From his first stories published in Astounding Science Fiction to such late novels as Friday and Job, Robert Heinlein was recognized as an outstanding science fiction writer.
For many of us, though, our introduction to his writing, and often to science fiction as a genre, came from the twelve novels he published through Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Categorized as “juvenile” and aimed at an audience ranging from boys in junior high school to young men in the armed forces, these books in fact speak to a far wider audience, and are more sophisticated both in literary technique and in the ideas they present, than almost any other boys’ books and indeed than many books for adults.
And those ideas are often relevant to libertarian concerns.
“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.
In his apt introduction and presentation of the Prometheus Hall of Fame category at the recent 2022 Prometheus Awards ceremony, LFS President William H. Stoddard explains why this annual awards category is such an important part of the Libertarian Futurist Society’s awards program – and why this year’s inductee by Robert Heinlein is so deserving of recognition.
The late great Robert Heinlein has received his eighth Prometheus Awards recognition over more than four decades, with his 1957 novel Citizen of the Galaxy recently inducted into the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Hall of Fame.
Although Heinlein passed in 1988, his fans are fortunate to have two organizations carrying on his legacy in related and cooperative ways: the Heinlein Trust, established by his wife Ginny after his death, and the Heinlein Society.
Art Dula, Trustee of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust, gave an eloquent and informative extemporaneous speech accepting the 2022 Prometheus Hall of Fame award in Heinlein’s name and memory. Like the entire 40-minute ceremony, broadcast and recorded Aug. 13 on Zoom, Dula’s speech is available to watch on YouTube.*
Meanwhile, John Tilden, president of the Heinlein Society, followed Dula in delivering an interesting and insightful second acceptance speech, for which we do have the text, which we share here for posterity:
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.
“(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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)