The Prometheus Interview: 2022 winner Wil McCarthy on Rich Man’s Sky, Heinlein and his return from hiatus

SF author Wil McCarthy, the 2022 Prometheus Best Novel winner for Rich Man’s Sky, took a long hiatus from writing science fiction, but now he’s back – and happy to answer a few questions about his work.

In the first part of this two-part interview, McCarthy explains why he went on hiatus, admires Robert Heinlein and reads the leading libertarian magazine Reason every day.

SF writer Wil McCarthy Photo courtesy of author

Q: You’ve written quite a few sf novels and stories. Why did you go on hiatus and what have you written since you returned?

A: I took a long hiatus from writing to run a tech start-up, among other things. When I came back, the first thing I did was write two novellas, the second of which ended up winning the AnLab award.

Then I wrote two novels, the second of which is Rich Man’s Sky, so it’s nice to see people actually taking notice.  It’s a nice way to ease back in.

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Origin Story: What Heinlein’s previously unseen fiction and never-produced TV series reveal about his libertarian classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

By William H. Stoddard

In the current century, publishers have brought out previously unseen material by Robert Heinlein.

Some of it is simply alternate versions of familiar novels, such as Podkayne of Mars, The Puppet Masters, Red Planet, and Stranger in a Strange Land.

But we’ve also see works that he didn’t publish, but that he later quarried for the material of later works: For Us, the Living, which supplied a secondary character to Beyond This Horizon and several thematic elements to the Future History, and The Pursuit of the Pankera, which was radically rewritten to give us The Number of the Beast.

With the compilation of the Virginia Edition, not only all of Heinlein’s previously published works have been made available, but various less known ones, such as decades of his letters. Among these are various ventures into scriptwriting for movies and television. Destination Moon is well known, but his proposals for television series were never produced, and only with the Virginia Edition have they become available.

The last of these, Century XXII, was mainly worked on in 1963, and he abandoned it in 1964 after clashes with Howie Horowitz, who proposed the project to him. After that, Heinlein gave up on writing for film and television as a waste of time. But Century XXII casts some light onto Heinlein’s later writing, and especially onto The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, generally regarded as one of his best novels and more specifically as the prototype of libertarian science fiction.

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Author Sarah Hoyt announces new edition of her Prometheus-winning novel Darkship Thieves

Sarah Hoyt has announced a new edition of her Prometheus-Award winning novel Darkship Thieves.

Released through Goldport Press after Hoyt’s reclaiming the rights from Baen Books, Darkship Thieves has now been produced in both print and ebook formats.

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Attending cons and thinking outside the box: Part 2 of the Prometheus interview with writer Leslie Fish

Here is the second half of the Prometheus Blog interview with author-songwriter Leslie Fish.

Fish, interviewed by journalist and blog editor Michael Grossberg, won the 2014 Special Prometheus Award for her novella “Tower of Horses” (published in the Music of Darkover anthology) and related filk-song “The Horseman’s Daughter.”

LFS: Did science fiction and fantasy have a major influence on how you developed your views of the world?

Fish: Yes, if only by leading me to think outside the box, and to always ask “What if?”

LFS: How did your anarchist and anti-statist views evolve?

Fish: I learned early on to throw out the muddy ideas of “socialism”… from my observation of the real world.  I saw for myself that in a free society people will voluntarily gather into interest groups to achieve what they want, and no “force-propped authority” is necessary to make them do it.

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Self-reliance, liberty and sf: The Prometheus interview with author-singer-songwriter Leslie Fish

“(In sf fandom), the Prometheus is now considered third place after the Hugo and Nebula.” — author-songwriter Leslie Fish

Here is the first part of the Prometheus Blog interview with Leslie Fish, the Prometheus-winning author and songwriter.
Fish, interviewed by journalist and blog editor Michael Grossberg, won a 2014 Special Prometheus Award for her novella “Tower of Horses” and related filk-song “The Horseman’s Daughter.”

Leslie Fish, playing the guitar and singing her songs (Creative Commons license)

LFS: You’ve said a lot of your stories and songs contain libertarian themes. What attracts you to such themes and what kinds of stories do you find best reflect those themes?

Fish: It’s more a case of the ideas being part of me and therefore coloring all my work.  I’ve noticed the nostalgic medievalism of most published Fantasy stories, and the socialistic assumptions of a lot of Science Fiction, and it tends to annoy me, so I tend to write songs and stories that push in the opposite direction.  I’m surprised by how much of my own work is reactive, in this way.

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Libertarian sf authors Travis Corcoran, F. Paul Wilson to speak at the Aug. 13, 2022 online Prometheus Awards ceremony

Two well-known libertarian science fiction authors, each recent winners of Prometheus Awards, have been confirmed as VIP presenters at the next  Prometheus Awards ceremony in 2022.

Sf novelist Travis Corcoran (Photo courtesy of author)

Authors Travis Corcoran and F. Paul Wilson, both multiple Prometheus Award winners, have graciously agreed to each present one of the two annual awards categories at the online event, set for 2-3 p.m. Saturday (EDT) August 13, 2022.

F. Paul Wilson. Photo courtesy of author

LFS President William H. Stoddard, who chairs the Hall of Fame finalist judging committee, will emcee the hour-long Zoom-produced awards show and introduce Wilson.

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The 2022 Hugo nominations highlight a current Prometheus nominee

The Hugo awards and the Prometheus awards are different in focus, but occasionally overlap.

This year, the overlap is minimal but worth mentioning: In their respective Best Novel categories, one 2021 work has been recognized at some level by both awards.

Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir’s sf novel, is one of six Best Novel finalists in the Hugo Awards, presented nearly annually since 1953 by sf fans attending or supporting the World Science Fiction convention.

Weir’s novel was also one of 16 works nominated this past year for the Best Novel category of the Prometheus Awards.

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A free (or very cheap) L. Neil Smith ebook from Arc Manor


L. Neil Smith’s SF mystery, Their Majesties’ Bucketeers, normally a $6 Kindle ebook, is being offered as a free or very cheap ebook by publisher Arc Manor.

It’s listed as 99 cents, and I paid it, but you have the option of changing the price to free. It was supposed to be the May book under the publisher’s monthly program, but the email wasn’t sent out until May 17, and I was still able to snag it on June 2.

The offer will expire when a new one is posted, so if you want the deal, I’d hurry. Smith of course was a libertarian SF author who founded the Prometheus Awards. 

Sign up for similar email offers at the publisher’s website.

(If you have trouble with any link, just visit the Arc Manor website directly at www.arcmanorbooks.com and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the free novel – your choice of a Mobi or ePub file – and signing up for the monthly free ebooks from this publisher.)

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The recurring Orwellian threat: Nineteen Eighty-Four, an early Prometheus Hall of Fame winner, sadly retains its relevance and resonance today

By Michael Grossberg
Almost three quarters of a century after the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the influence and prophetic power of George Orwell hasn’t faded.

Quite the contrary.

George Orwell, in his 1943 press card portrait (Creative Commons license)

With the rise of “cancel culture” and various online-sparked mob panics increasingly common in our so-called enlightened modern era and with such dystopian experiments as the recent failed roll-out of the current administration’s “Disinformation Governance Board,” it’s become virtually impossible to read informed commentary across a broad spectrum of opinion magazines and columnists without coming across Orwellian references and warnings these days.

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Author update: Wil McCarthy writing sequels to Best Novel finalist Rich Man’s Sky

Rich Man’s Sky, one of five 2022 Best Novel finalists currently competing for the Prometheus Award, will have a sequel.

Actually, two!

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