Hall of Fame finalist review: Terry Pratchett’s The Truth offers hilarious but serious comedy about the rise of newspapers and the value of a free press

By Michael Grossberg

The truth shall make you fret.

Er, that’s not quite right. I meant: “The truth shall make you free.”

And The Truth shall make you laugh, too, while sparking insights about freedom – especially freedom of the press.

Often, while recently rereading Terry Pratchett’s satirical Discworld novel, I laughed out loud. (What a pleasure in troubled times, especially for journalists like me coping with declining newspapers.)

THE POWER OF THE PRESS

The Truth, a 2024 Prometheus Hall of Fame finalist, tells a smart, sly and ultimately inspirational tale of underdogs seeking the truth against formidable opposition.

Continue reading Hall of Fame finalist review: Terry Pratchett’s The Truth offers hilarious but serious comedy about the rise of newspapers and the value of a free press

Did you know that fantasy is just as eligible as science fiction for Prometheus Awards recognition? (And that shouldn’t be news!)

By Michael Grossberg

Works of fantasy are eligible to consider for the Prometheus Awards, along with science fiction.

The Lord of the Rings, inducted in 2009 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame

Fantasy has always been eligible for nomination – which might be news to some.

Many falsely assume that the Prometheus Awards are exclusively focused on “libertarian science fiction.”

And many continue to do so, even though several notable works of fantasy have been selected this year as finalists in both annual categories for Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (the Prometheus Hall of Fame.)

Continue reading Did you know that fantasy is just as eligible as science fiction for Prometheus Awards recognition? (And that shouldn’t be news!)

Hall of Fame finalist review: Harry Turtledove’s fantasy Between the Rivers imagines Bronze Age beginnings of a freer society

By William H. Stoddard

Over the years, most nominees for the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus awards have been science fiction, and set in the present or the near or far future. Harry Turtledove’s Between the Rivers is an exception: A work of fantasy, and set in an invented world that parallels the Bronze Age of 3000 years ago or more.

As its title suggests, its setting is based on Mesopotamia. It’s a realm of contending city-states, and seems to be the first place in its larger world to develop them; at any rate, there’s no indication of comparably civilized realms elsewhere.

Continue reading Hall of Fame finalist review: Harry Turtledove’s fantasy Between the Rivers imagines Bronze Age beginnings of a freer society

Hall of Fame finalist review: “The Trees,” a fantasy-themed rock song by Rush, resonates as cautionary tale

By Michael Grossberg

Even though they’re eligible for nomination, no songs have ever been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

Neal Peart, Rush drummer and songwriter of “The Trees.” Credit: Creative Commons

I can’t imagine a good song more deserving of that honor, and that fits the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards better, than “The Trees,” a 1978 song by the Canadian rock group Rush.

Continue reading Hall of Fame finalist review: “The Trees,” a fantasy-themed rock song by Rush, resonates as cautionary tale

Comedy, coming of age and forging freedom high above a gas-giant: An Appreciation of Dave Freer’s Cloud-Castles, the 2023 Prometheus Best Novel winner

By Michael Grossberg

Few Prometheus Award winners are as much fun to read as Cloud-Castles.

The 2023 Prometheus Awards plaque and gold coin


Zestful and often funny but also imaginative and insightful in its visions of freedom, Dave Freer’s often satirical coming-of-age novel deservedly won the 2023 Best Novel award for its entertaining blend of adventure, comedy, sci-fi,  likable characters and nifty world-building.

The novel’s settings, distinctive and ingenious, offer ripe possibilities for varied, cross-cultural exploration of different human and alien environments. And Freer delivers.

Continue reading Comedy, coming of age and forging freedom high above a gas-giant: An Appreciation of Dave Freer’s Cloud-Castles, the 2023 Prometheus Best Novel winner

Best Novel finalist review: Howard Andrew Jones’ Lord of a Shattered Land offers epic sword-and-sorcery saga with anti-slavery, anti-tyranny, pro-liberty themes

“Howard Andrew Jones is the leading Sword & Sorcery author of the 21st century… His Lord of a Shattered Land is his best work yet… It’s a magnificent achievement, destined to become a modern classic.”
— John O’Neill, World Fantasy Award-winning publisher of Black Gate

By Michael Grossberg

I admit I generally don’t enjoy fantasy as much as science fiction, but I loved Lord of a Shattered Land, one of the best sword-and-sorcery sagas I’ve read.

Howard Andrew Jones’s epic fantasy, published by Baen Books and one of 17 nominees for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel, tells a gripping tale that powerfully and emotionally evokes the evils of slavery and tyranny and the passionate, unquenchable desire of people to be free.

