Anderson, Heinlein, Tolkien, Hoyt, Pratchett and other favorite authors: The Prometheus interview (part 4) with Dave Freer

The Prometheus Award for Best Novel has been won over the decades by writers from the United States, England, Scotland and Finland – with Best Novel finalists from China, Japan, Canada and many other countries.

Dave Freer with his 2023 Prometheus Awards Best Novel plaque for Cloud-Castles (Photo courtesy of Freer)

But Dave Freer is the first writer from the Southern Hemisphere to win a Prometheus Award for Best Novel.

Here is the fourth and final part of the Prometheus Interview with the Australian/Tasmanian author, the 2023 winner of the Prometheus for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles.

 Q: Do you have any favorites among Prometheus Award winners?

A: It’s a good reading list, isn’t it?  I think I have just about everything in the Hall of Fame.

 

Continue reading Anderson, Heinlein, Tolkien, Hoyt, Pratchett and other favorite authors: The Prometheus interview (part 4) with Dave Freer

Remembering Tolkien: Columnist hails “LOTR” author as “most important creative mind of the modern age”

By Michael Grossberg

J.R.R. Tolkien, widely hailed as the father of the resurgent “high fantasy” of the modern era, died 50 years ago today.

J.R.R. Tolkien in 1925 (Creative Commons license)

Tolkien, who passed at 81 on Sept. 2, 1973, is remembered by Ed West, who writes about Tolkien’s legacy and increasing influence today in his timely Substack column Wrong Side of History.

With Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings having been inducted in 2009 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction, LFS members certainly remember and admire Tolkien.

But in his striking and thought-provoking column, West praises Tolkien in extraordinary ways – perhaps even more highly than do libertarians, who admire the British author for the mythic world-building, rich storytelling and poignant themes of his cautionary libertarian fable about the inevitable temptations and corruptions of absolute power.

West goes so far as to call Tolkien “the most important creative mind of the modern age.”

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Enduring quotes from more classic Prometheus Award acceptance speeches (since 2000)

 

“When we started our writing career we never dreamt of winning the Prometheus Award. … Of all the awards in Science Fiction, … The Prometheus Award, above all others, became the one we truly wanted. [because] liberty must be championed and valued — of the myriad awards out there, only the Prometheus recognizes this essential fact. And the authors we respect the most have all won it.”

Eytan and Dani Kollin in 2010 (Creative Commons license)

– Eytan and Dani Kollin, co-authors of The Unincorporated Man, the 2010 Prometheus Awardwinner for Best Novel, from their Prometheus acceptance speech

By Chris Hibbert

Following up on a recent Prometheus blog post, here are more classic Prometheus Award acceptance speeches to savor.

These speeches, all since 2000, offer insightful quotes that still resonate today.

Continue reading Enduring quotes from more classic Prometheus Award acceptance speeches (since 2000)

Lord of the Rings: Economist uses Prometheus Hall of Fame classic to expose false complaints about capitalism – and about Tolkien’s underappreciated Eagles

Why didn’t the Eagles fly the ring to Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings?

Even if you haven’t heard fans argue over the alleged “eagle plot hole” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Prometheus-winning trilogy, you should find economist Bryan Caplan’s recent blog post illuminating – as well as Ilya Somin’s Reason posting about it.

An economics professor at George Mason University and a New York Times bestselling author, Caplan finds many parallels – and similar flaws – between such fan criticisms of Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy and socialist criticisms of free markets.

Thanks to Reason magazine, which published constitutional lawyer Ilya Somin’s column highlighting Caplan’s intriguing arguments (and some of his own) on Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy legal blog.

Continue reading Lord of the Rings: Economist uses Prometheus Hall of Fame classic to expose false complaints about capitalism – and about Tolkien’s underappreciated Eagles

A sense of wonder: The Gallagher Interview (part 3), about Heinlein, Niven, Bujold and other sf authors, favorite novels, and what he thinks of awards

So far, in the first two parts of his Prometheus-blog interview, SF writer Karl K. Gallagher has answered questions about his own novels. Now, in the wide-ranging conclusion, the focus shifts to other authors and his favorite works – including the “sense of wonder” and “sense of freedom” that he gets from his favorite pro-liberty sf novels.

Q: Which authors in particular have influenced you most as a writer – whether in terms of their style, themes or spirit?

Robert Heinlein, a drawing (Creative Commons license)

A: Robert Heinlein, for ideals and heroic characters.

Larry Niven, for ideas driving stories.

Lois McMaster Bujold, for looking at what a change will do to people and how they’ll react.

Continue reading A sense of wonder: The Gallagher Interview (part 3), about Heinlein, Niven, Bujold and other sf authors, favorite novels, and what he thinks of awards

Reason highlights fresh aspects of Tolkien’s anti-statism reflected in new TV series “The Rings of Power”

After watching just the first few episodes, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” may still be making up their minds whether the Amazon-Prime prequel “The Rings of Power” is a worthy successor to the three LOTR films and most important, whether it does justice to J.R.R. Tolkien and his powerful anti-authoritarian themes.

A bust of JRR Tolkien. File photo

But Reason magazine has weighed in with an insightful column that offers a nuanced answer to the question of how faithful is the epic new series to “Tolkien’s Anti-Statism.”

The answer, fans of the Prometheus Hall of Fame-winning trilogy will be happy and relieved to hear, is mostly yes.

Like the LFS members who voted to induct Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy into the Prometheus Hall of Fame in 2009, Reason columnist Christian Britscchgi seems well aware of the ways in which The Lord of the Rings celebrates “freedom against arbitrary government interference.”

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Remembering Tolkien – and his cautionary theme about the lure of power – as Rings of Power series debuts opposite House of Dragons

“Power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Lord Acton    (1834-1902)

“One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all,
and in the darkness bind them.”
– The Ring inscription in The Lord of the Rings

Few Prometheus Award winners incorporate an anti-authoritarian theme with more haunting power than J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the 2009 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

With Amazon Prime recently unveiling its mega-budgeted and long-awaited prequel to Lord of the Rings, this is an apt moment to recall that theme – summed up so well in Lord Acton’s famous dictum and symbolized so archetypically by Tolkien in his “One Ring to rule them all.”

That’s especially timely when Rings of Power offers such a vivid contrast to House of the Dragon, the other super-expensive prequel to another landmark television-adapted fantasy, but one with a much different and more cynical view of power.

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The corruption of absolute power vs. the largely stateless Shire: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the 2009 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, the Libertarian Futurist Society since 2019 has been publishing a series of Appreciations of all past award winners that make clear why they were recognized. Here is our Appreciation for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the 2009 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction:

“Power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton (1834-1902)

“One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all,
and in the darkness bind them.”
– The Ring inscription in The Lord of the Rings

By Michael Grossberg and William H. Stoddard

The Lord of the Rings is not only one of the greatest works of fantasy but also a cautionary libertarian fable about the inevitable temptations of power.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy – a three-part novel (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) published in 1954-1955 – charts a social, political, personal and supernatural struggle between freedom and absolute tyranny.

Continue reading The corruption of absolute power vs. the largely stateless Shire: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the 2009 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Interview: LFS President William H. Stoddard on fandom, freedom, favorite novels and the power of language

Few individuals have made more of a difference to the Libertarian Futurist Society and the Prometheus Awards in the 21st century than William H. Stoddard.

Bill, as he’s known to friends and fellow LFS members, has led the nonprofit, all-volunteer group of freedom-loving sf fans for more than a decade as president of the board of directors.

William H. Stoddard (File photo)

But Stoddard has done far more for many years, writing reviews of sf/fantasy for the Prometheus newsletter and more recently, this blog, and serving for decades as a key judge on both finalist-judging committees for the Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction categories of the Prometheus Award.

Here is LFS Secretary Michael Grossberg’s interview with Stoddard about how he became an sf fan, a libertarian and an active LFS member and what are some of his favorite writers and Prometheus-winning works.

Q: What Prometheus Award winners especially excited you or pleased you when they won for Best Novel?

A: For the Best Novel Award, I’d name two.

Michael Flynn’s In the Country of the Blind (1991 award) asked “what if Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine had come into use in the nineteenth century?” in the form, not of an alternate history, but of a hidden history where multiple secretive groups used predictive social science (made possible by Analytical Engines) to create the actual history of the twentieth century from behind the scenes; it was one of my main influences when I wrote GURPS Steampunk for Steve Jackson Games in 2000.

Continue reading Interview: LFS President William H. Stoddard on fandom, freedom, favorite novels and the power of language

Prometheus winners rank high on the Great American Read list – including Tolkien, Orwell and Rand

By Michael Grossberg

Several Prometheus-winning novels rank high in the Great American Read, suggesting that at least some significant aspects of individualist and libertarian/classical-liberal values remain at the core of popular American and worldwide culture.

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