The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, makes clear why each award-winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work.
Here’s an appreciation for “Requiem,” Robert Heinlein’s short story, the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
By Eric S. Raymond
For a good 40 years – between 1957 and 1997 – the premise of Robert Heinlein’s 1940 short story “Requiem” looked dated and quaint, almost laughable. Private space programs? A tycoon flying to the moon? Absurd! For those were the decades in which everyone was sure that space programs had to be vast government-run leviathans.
The Old Man had the last laugh. In the new millennium government-run spaceflight is moribund; all the action is at companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. It is now the era of government-run-space programs that is beginning to look quaint, as the political will to push them evaporated with the end of Cold War competition in 1992.
But this story, and the related “The Man Who Sold The Moon”, resembles today’s reality in a way that is more than coincidence.
Continue reading Tycoon flying to the Moon? Private space programs have the last laugh, inspired by Robert Heinlein’s “Requiem,” the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
Introduction: To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society began celebrating in 2019, and to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners that made them deserve recognition as pro-freedom sf/fantasy, we’re continuing in 2020 to present a series of weekly Appreciations of Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our first category for Best Novel.
Here’s the latest Appreciation for Victor Koman’s Kings of the High Frontier:
Victor Koman’s 1997 novel dramatizes the dream of getting into space with an libertarian twist: The massive effort is achieved through the voluntary social cooperation of mutual trade and mutual aid through private enterprise.
Set in a subtly alternate reality, the story imagines a profit-enhanced competition to reach the stars, which anticipated the X Prize that saw Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne reach space in 2004.
Kings of the High Frontier highlights the shortsighted bureaucratic and political efforts of a government-run program like NASA, with its consequences in corruption, wasteful mismanagement and stagnation.
Continue reading Free enterprise in outer space, or reaching the stars through profit-enhanced competition rather than government bureaucracy: Appreciating Victor Koman’s Kings of the High Frontier, the 1997 Prometheus Best Novel winner