God, atheism, a dying assassin in an SF noir fantasy: An Appreciation of Victor Koman’s The Jehovah Contract, the 1988 Prometheus Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series strives to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners and how each fit the Prometheus award’s distinctive focus on Liberty vs. Power. Here’s our  Appreciation for Victor Koman’s The Jehovah Contract.

By Michael Grossberg

Victor Koman’s audacious 1987 thriller-noir-fantasy The Jehovah Contract centers on dying atheistic assassin Del Ammo – masquerading as a private detective, and living in the ruins of a terrorist-bombed skyscraper – who’s given a contract to kill God.

Yes, God!

Clever philosophical speculations by Koman, a veteran libertarian, accent his suspenseful and prescient story, set in a near-future Los Angeles, as the assassin finds a way to excise the concept of God from the minds of humanity and enable a more laissez-faire “Creatrix” to return to power.
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Advanced technology, global politics, monopoly power and a struggle for liberty: An Appreciation of Vernor Vinge’s Marooned in Real Time, the 1987 Prometheus Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series strives to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners and how each fits the Prometheus award’s distinctive focus on Liberty vs. Power. Here’s our Appreciation for Vernor Vinge’s Marooned in Real Time, the 1987 Best Novel winner.

By William H. Stoddard

In 1985, Vinge’s The Peace War lost out to No Award in the Prometheus voting. In 1987, its sequel, Marooned in Realtime, was recognized as Best Novel — the first of several Best Novel and Hall of Fame awards to the author.

The Peace War had shown a market-oriented and anarchistic society in a future central California. But it wasn’t portrayed in detail, and existed within a larger world that was decidedly NOT libertarian, controlled by the repressive Peace Authority. And one of the viewpoint characters was a military officer who considered the libertarian society that Vinge sketched unsustainable.

In contrast, Marooned in Realtime’s characters look back to a past in which libertarian values had triumphed, and the central character is widely admired for his role in bringing down one of the Earth’s last states (a story told in “The Ungoverned,” a novella that won the LFS’s 2004 Hall of Fame Award).

The libertarianism stands out more.
Continue reading Advanced technology, global politics, monopoly power and a struggle for liberty: An Appreciation of Vernor Vinge’s Marooned in Real Time, the 1987 Prometheus Best Novel winner

Pioneering cyberpunk tale of love, duty, justice: An Appreciation of Victor Milan’s The Cybernetic Samurai, the 1986 Prometheus Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series strives to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners and how each fits the Prometheus award’s distinctive focus on Liberty vs. Power. Here’s our Appreciation for Victor Milan’s The Cybernetic Samurai, the 1986 Best Novel winner.

By Michael Grossberg

One of the undeservedly forgotten works of the early cyberpunk scene, Victor Milan’s prescient 1985 novel The Cybernetic Samurai explores the tensions between duty and free will, duty and love and duty and justice in a harsh future where some people struggle to be free within a largely totalitarian Earth.

Imagining a 21st century between the third and fourth world wars in a story whose hero is the world’s first sentient computer, Milan portrays a bloody and terrible future in which much of the world is destroyed but Japan becomes the last refuge of a dying free society and free market.
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An Appreciation of No Award, the 1985 Prometheus Best Novel choice

Our Appreciation series highlights the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards. Here’s an Appreciation for No Award, the 1985 winner in the Best Novel category.

By William H. Stoddard

When the Libertarian Futurist Society started giving regular awards for Best Novel, ballots mailed to members offered the option of voting for None of the Above.

In 1985, None of the Above won, for the first and – up to now – the only time.

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Artistic freedom, creativity, conscription and gay marriage: An Appreciation of J. Neil Schulman’s The Rainbow Cadenza, the 1984 Prometheus Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series strives to make clear what LFS members and other libertarian sf/fantasy fans see in each of our past winners and how each fit the Prometheus award’s distinctive focus on Liberty vs. Power. Here’s our Appreciation for J. Neil Schulman’s The Rainbow Cadenza, the 1984 Prometheus Best Novel winner:

Romantic and passionate, J. Neil Schulman’s The Rainbow Cadenza explores the power of art, the thirst for creativity and the threat to such individuality and self-expression in a future Brave New World dominated by one world government.

Schulman was prescient and years ahead of his time in envisioning a positive future where gay marriage is normal and legal.
Yet, his complex story portrays a very mixed and disconcerting dystopian future where teenage women are drafted into government prostitution service for three years, clones are treated as inferior and a new underclass called Touchables are hunted for sport.

