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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 quillette.com:
“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, Tor.com 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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Sarah Hoyt on cloning and State suppression of technology: Her acceptance speech & 2011 Worldcon Prometheus Awards ceremony
LFS member Fred Moulton presented the 2011 Prometheus Awards in Aug. 2011 at Renovation, the Reno, Nevada, Worldcon, to Sarah Hoyt (for Best Novel for Darkship Thieves, a coming-of-age saga depicting a plausible anarchist society among the asteroids and a heroic woman’s fight for her freedom and identity against a tyrannical Earth) and to the late George Orwell (for Best Classic Fiction for his 1945 novel Animal Farm.)

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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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