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Novelist F. Paul Wilson, LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg and LFS leader Tom Jackson in the CoNZealand Worldcon panel on ‘Freedom in SF: Forty Years of the Prometheus Awards”

As a sample excerpt from the 50-minute CoNZealand Worldcon video, here is how LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg, a veteran newspaper journalist and arts critic, answered one of Tom Jackson’s questions:
Q: After four decades, how have public perceptions of the Prometheus Awards evolved?
A: It’s been great to see nominated authors and libertarian sf fans take it seriously from the start. Pretty quickly, publishers respected it enough to put the words “Prometheus Awards winner” or even Prometheus Awards finalist on the covers or backs of the paperbacks of winners, and it’s often mentioned in author’s bios and blogs.
In recent years, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by several major articles that have been published in respected publications that favorably mention the LFS and the Prometheus Awards – most notably, a recent article on “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction” in Quillette, a very cosmopolitan and international online magazine championing science, reason and liberty from a maverick and classical liberal and/or civil libertarian perspective.

Let me quote from Jordan Alexander Hill’s June 2020 article on
“It is 2020, and though socialism is again in vogue… libertarian SF is showing no signs of waning…. Libertarian-leaning authors have had an outsized, lasting influence on the field. Libertarians even have their own SF literature awards. Each year, the Prometheus and Prometheus Hall of Fame awards are given out by the Libertarian Futurist Society, a tradition dating back to the late 1970s. Instead of a trophy, winners are given a one-ounce gold coin “representing free trade and free minds.”
“The soil of speculative fiction has the right nutrients for the flourishing of libertarian values…Unlike most ideologies that advocate forms of protectionism and Luddite restrictionism, the libertarian outlook values choice, freedom, and market solutions…. Another element (in sf), certainly, is a general openness to radical new ideas and an instinctive rejection of stale convention and custom… Perhaps this is why so much of SF expresses itself as dystopian fiction, a genre which, by its very nature, cannot but take on a libertarian flavor. Totalitarianism, war, and wide-scale oppression is almost always carried out by state force. Liberation, accordingly, must come in the form of negative rights — that is, “freedom from” — and voluntarism.”

Michael Grossberg (File photo)

Also, notably, has recognized the Prometheus Awards favorably.
Here’s an excerpt from James Davis Nicoll’s article “40 Years of the Prometheus Award”:
“The Prometheus Award is an interesting case … Four decades is an impressive achievement. The current process is an interesting mixture of popular award (all members of the Society can nominate works for any category) and juried (committees for each category use ranked ballots to produce the finalist slate) … The results are as remarkable as the award’s longevity … the LFS ranges far outside the borders of conventional American libertarian thought … with equally diverse selections on the nominee lists. (Recent lists of winners and finalists) are a reminder of just why following this particular award can be rewarding for readers of all stripes.”


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The 2023 Prometheus ceremony offered inspiration, humor, sobering truths and rich insights about sf, liberty, history, culture, liberty and current authoritarian trends. Speakers: Australian Dave Freer (Best Novel winner, Cloud-Castles); past winner/presenter Sarah Hoyt (Darkship Thieves); Heinlein Society’s John Tilden, Heinlein Trust's Art Dula (accepting Hall of Fame for Heinlein’s story “Free Men”) discuss his legacy and reveal excerpts from a 1947 archived letter about his vision of the future. LFS president Bill Stoddard discusses the cycles of freedom and reaction, passing and new generations of Prometheus winners, and co-founder Michael Grossberg, addresses the nature of the State and Best Novel category.
2022 Prometheus ceremony with Wil McCarthy, Travis Corcoran, Heinlein Trust/Society leaders
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.
Sf author Barry Longyear joins Reason editors Katherine Mangu-Ward & Jesse Walker & LFS President William Stoddard to discuss “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards” following the 2021 Prometheus ceremony, with acceptance speeches by Longyear (Best Novel: “The Hook”) and F. Paul Wilson (Hall of Fame: “Lipidleggin'".
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.
Sf writers Cherryh, Hoyt, Fancher and Wilson and LFS leaders explore “Visions of SF, Liberty, Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards Over Four Decades, from F. Paul Wilson and Robert Heinlein to Today” in North American Science Fiction Convention panel & 2020 Prometheus Awards ceremony
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.
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Podcast: sf writers Andy Weir, Ken MacLeod, John Hunt, Karl Gallagher and Travis Corcoran discuss their 2017 Prometheus-finalist novels with Geek Gab host Danny Warpig
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.
Why libertarianism isn’t rightwing and how the Prometheus Awards recognize good sf, no matter who writes it: LFS leader Steve Gaalema’s interview at Kansas City’s 2016 Worldcon
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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.
Cory Doctorow on freedom and the information society, Ramez Naam on the War on drugs and War on terror, and their acceptance speeches at the London Worldcon 2014 Prometheus Awards ceremony
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.

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Michael Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been an arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Michael has won Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio and Best Arts Reporting (seven times). He's written for Reason, Libertarian Review and Backstage weekly; helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades; and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword for J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among books he recommends from a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist & How Innovation Works, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

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