An allegorical fable about the beastly consequences of communism and coercive egalitarianism: George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the 2011 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.

 To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade-plus history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work of sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society has been publishing since 2019 a series of Appreciations of all past award-winners.

Here is an Appreciation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the 2011 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg

The title of the allegorical work may make Animal Farm sound like a children’s fable, but it isn’t.

Oh, the short novel certainly can – and probably should – be read by teenagers and more mature younger readers, who likely will enjoy it and also grasp its perennial theme about the corruptions of power and the absolute corruption of absolute power.

Yet, the cautionary themes of George Orwell’s enduring 1945 work truly are aimed at adults.
Continue reading An allegorical fable about the beastly consequences of communism and coercive egalitarianism: George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the 2011 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.

War, centralization and good intentions gone wrong: Poul Anderson’s story “No Truce with Kings,” the 2010 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s ongoing Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, offers review-essays of past award-winners that aim to make clear why they merit recognition as pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian.

Here is an Appreciation for Poul Anderson’s story, “No Truce with Kings,” the 2010 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By William H. Stoddard

In David Friedman’s first book, the libertarian classic The Machinery of Freedom, the first entry in the bibliography describes Poul Anderson’s “No Truce with Kings”: “A libertarian novelette that plays fair. The bad guys are good guys too. But wrong.”

Continue reading War, centralization and good intentions gone wrong: Poul Anderson’s story “No Truce with Kings,” the 2010 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

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

Power, empire, time travel and liberty: A review of The Collected Short Stories of Poul Anderson, Volume 1

By Anders Monsen

book cover

Between 2009 and 2014 NESFA press published seven volumes of short fiction and poetry by Poul Anderson in handsome hardcover editions for around $30 each.

These volumes were still available from the NESFA website, at least when I purchased them years ago, with volume seven released in 2017 as the final volume in the series. The stories do not appear chronologically.

Anderson, who has won several Prometheus Awards for best novel, four Hall of Fame awards, and a Lifetime Special Award, was a prolific writer who published his first science fiction story in 1947, some months before his twenty-first birthday.

He wrote fiction for more than half a century, so while these six volumes by no means collect all his short fiction, they contain a treasure trove for any fan of his fiction.

Continue reading Power, empire, time travel and liberty: A review of The Collected Short Stories of Poul Anderson, Volume 1

Tycoon flying to the Moon? Private space programs have the last laugh, inspired by Robert Heinlein’s “Requiem,” the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, makes clear why each award-winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work.

Here’s an appreciation for “Requiem,” Robert Heinlein’s short story, the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Eric S. Raymond

For a good 40 years – between 1957 and 1997 – the premise of Robert Heinlein’s 1940 short story “Requiem” looked dated and quaint, almost laughable.  Private space programs?  A tycoon flying to the moon? Absurd!  For those were the decades in which everyone was sure that space programs had to be vast government-run leviathans.

The Old Man had the last laugh.  In the new millennium government-run spaceflight is moribund; all the action is at companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. It is now the era of government-run-space programs that is beginning to look quaint, as the political will to push them evaporated with the end of Cold War competition in 1992.

But this story, and the related “The Man Who Sold The Moon”, resembles today’s reality in a way that is more than coincidence.

Continue reading Tycoon flying to the Moon? Private space programs have the last laugh, inspired by Robert Heinlein’s “Requiem,” the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Love, liberty, longevity and Lazarus Long: Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

As part of the Libertarian Futurist Society’s series of review-essays of past Prometheus award-winners making clear why each winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work, here’s an Appreciation of Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, inducted into the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg

Who has time enough for Time Enough for Love?
For starters, fans of Robert Heinlein do – despite the epic novel’s length.

So do freedom-lovers who understand that freedom itself is a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite for human flourishing, human happiness and the fulfillment possible in life largely through love, family, creativity and achievement.

Continue reading Love, liberty, longevity and Lazarus Long: Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

There and back again: Robert Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children, the 1997 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

As part of the Libertarian Futurist Society series of review-essays of past award-winners making clear why each winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work, here’s an Appreciation of Robert Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children, inducted in 1997 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

By Anders Monsen

Robert A. Heinlein stands as an unrivaled Titan of libertarian science fiction. His influence runs deep, from the many of the writers recognized by the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus and Prometheus Hall of Fame awards, to the LFS members who’ve awarded Heinlein’s works multiple times, as well as this writer.