Continue reading Best Novel finalist review: Howard Andrew Jones’ Lord of a Shattered Land offers epic sword-and-sorcery saga with anti-slavery, anti-tyranny, pro-liberty themes

Review: Salman Rushdie’s Victory City affirms the virtues of liberty, trade and tolerance in a mythological historical fantasy about the cycles of civilization

By Michael Grossberg

Salman Rushdie, the courageous author acclaimed worldwide for both his fiction and personal courage in affirming libertarian values from artistic freedom and freedom of speech/press to the right of dissent, has written a wise and haunting novel in Victory City.


Rushdie’s historical fantasy – a Best Novel nominee for the next Prometheus Award – makes a poignant and powerful case for liberty as a key ingredient in the constellation of value and virtues that support human flourishing and the never-to-be-taken-for-granted rise of civilization.

Continue reading Review: Salman Rushdie’s Victory City affirms the virtues of liberty, trade and tolerance in a mythological historical fantasy about the cycles of civilization

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” – Andersen’s fable remains a useful metaphor and illustrative lesson for today

By Michael Grossberg

One of the best choices that LFS members have made in voting annually in the Best Classic Fiction category, in my opinion, was the decision to induct “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in 2000 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless anti-authoritarian parable isn’t merely a fable for children but a cautionary tale for everyone about the presumptions and illusions of power — not to mention the dangers of sheep-like conformity…. lessons that still apply today. (Perhaps especially today.)

Possibly because the Danish author’s 1837 story is often grouped somewhat diminutively with Anderson’s other stories as mere “children’s” literature or perhaps for other reasons, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” often seems to be overlooked or dismissed by contemporary columnists and bloggers as a still-resonant metaphor for the blind spots and knee-jerk tribalism of our increasingly conformist, censorious, culture-cancelling and fearful era.

So it’s a pleasure to come across a relatively rare reference to Andersen’s classic among today’s vast social commentary – moreover, not just a brief reference, but a full column from a regular Substack writer who makes the story central to his insightful and timely themes.

The column is even titled in honor of the fable: “The Emperor’s New Art.”

Continue reading “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – Andersen’s fable remains a useful metaphor and illustrative lesson for today

Who was Prometheus? Writer Virginia Postrel exposes modern misconceptions while highlighting the Greek myth’s pro-liberty, pro-technology themes

“The ancient myth of Prometheus is not a cautionary tale. It is a reminder that technē raises human beings above brutes. It is a myth founded in gratitude.” – Virginia Postrel

By Michael Grossberg

Who was Prometheus?

Despite modern misconceptions and fears, why does the titan of Greek mythology remain a positive and inspiring symbol of freedom, hope, revolution and progress today?

Virginia Postrel – the former Reason-magazine editor and Atlantic and New York Times columnist, and notable author of the seminal The Future and Its Enemies – brilliantly but concisely challenges common contemporary misunderstandings about the Greek legend in a fascinating and insightful essay on her Substack column.

Continue reading Who was Prometheus? Writer Virginia Postrel exposes modern misconceptions while highlighting the Greek myth’s pro-liberty, pro-technology themes

How and Why to Fight For Freedom: An Appreciation of Heinlein’s “Free Men,” the 2023 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction


As part of the LFS’ ongoing Appreciation series of review-essays explaining how each Prometheus Award-winner fits the distinctive libertarian and anti-authoritarian focus of the sf/fantasy award and why it deserved to win, here is an Appreciation by author Karl K. Gallagher (a frequent Best Novel finalist himself) of Robert Heinlein’s story “Free Men,” the 2023 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Karl K. Gallagher

Many writers have “trunk stories”—pieces rejected so many times that the writer shoves them into a trunk and stops sending them out again. “Free Men” seems to have been one of Heinlein’s trunk stories.

The Expanded Universe foreword says he wrote it in 1947, just a year after Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech. The story wasn’t published until 1966, in the Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein single-author collection.

I can understand why editors didn’t want it.

It’s a grim story, with the protagonist left bleeding out as his followers flee to a new hiding place.

The premise is a USA occupied after losing WWIII, by an enemy willing to nuke towns as reprisals against guerillas. The kind of story that makes readers put the terms “unpatriotic,” “defeatist,” or “advocating ‘better red than dead’” in the letters cancelling their subscriptions.

So why did Heinlein write it? And why do some readers love it?

Continue reading How and Why to Fight For Freedom: An Appreciation of Heinlein’s “Free Men,” the 2023 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction