By Michael Grossberg
An intercontinental friendship between two prolific science-fiction writers will add an extra measure of celebrity to the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
Sarah Hoyt, who won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 2011 for Darkship Thieves, will present the Best Novel category to Dave Freer during the live-Zoom ceremony, now scheduled for 2-2:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 19 (Eastern U.S. time).
In accepting the invitation, Hoyt said she is especially happy to present Best Novel this year because of her years-long friendship with Freer, an Australian sf writer who won the 2023 award for Cloud-Castles, his satirical Australian-outback-culture-influenced sf coming-of-age novel.
Freer, the first writer from the Southern Hemisphere to win a Prometheus award, said in turn that he is especially pleased that Hoyt will present the award to him. He said in an email that he considers Hoyt, a Portuguese-American writer based in Colorado, as his “best friend” in the United States.
Hoyt and Freer are among a group of closely knit science fiction and fantasy writers who are members of the “Mad Genius Club,” and these authors help each other and other aspiring writers by posting articles about the art and craft of writing fiction on the Mad Genius Club blog.
Hoyt last participated as a presenter in the 2020 Prometheus ceremony and panel discussion, presented as part of the 2020 North American Science Fiction Convention. Check out all the Prometheus Awards videos.
LFS LEADERS TO SPEAK
LFS President William H. Stoddard will emcee and introduce the Prometheus awards ceremony, which LFS Treasurer (and former President) Chris Hibbert will administer as live-Zoom producer.
LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg, who chairs the 12-member Prometheus Best Novel finalist-judging committee, will introduce the Best Novel category and discuss its distinctive focus, history and illustrious track record before introducing Hoyt.
Freer has confirmed that he will participate in the live-Zoom awards show and deliver an acceptance speech, even though he will be visiting his son and family in London, England, halfway across the planet from his home in Tasmania.
THE BEST NOVEL WINNER
Set on diverse habitats floating above a gas-giant planet, Cloud-Castles offers a zestful and often funny coming-of-age adventure that charts the progress of a mis-educated, socially awkward and well-meaning young man, brilliant but naïve, thrust into a succession of strange human and alien cultures and life- and liberty-threatening situations.
With help from a street-smart sidekick, he escapes imprisonment and slavery and forges innovative, profitable businesses with decentralized, stateless people scattered through the planet’s clouds.
Through such entrepreneurship, cooperative individualism and fish-out-of-water encounters with an “outback” frontier culture reflecting the Australian novelist’s own heritage, the story (formally a comedy in structure according to classic-Greek definition) reveals how markets work, why profits are moral and necessary in a free society and how societies flourish through reinvestment and market innovation.
Cloud-Castles was the first work by Freer to be nominated for a Prometheus Award.
When he first learned that his novel was nominated, Freer responded positively by email:
“I am delighted… I was indeed writing a satire about politics and political systems within a sf-glove (The book is dedicated to the men and women of the Eureka Stockade – Australia’s own rebellion against government – a bit of a clue) but humor makes it a lot more entertaining to read and is something of fifth dimension to authoritarians, meaning it saunters past their censorship and prohibitions. Besides, I take delight in doing it.”
HEINLEIN REPS TO ACCEPT FOR BEST CLASSIC FICTION
After the Best Novel category is presented and accepted, the other annual Prometheus category – the Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction – will take the spotlight.
Stoddard, who chairs the Hall of Fame finalist-judging committee, will return to discuss the focus and history of the Prometheus Hall of Fame before announcing the finalists and presenting the award.
The late Robert Heinlein, who has received more Prometheus Award recognition than any other author (especially in the Hall of Fame category, because of the era of his career), won the Best Classic Fiction category for “Free Men.”
ABOUT HEINLEIN’S “FREE MEN”
Heinlein’s 1966 novelette, first published in his collection The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein and later collected in Expanded Universe, offers a strong defense of freedom and American ideals.
The novelette focuses on the aftermath of an invasion and U.S. occupation after a nuclear “20 Minute War” and how a small band of heroic but practical guerrilla fighters survive, adapt and resist tyranny at great cost.
To accept the Best Classic Fiction award, representatives from the Heinlein Prize Trust and Heinlein Society, will discuss “Free Men” and Heinlein’s enduring legacy.
Art Dula, primary trustee for the Heinlein Prize Trust, and John Tilden, Chairman of the Heinlein Society, each have confirmed that they will speak and accept the award in Heinlein’s memory.
THE PUBLIC CEREMONY WILL BE OPEN TO ALL
As in previous years, the live-Zoom ceremony will be public and open to all viewers.
If you miss the live broadcast, the ceremony also will be recorded and later posted on both the Prometheus Blog and YouTube.
Note: LFS members will receive a direct link to the ceremony, providing Zoom access, in advance of the ceremony. In addition, check out the Prometheus blog here, a few days in advance of the Aug. 19 ceremony, for the Zoom access link.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE:
* Prometheus winners: For the full list of Prometheus winners, finalists and nominees – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website, which now includes convenient links to the full set of published appreciation-reviews of past winners.
* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the evolution of the modern genre.
* Watch videos of past Prometheus Awards ceremonies, Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussions with noted sf authors and leading libertarian writers, and other LFS programs on the Prometheus Blog’s Video page.
* 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 that culture matters! We understand that the arts and literature can be vital, and in some ways even more powerful than politics in the long run, by sparking innovation, better ideas, positive social change, and mutual respect for each other’s rights and differences.
Through recognizing the literature of liberty and the many different but complementary visions of a free future via the Prometheus Awards, the LFS hopes to help spread better visions of the future that help humanity overcome tyranny, end slavery and war and achieve universal liberty, respect for human rights and a better world (perhaps eventually, worlds) for all