I still remember when I encountered for the first time such novels as The Puppet Masters, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Red Planet, Podkayne of Mars, as well as short stories like “Coventry,” “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag,” “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” and “Waldo,” to name just a few.

Methuselah’s Children, inducted by the LFS in 1997 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame, is a short novel by today’s standards, yet it manages to squeeze multiple plots and ideas into just over 150 pages.

Continue reading There and back again: Robert Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children, the 1997 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

An early “juvie” adventure in liberty on a Wild West Mars: Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, the 1996 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

As part of the Libertarian Futurist Society Appreciation series of past award-winners, here is our Appreciation for Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, the 1996 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:

By Anders Monsen

Many of Robert Heinlein’s novels featuring children have been lumped together and called “juvies” (or juveniles), as if they are children’s books. But, just like many Disney or Pixar animated movies, there are aspects of these works that go over the heads of a younger audience, whether those teens read the books as they first were published in the 1940s or 1950s, or whether they’re read today.

Red Planet, first published in 1949, is significant in terms of Heinlein’s bibliography, both as being one of the earliest juvies, and also because it introduces elements of Martian mythology that later appeared in Stranger in a Strange Land .

Ostensibly an adventure story centered around two boys on the run from an oppressive schoolmaster and conniving colony governor on Mars, Red Planet has two other themes or threads that elevate the novel beyond an adventure story. And make no mistake, this is written as an adventure story, with trials and tribulations that propel the action, for both the young and adult characters.

Continue reading An early “juvie” adventure in liberty on a Wild West Mars: Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, the 1996 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

War, appeasement, and what might be the first gay alien in sf: Poul Anderson’s The Star Fox, the 1995 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

To celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of all past award-winners.
Here’s an appreciation for Poul Anderson’s The Star Fox, the 1995 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:

By Michael Grossberg
War and appeasement are central subjects in Poul Anderson’s The Star Fox, a space adventure that includes what may be the first gay alien in sf literature.

Set in an interstellar human future with the narrative laced with songs in different languages, the 1965 novel explores the challenges of surviving and fighting an alien occupation of one of Earth’s first extra-solar space colonies.

The inventive narrative centers on Gunnar Heim, a patriotic human man and ex-Navy space captain striving as a pioneer to build a civilized society on an unusual new planet full of walking forests and haunted by surreal citizens.

Continue reading War, appeasement, and what might be the first gay alien in sf: Poul Anderson’s The Star Fox, the 1995 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

KYFHO, economics and libertarian revolution in a plausible interstellar future: F. Paul Wilson’s Healer and An Enemy of the State, the 1990-1991 Prometheus Hall of Fame winners

To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing Appreciations of past award-winners that make clear why each deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work.
Here is a combined Appreciation of F. Paul Wilson’s Healer, the 1990 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner, and Wilson’s An Enemy of the State, the 1991 Hall of Fame winner.

“There used to be high priests to explain the ways of the king – who was the state – to the masses. Religion is gone, and so are kings. But the state remains, as do the high priests in the guise of Advisors, Secretaries of Whatever Bureau, public relations people, and sundry apologists. Nothing changes.”– From THE SECOND BOOK OF KYFHO

By Michael Grossberg

When the first Prometheus Award was presented in 1979 to F. Paul Wilson for Wheels within Wheels, few realized that the sf mystery novel was an absorbing piece of what would become a much larger future-history saga.

Together with Wheels within Wheels, An Enemy of the State and Healer– respectively the 1990 and 1991 Prometheus Hall of Fame inductees for Best Classic Fiction – form one of the most libertarian sf trilogies ever written.

Set in a positive but realistically flawed interstellar future in which human beings have spread among the stars, the LaNague Federation trilogy focuses on an imperialist central State and empire that is toppled by  Peter LaNague, a far-sighted revolutionary who abjures violence in favor of a subtle, long-term plan based on a sophisticated understanding of economics, markets, money and inflation.

Continue reading KYFHO, economics and libertarian revolution in a plausible interstellar future: F. Paul Wilson’s Healer and An Enemy of the State, the 1990-1991 Prometheus Hall of Fame winners