Robert Heinlein: Remembering the Grand Master on his birthday

Today (July 7) is the birthday of Robert Heinlein, one of the greatest science fiction writers of the past century.

Robert Heinlein in the 1920s (Photo courtesy of Heinlein Trust archives)

In honor of his birthday, the Prometheus blog remembers and celebrates Heinlein (1907-1988), hailed by his peers as a Grand Master of science fiction and perhaps the most famous and widely read libertarian sf author of his era.

Heinlein also is the author most often honored and recognized with Prometheus Awards – a grand total of nine.

So it’s no surprise that the Prometheus Blog over its first seven years has posted 46 articles, reviews, essays, news stories or author’s updates about him – more than those about any other author.

Most of Heinlein’s works retain their story-telling power and prescient relevance, so today’s a good day to check out something by or about Heinlein.

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SF magazine explores the enduring themes of V for Vendetta

By Michael Grossberg

V for Vendetta is one of only a handful of fiction works that have received Prometheus recognition twice – first as a graphic novel, inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame, and second, as a feature film, which received a special Prometheus award.

So it’s nice to see a magazine article celebrating such popular art and exploring its resonant libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes.

Forty-two years after the initial publication of the graphic novel, Journey Planet 79, an online sf/fantasy journal, pays eloquent tribute to V for Vendetta and its creators: writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd.

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New autobiography by Rush rock star Geddy Lee sheds light on the libertarian roots of the Canadian prog-rock band

By Michael Grossberg

For Rush fans, the recent publication of Canadian rock star Geddy Lee’s autobiography should spark interest.
LFS members, currently weighing this year’s slate of Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists including the Rush fantasy song “The Trees,” should find My Effin’ Life (Harper) especially timely and intriguing.

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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.

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Remembering Rush, and paying tribute to libertarian lyricist Neal Peart’s democratic individualism

By Michael Grossberg

Rush, the Canadian art-rock group, stopped touring in 2015 and retired three years later, but still has legions of admirers around the world.

Many are science fiction fans, who appreciate their sf- or fantasy-themed songs (“The Trees”) and albums (2112). And quite a few are libertarians, who appreciate their themes affirming individualism and individual liberty (such as “Free Will” and “Tom Sawyer.”)

Those and other Rush fans should appreciate a recent Law and Liberty article paying tribute to Neil Peart, Rush’s late great drummer.

“Early on, Peart’s lyrics reflected a devotion to individualism, and his protagonists in songs such as “2112,” “Red Barchetta,” and “Tom Sawyer,” are driven primarily by their desire for free expression,” Jordan T. Cash writes in his essay.

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Appreciating sf author Nancy Kress, her Beggars trilogy and other Prometheus-nominated novels

By Michael Grossberg

Prolific sf author Nancy Kress has won Hugos and Nebula awards but she’s never won a Prometheus Award. Not yet, anyway.

Nor was Kress nominated for The Eleventh Gate, an interesting 2020 novel (recently reviewed in the Prometheus blog) that pits libertarian planets against more authoritarian worlds.

Nevertheless, Kress has been frequently recognized within the history of the Prometheus awards.

In fact, she has been nominated four times for Best Novel – and one of her novels (Beggars in Spain) was voted a Best Novel finalist.

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Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Orwell’s 1984 listed with other literary classics on international blog listing best “Books to Understand the World”

Many “bests” lists or ranked-reading lists tend to be matters of opinion, even if objective merit remains a meaningful standard of rational evaluation. Yet isn’t it interesting to compare favorite books and novels and discover that some our favorites also rank high on other lists?

For those libertarian sci-fi/fantasy fans who have the curiosity and time to look beyond our own Prometheus Awards track record of 100 past winners in all categories, an online list compiled of “Books to understand the world” makes for interesting reading….

…Especially because two of the most notable Prometheus Award winners are prominently featured on the list.

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God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut – and happy 100th birthday!

By Michael Grossberg

The alien Tralfamadorians surely won’t be the only sentient beings celebrating the 100th anniversary Nov. 11, 2022, of Kurt Vonnegut’s birth.

Kurt Vonnegut in 1972 (Creative Commons license)

Anyone who appreciates a blend of humor with social commentary in novels and stories that often incorporate science fiction should celebrate the memory of one of the most influential and popular American writers and novelists of the 20th century.

Continue reading God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut – and happy 100th birthday!

Christian libertarian novelist C.S. Lewis, a current Prometheus Hall of Fame finalist, receives attention in leading sf magazine

By Michael Grossberg

Tor.com, a leading online sf magazine, has published an intriguing article about bestselling writer C.S. Lewis. That’s welcome news to Lewis’ fans, including sf readers and Libertarian Futurist Society members.

The positive attention comes as LFS members are considering the 2022 Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists – which include That Hideous Strength, the third and final novel of Lewis’ Space Trilogy.

(For the record, the three other Hall of Fame 2022 finalists are Robert Heinlein’s novel Citizen of the Galaxy, Barry B. Longyear’s collection of stories in Circus World, and the Rush song “The Trees.”)

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L. Neil Smith memorial site set up

L. Neil Smith’s family has set up a memorial website; go there to see photos, memories, etc. Smith died on August 27; see our tribute. 

The above photo from the site shows Smith, left, with another person at the 2004 Freedom Summit in Phoenix. Cathy Smith asks, “Can anyone identify the gentleman that Neil is pictured with?”

Would anyone like to help?

 

* Read the introductory essay of the LFS’ 40th anniversary retrospective series of Appreciations of past Prometheus Awards winners, with an overview of the awards’ four-decade-plus history, that was launched in 2019 on the 40thanniversary of the awards and continues today.

* Other Prometheus winners: For a full list of winners – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website, which now includes convenient links to all published appreciation-reviews of past winners.

* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the  international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the evolution of the modern genre.

Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.