Continue reading Artistic freedom, creativity, conscription and gay marriage: An Appreciation of J. Neil Schulman’s The Rainbow Cadenza, the 1984 Prometheus Best Novel winner

Authoritarian imperialism vs. free-market anarchy in an interstellar future: An Appreciation of James P. Hogan’s Voyage From Yesteryear, the 1983 Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series strives to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners and how each fits the Prometheus award’s distinctive focus on Liberty vs. Power. Here’s our Appreciation for James P. Hogan’s Voyage to Yesteryear, the 1983 Prometheus winner for Best Novel:

By Michael Grossberg

Two human civilizations, long separated across light years, confront significant philosophical and political differences when they make renewed contact decades after a World War III devastated the Earth and led to the rise of widespread authoritarian governments there.

When the Earth’s three superpower governments engage in a space race to renew contact with the lost colony on Chiron in the Alpha Centauri system colony’s descendants, the Americans arrive first with an authoritarian goal of invasion and domination.

Meanwhile, the Chiron colonists – sent from Earth generations before in a ship with babies raised by robots in order to start fresh and avoid the bad habits and prejudices of Earth – have developed a radically free libertarian society founded on the belief that each individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Continue reading Authoritarian imperialism vs. free-market anarchy in an interstellar future: An Appreciation of James P. Hogan’s Voyage From Yesteryear, the 1983 Best Novel winner

Rambunctious adventure in an alternate-history multiverse: An Appreciation of L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach, the 1982 Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series strives to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners and how each fits the Prometheus award’s distinctive focus on Liberty vs. Power. Here’s our appreciation for L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach, the 1982 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:

By Michael Grossberg

Rollicking and fun-loving, L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach was one of the most influential books of the Libertarian movement as its ideas were spreading in the early 1980s.

Smith’s imaginative sci-fi multiverse adventure imagines alternate time lines accessible through the probability broach, a portal to many worlds.

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Galactic intrigue and how markets can reduce inequality and bigotry: An Appreciation of F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels within Wheels, the first Prometheus award winner in 1979

Introduction: To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society is celebrating in 2019, we are posting a series of weekly Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our earliest Best Novel awards.
Here’s the first Appreciation for F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels within Wheels, which won the first Prometheus Award in 1979.
At the end, we also include a few recent comments by Wilson, looking back 40 years at the very-different era and context in which he wrote his novel.

By Michael Grossberg
   An sf murder mystery hailed by the Library Journal for its “cleverly planted clues” and “all the satisfaction of a good Agatha Christie,” this 1978 novel was the first work of fiction to receive the Prometheus Award, initially established by writer L. Neil Smith to recognize more libertarian sf fiction.

With the benefit of hindsight, looking back at Wilson’s work from the perspective of the 40thanniversary of the Prometheus Awards in 2019, one appreciates this novel even more as part of a fascinating larger whole: Wilson’s LaNague Federation series, set in an interstellar future in which an imperialist central State is toppled by a decentralized libertarian social order that unleashes an era of peace, prosperity, progress and broad respect for individual rights.

Continue reading Galactic intrigue and how markets can reduce inequality and bigotry: An Appreciation of F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels within Wheels, the first Prometheus award winner in 1979

A 40th Anniversary Retrospective: Introducing a Reader’s Guide to the Prometheus Award Winners

By Michael Grossberg

To highlight and honor the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society is celebrating in 2019, we are providing a reader’s guide with capsule Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, starting with the Best Novel category.

If you’ve ever wondered why a particular work of fiction has been recognized with a Prometheus Award and what libertarian sf fans see in these award-winning works, then our upcoming series of Appreciations should be must reading – as well as informative and illuminating!

Or, if you’re simply  looking for something enjoyable and stimulating to read within the realm of science fiction and fantasy, which also illuminates abiding questions about the perennial tensions between Liberty and Power, an excellent place to begin is with this recommended reading list of award-winning fiction (to be published here on a regular weekly (or biweekly) schedule, starting now (September 2019).

These capsule appreciations are being written and edited by LFS members (including LFS founder Michael Grossberg, LFS President William H. Stoddard, and veteran LFS leaders and board members Chris Hibbert, Tom Jackson, Anders Monsen, Eric Raymond, and others). In a few cases, the Appreciations will be based in part on reviews printed in the Prometheus quarterly (1982-2016) or the Prometheus blog (2017-today).

Since 1979, a wide array of novels, novellas, stories, films, TV series and other works of fiction have won Prometheus awards by highlighting in fascinatingly different ways the value of voluntary social cooperation over institutionalized State coercion, the importance of respecting human rights (even for that smallest minority, the individual), and the evils of tyranny (whether on the Left or the Right).


Continue reading A 40th Anniversary Retrospective: Introducing a Reader’s Guide to the Prometheus Award Winners