Over the past decade, bestselling sf novelists and Libertarian Futurist Society leaders have recorded a fascinating variety of illuminating, often provocative and occasionally humorous Worldcon panel discussions, podcasts and speeches at Prometheus Award ceremonies.
C.J. Cherryh, Cory Doctorow, Harlan Ellison, Sarah Hoyt, Ken MacLeod, Wil McCarthy and F. Paul Wilson are just a few of the writers who have discussed their pro-freedom and anti-authoritarian works of science fiction and fantasy while sharing personal stories and exploring a wide variety of timely and timeless subjects.
Among them: technology and free-market innovation, cultural change, the information society, the power of ideas, justice and individual rights, artificial intelligence, the importance of safeguarding freedom of expression and civil liberties, the civilizing and peaceful benefits of free trade and free markets and the dangers of unchecked government and authoritarianism.
Among the sf/fantasy novelists participating in these LFS/Prometheus awards videos: Travis Corcoran (The Powers of the Earth, Causes of Separation), Doctorow (Little Brother, Homeland, Pirate Cinema), Ellison (“‘Repent Harlequin!,’ Said the Ticktockman”) Cherryh and Jane Fancher (Alliance Rising), Karl Gallagher (Torchship trilogy), Hoyt (Darkship Thieves), John Hunt (Drug Lord: High Ground with Doug Casey), MacLeod (The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, Learning the World), McCarthy (Rich Man’s Sky), Ramez Naam (Nexus, Crux, Apex), Andy Weir (Artemis, The Martian) and Wilson (Sims, An Enemy of the State, Wheels within Wheels.)
Check out these videos – or just click on the videos or their underlined headlines – to read some interesting author excerpts and insights to whet your appetite to watch the whole thing.
Watch 2022 acceptance speeches by Wil McCarthy (Best Novel winner for Rich Man’s Sky) and by Heinlein Trust and Heinlein Society leaders (accepting for Robert Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy, inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame).
Plus, two-time Prometheus winner Travid Corcoran (Causes of Separation), Best Novel category presenter, gave a mythic-metaphoric speech about the decline of sf and the importance of libertarian science fiction; LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg introduced Corcoran and the Best Novel category; and LFS President William H. Stoddard, Hall of Fame presenter, explained why the Hall of Fame is important, why Citizen deserves a place in it and why the Libertarian Futurist Society has presented the Prometheus Awards for 40 years.
How is technology expanding book publishing and alternative fiction? How is that trend reflected in this year’s slate of Prometheus Best Novel finalists? What’s the historic relationship among sf, liberty and the libertarian movement? What are the challenges and tensions in balancing artistic merit in fiction and awards with ideology and positive social values? Following the 15-minute 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony, with acceptance speeches by Barry Longyear (Best Novel: “The Hook”) and F. Paul Wilson (Hall of Fame: “Lipidleggin’”), those questions are explored in Reason-magazine-sponsored panel discussion with Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason books editor Jesse Walker and LFS President William H. Stoddard. Bonuses: Surprise appearance and comments by Reason’s Bob Poole, and post-panel Q/A session.
The 2020 North American Science Fiction Convention two-part event began with a 30-minute Prometheus Awards ceremony, emceed by Michael Grossberg and Tom Jackson, with acceptance speeches by C.J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher for Best Novel (Alliance Rising) and by Astrid Anderson Bear, accepting for her late father Poul Anderson for the story “Sam Hill.”
The video’s final 50 minutes focused on the LFS panel discussion about “Visions of SF, Liberty and Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards Over Four Decades...”, moderated by Tom Jackson, included Prometheus-winning novelists F. Paul Wilson, Sarah Hoyt, C.J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher and LFS leaders William H. Stoddard, Michael Grossberg and Tom Jackson.
Novelist F. Paul Wilson, the first Prometheus winner in 1979, joined LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg and LFS board member Tom Jackson, the moderator, in a wide-ranging discussion of fiction, ideas and history Aug. 1, 2020 during CoNZealand, the first streaming Worldcon.
Wilson discussed what the first Prometheus Awards ceremony was like, which of his Prometheus-winning novels is a particular favorite, how he feels about being known in some circles as a “libertarian sf writer” and discussed a possible Repairman Jack movie.
Wilson and Grossberg, meanwhile, discussed why should there be a Prometheus award and what are some of their favorite winners. Grossberg recalled which winners were especially gracious, how the awards have evolved over the years, and whether they’ve become more literary.
The 2019 Prometheus Awards ceremony, emceed by Fred Moulton and John Christmas at the Dublin Worldcon in Ireland, presented the Prometheus for Best Novel to Travis Corcoran for Causes of Separation. The Prometheus Hall of Fame inducted “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story by the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Corcoran gave a major, wide-ranging acceptance speech, while the emcees read Hall of Fame acceptance statements by Vonnegut’s family and the Vonnegut Museum/Library.
Corcoran discussed political and economic themes in his novel about renegade lunar colonists fighting for independence and a free economy against Earth-based authoritarian rule.
LFS presenters Chris Hibbert and Fred Moulton emceed the Aug. 17, 2018 Prometheus Awards ceremony at the San Jose, Calif. Worldcon, with Hibbert reading Travis Corcoran’s intellectually wide-ranging acceptance speech for The Powers of the Earth. Corcoran’s explicitly libertarian story, set largely on an underground Moon colony, portrays an anarcho-capitalistic society intentionally founded as a refuge from repressive and predatory government, but threatened by an invading Earth’s authoritarian bureaucracy and economic controls.
Prometheus Award-finalist sf authors Travis Corcoran, Karl Gallagher, John Hunt, Ken MacLeod, and Andy Weir discuss their novels with host Danny Warpig in Episode 138 (April 14, 2018) of Geek Gab, a weekly podcast about books, movies, TV, comics, music, RPGs, tabletop gaming, video games, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. where “anything geekish goes.”
Among the topics discussed: artificial intelligence, computer programming, anarchocapitalism, libertarian ethics and the most surprising elements of their books for many readers.
Along with Sarah Hoyt (Darkship Revenge), the participating novelists were selected as finalists for the 2018 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Corcoran’s The Powers of the Earth (which ultimately won), Gallagher’s linked-trilogy Torchship, Torchship Pilot and Torchship Captain; Hunt and Doug Casey’s Drug Lord: High Ground, MacLeod’s The Corporation Wars: Emergence; and Weir’s Artemis.
LFS veteran board member Steve Gaalema, a Colorado-based engineer who has worked on a U.S. satellite sent to Mars, emceed the 2016 Prometheus Awards ceremony during the 2016 Kansas City Worldcon, where he was interviewed about the awards and the Libertarian Futurist Society by a Worldcon staffer for their cable-TV channel during the Worldcon weekend.
Legendary sf writer Harlan Ellison (1934-2018) accepted the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction after the August 2015 Worldcon Prometheus Awards ceremony, which inducted “Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman” into the Hall of Fame.
Ellison’s 1965 short story portrays one man's surrealist rebellion against a repressive future society obsessed with timeliness. The very personal and eloquent video includes a mini-tour of his home and description of many of his favorite awards, some reminiscences about his career, and a few political comments about his sympathy for libertarian ideas.
At the London Worldcon in August 2014 in England, emcee Amy Sturgis presented the Best Novel award to Prometheus Award Best Novel co-winners Cory Doctorow (for Homeland) and Ramez Naam (for Nexus). Each author spoke about threats to liberty, from constraints on the information society to the War on drugs and War on terror.
The Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction went to Lois McMaster Bujold’s novel Falling Free. Sturges read Bujold's acceptance statement.
* Prometheus winners: For a full list of Prometheus Award winners – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website.
* 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 and the Libertarian Futurist Society, quotes from articles on the Prometheus Blog and explores 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 volunteer association of libertarian sf/fantasy fans and freedom-lovers.
Libertarian futurists believe exploring and dramatizing a positive vision of human flourishing and human possibilities in the future is key to achieving universal individual rights and a better world (perhaps eventually, worlds) for all.