Why former Prometheus winners aren’t eligible for Hall of Fame nomination, but former Best Novel finalists are (such as The Truth, the 2024 winner)

By Michael Grossberg

Not all literary award-winners stand the test of time.

Most works of arts and entertainment fade. Yet when they last and take on the patina of a classic, they should be recognized.

For only the third time in the history of the Prometheus Awards, a former Best Novel finalist has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

Terry Pratchett’s novel The Truth, first recognized by the Libertarian Futurist Society as a 2001 Best Novel finalist, has won the 2024 award for Best Classic Fiction.

Before The Truth was inducted this year into our Hall of Fame, only two other Best Novel finalists have received that rare honor: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Falling Free and Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon.

Continue reading Why former Prometheus winners aren’t eligible for Hall of Fame nomination, but former Best Novel finalists are (such as The Truth, the 2024 winner)

A Fourth of July treat: Poul Anderson on ‘Science Fiction and Freedom’

Introduction: Poul Anderson  (1926-2001) was a major American science  fiction writer. He won the Hugo Award seven times and won the Nebula Award three  times. He also won the Prometheus Award once (for The Stars Are Also Fire), the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award four times and also received our Special Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Poul Anderson (Creative Commons license)

Anderson delivered this speech March 19, 1978, at the banquet of Leprecon, a science fiction convention in Phoenix. The speech was then printed in the May 1978 issue of New Libertarian, Volume Four, Number Three. It is reprinted here with the permission of Astrid  Bear, Poul Anderson’s daughter, and is copyright The Trigonier Trust.

The Prometheus Blog is reprinting his speech here because Anderson, one of the most recognized sf/fantasy authors in the history of science fiction and of the Prometheus Awards, had something important to say then about freedom and science fiction – something still valuable to ponder today.

Continue reading A Fourth of July treat: Poul Anderson on ‘Science Fiction and Freedom’

Literary qualities: Questions to consider in judging the Prometheus Awards, part 2

By Michael Grossberg

Given the complexity and multiple variables in weighing works of speculative fiction for how well they fit the distinctive dual focus of the Prometheus Awards, many LFS members and Prometheus judges have found a set of questions useful to answer as they read different works and consider their eligibility and quality.

These questions also may help LFS members as they read and rank finalists before voting to choose each year’s Prometheus winners.

After outlining a set of basic eligibility questions in the previous Prometheus Blog post, this post will focus on further questions related to overall literary quality.

Continue reading Literary qualities: Questions to consider in judging the Prometheus Awards, part 2

Eligibility questions to ask when considering sf/fantasy for the Prometheus Awards

By Michael Grossberg

Those Libertarian Futurist Society members who’ve served for some time as finalist-selection judges or Early Readers for different categories of the Prometheus Award have come to find a variety of questions helpful.

These questions also may help LFS members as they read and rank Best Novel and Hall of Fame finalists before voting to choose each year’s winners – including this year.

Who will win the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 2024?

Whether LFS members are considering the eligibility of an sf/fantasy novel for the Best Novel category, suggesting a candidate for nomination for Best Novel or Best Classic Fiction (the Prometheus Hall of Fame) or volunteering to read and report on various candidates as Early Readers, such questions can prove useful.

Accordingly, the Prometheus Blog is posting a sample set of such questions.

Continue reading Eligibility questions to ask when considering sf/fantasy for the Prometheus Awards

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!)

Several ways you can make a difference in the Prometheus Awards – including some less-obvious steps worth taking

By Michael Grossberg

Without the Libertarian Futurist Society and its members, the Prometheus Awards wouldn’t have survived for 45 years – and counting.

Prometheus, the light bringer (Creative Commons license)

 

Freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans have made a difference over the decades in three major ways: Through their continuing LFS memberships and support, by becoming active in the discovery and nominating process of our awards and ultimately, by reading the annual finalists and voting to choose the annual winners.

Yet, there are several less obvious but vital ways that LFS members (and others) can help enhance the awards process and help ensure that worthy potential contenders aren’t overlooked – especially in the annual Best Novel category, first presented in 1979.

Continue reading Several ways you can make a difference in the Prometheus Awards – including some less-obvious steps worth taking

How do the 2024 Best Novel finalists fit the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards?

The Prometheus Awards are distinctive among literature-oriented awards, including within the sf/fantasy field, for having a dual focus – on both overall literary quality and on libertarian/anti-authoritarian ideas.

As LFS awards press releases summarize and define our award:

“The Prometheus Awards recognize outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between liberty and power and champion cooperation over coercion as the root of civility and social harmony.

Such works may critique or satirize authoritarian trends, expose abuses of power by the institutionalized coercion of the State, imagine what forms a fully free society might take, and/or uphold individual rights and freedom for all as the only moral and practical foundation for peace, prosperity, progress, justice, tolerance, civility and civilization itself.

Here are capsule descriptions of the Best Novel finalists, explaining how each fits our awards’ distinctive focus:

Continue reading How do the 2024 Best Novel finalists fit the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards?

Publishers, authors, LFS members & sf/fantasy fans: Please heed our early call for Best Novel submissions (and why timeliness matters)

By Michael Grossberg

Have you come across a 2024 sf/fantasy novel that seems to fit the distinctive dual focus of the Prometheus Awards?

If so, it’s not too early to bring it to our attention.

In fact, the right time is now – rather than later.

And that good advice applies not only to Libertarian Futurist Society members, but also to publishers, authors, sf/fantasy fans and libertarians outside our organization.

Continue reading Publishers, authors, LFS members & sf/fantasy fans: Please heed our early call for Best Novel submissions (and why timeliness matters)

Economics in Science Fiction: The Specter of Overproduction (from Pohl and Huxley to Heinlein)

By William H. Stoddard

Science fiction has mainly been based on the natural sciences, from astronomy to biology; economics and the other social sciences come on stage less often.

Certainly, social science fiction was one of Isaac Asimov’s three categories of science fiction (along with gadget stories and adventure stories—as TV Tropes puts it, “Man invents car” can be followed by “lectures on how it works,” “gets into car chase,” or “gets stuck in traffic”).

But the premise for social science fiction was commonly a discovery or invention in the natural sciences, whose social and economic consequences are explored. It’s not so common for science fiction to be inspired by an economic theory.

Nonetheless, some theories have been the basis for science fiction stories. Economic issues are a major concern for libertarians; how science fiction deals with such issues is worth exploring.

Continue reading Economics in Science Fiction: The Specter of Overproduction (from Pohl and Huxley to Heinlein)

Liberty and laughter: Which Special Award winners benefit from a sense of humor?

By Michael Grossberg

“Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight…”
— Lyrics from the opening song in Stephen Sondheim’s musical farce A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum

Of all the works recognized with Prometheus Awards, one of the funniest is rather unusual, even unique.

It’s not a novel, a novella or a story – the types of fiction that by far most commonly have won one of the two annual Prometheus awards for Best Novel or Best Classic Fiction.

Nor is it a movie or TV series, although several have won.

It’s a “webcomic” – and so far, the only one that’s ever received a Prometheus: Freefall (Chapter 1), created by Mark Stanley.

Continue reading Liberty and laughter: Which Special Award winners benefit from a sense of humor?