To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ diverse four-decade-plus history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work of sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society has been publishing since 2019 a series of Appreciations of all past award-winners.
Here is an Appreciation of Vernor Vinge’s story “True Names,” a 2007 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.
By Michael Grossberg and Chris Hibbert
“True Names” is a seminal work of the cyberpunk genre.
A landmark when it was published in 1981, Vernor Vinge’s now-classic story gave the public their first glimpse of cyberspace and showed how the struggle for control might penetrate the new medium.
One of the earliest works of fiction to present a fully detailed concept of cyberspace, the story also explores themes of anarchism and trans-humanism that are of great interest to libertarian futurists.
The story follows the progress of a group of computer hackers who keep their true identities secret while being among the first to adopt a new full-immersion virtual-reality technology. They do so out of curiosity or an entrepreneurial desire to profit – both respectable and even laudable motivations from the libertarian perspective that appreciates the crucial role of innovation and free markets in advancing human progress, prosperity, well-being and knowledge.
Continue reading A cyberspace, cyberpunk landmark in sf history: Vernor Vinge’s True Names, a 2007 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear what makes each winner deserve recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is presenting a series of weekly Appreciations of past award-winners.
Here’s the latest Appreciation for Ramez Naam’s Nexus, one of two 2014 Prometheus Award winners for Best Novel:
By Anders Monsen and Michael Grossberg
Nexus offers a gripping exploration of politics, international espionage and new extremes of both freedom and tyranny while imagining how artificial intelligence might pave the way for a post-human future.
Ramen Naam’s ingenious and multi-leveled 2013 novel is set in a plausible near future on and around the Earth where emerging technology opens up unprecedented possibilities for mind control as well as personal liberation and interpersonal connection.
The fast-paced suspense thriller – the first in an exciting and imaginative trilogy that includes the Prometheus-finalist sequels Crux and Apex – centers on a young scientist caught up in danger and ranges from academia to government bureaucracy and from underground San Francisco parties to a secret Shanghai lab.
Continue reading Artificial intelligence, bioengineering, brain drugs, nanites, espionage, self-determination and mind control: An Appreciation of Ramez Naam’s Nexus, a 2014 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel