Award-winning novelist Sarah Hoyt has written a lovely and lyrical ode to Prometheus on her “According to Hoyt” blog.
Hoyt won the 2011 Prometheus Award-winner for Best Novel for Darkship Thieves, a Heinleinesque adventure-romance and the first novel in her exciting Darkship series about bioengineered humans, an insidious tyranny on Earth and a fully libertarian anarcho-capitalist society amid the asteroids in a future where humans have colonized our solar system.
Yet, Hoyt’s ode to Prometheus isn’t about the awards themselves, but a tribute to the mythical character that inspired their name.
Her latest blog is worth reading – and quoting from:
“No one is quite sure who he was. Or at least the mythology makes a right hash of it. Man, god or Titan. Titan surely, because he stood above gods and men, principles unwavering,” Hoyt writes.
“What we do know is that he liked humans, mankind. Which as we know is the original sin, unforgivable by the old horrors who called themselves gods…”
“Mostly (the gods) did things for their own good, and covered up their crimes with other crimes. And then Prometheus, man, god or titan, who cares? went and gave the groveling, stupid, dirty humans fire,” Hoyt writes.
“Fire. Power. Energy. The ability to have that fire, that power, that energy do work for them, so they need not work themselves into early graves. Smoked meat, that means you don’t need to hunt every day. Food that’s easier to digest so babies and elderly people eat better. And by the by, the turbine, the nuclear plant, the car engine.”
“And light. Don’t forget the light. Light to see that the gods, presenting themselves as beautiful and golden were really a scabrous collection of old horrors, the old demons of mankind feasting on despair and making things more difficult for humans, because they can.”
Hoyt’s understanding and appreciation of Prometheus mirrors the Libertarian Futurist Society’s appreciation, summarized in the introduction to our Prometheus Awards page listing past winners, finalists and nominees:
“The Prometheus Awards take their name from the Greek myth about a titan who brought fire to mankind. As Louis Rougier wrote in The Genius of the West, his 1971 book with a preface by the Nobel-Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek:
“The myth undergirding the civilization of the West is the myth of Prometheus – the philanthropic hero who dared defy the will of Zeus by stealing fire from heaven and giving it to mortal men whom that jealous tyrant of the heaven and the earth had decided to destroy. The story expresses the spirit of revolt against the prohibition of jealous gods (and) embodies that love of action which incited Hercules to rid the earth of tyrants.”
Moreover, such Promethean themes often fill science fiction as well as other literature – for instance, figuring prominently in much of Ayn Rand’s fiction, including Atlas Shrugged and Anthem, her two sf-themed novels that were inducted early on into the Prometheus Hall of Fame. (According to ancient Greek mythology after all, Atlas was Prometheus’s brother.)
Perhaps all that helps explain why novelist L. Neil Smith found it fitting to name the Prometheus Awards, when the first one was presented in the late 1970s for the best libertarian science fiction.
Even today, Hoyt’s blog reminds us, the mythic memory of Prometheus (and of all the ancient Greek titans, including Atlas) point the way toward a freer and better future.
“We need people who hold the light aloft and say “Those aren’t gods. They’re very naughty spoiled and superannuated children.” Be Prometheus,” Hoyt urges us. “In whatever capacity you can, shed light on the truth. Hold aloft the torch.”
Inspiring words to motivate lovers of light and liberty.
* Other Prometheus winners: For a full list of winners – 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 all 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.
* 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.