Kephart, Tibor Machan, David Nolan, Kerry Thornley, James T. Martin, Chris Tame, Bill Patterson, John Puglsey, Ken Gregg, Andrea Millen Rich (an LFS sustaining member for many years), J. Neil Schulman, Brad Linaweaver, and — just a few months ago — Butler Shaffer and Jeff Riggenbach, as well as many others of our circle are all gone,” Koman wrote.
“Time marches on, and the legacy of SEK3 urgently needs to be preserved, digitized, and made available to a world hungry for fresh strategies and tactics for freedom,” he said.
The SEKIII archive, once established, will be of interest to libertarians, libertarian futurists, other freedom lovers and scholars because of Konkin’s extensive contacts with so many thinkers, writers and novelists.
Konkin corresponded with (and often contended with) a large cross-section of libertarian thinkers and writers. Besides the aforementioned names above, Konkin interacted with Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea (whose satirical sf trilogy Illuminatus! was inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame in 1986), and such living libertarian luminaries as Sharon Presley, Wendy McElroy, multiple-Prometheus-winning novelist L. Neil Smith, Jorge Amador, Prometheus finalist Doug Casey, seminal early LFS Director Victoria Varga and many others.
In addition to digitizing back issues of New Libertarian, Koman is in the process of electronically archiving material from over a dozen file boxes and several filing-cabinet drawers packed with Konkin’s letters, notes, papers, datebooks, handwritten first drafts and more.
Koman discussed the project, how he met Sam and the significance of SEK3’s life and work recently in a speech to The Karl Hess Club in southern California. Here is a link to that speech, which has been uploaded to YouTube.
Koman’s goal, he said, is to scan “every scrap of Konkinabilia” he possesses to make it available in The Agorist Archives, as well as digitizing the video of Sam’s Agorist Institute lectures and classes. As a means to that end, Koman has created a subdomain on his KoPubCo website called archives.kopubco.com (which already has some of the scans).
For more information and in-depth tracking of the project, check out the introductory video and 17 updates in Koman’s fundraiser.
* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the June 2020 issue of the international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the modern genre.
* Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans. Libertarian futurists believe culture is as vital as politics (and often more fulfilling, positive and productive in the longer run) in spreading positive visions of the future and achieving universal individual rights and a better world (perhaps eventually, worlds) for all.