* A mythologized historical fable of the cyclic struggle for civilization by a world-renowned British-born Indian-American novelist.
* An Afrofuturist science-fiction story of oligarchy and resistance by an African-born and American-raised writer.
* And the latest sequel in a post-apocalyptic dystopian wild-west Texas saga of genetic manipulation and individualistic resilience by a Texas writer.
Those are just three of 17 wide-ranging sf/fantasy novels published in 2023 and nominated for the next Prometheus Award – a sample of the remarkable variety in subjects, themes, genres and styles possible in stories that explore in different ways pro-liberty, anti-tyranny, anti-slavery or other anti-authoritarian themes.
Here is Part 4 of the Prometheus Blog guide to the Best Novel nominees, with capsule descriptions to whet your appetite for Salman Rushdie’s Victory City, C.T. Rwizi’s House of Gold and R.H. Snow’s Trail of Travail.
What makes an sf/fantasy novel eligible for nomination for a Prometheus Award?
How many different types of genres, styles and themes can fit the distinctive dual focus of the Prometheus Award – at once literary in quality and thematic in libertarian/anti-authoritarian substance?
To help illuminate such questions anew, the Prometheus Blog is presenting a series of posts offering capsule descriptions of the 17 2023 novels nominated for the 44th Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
We hope this guide will help the public better understand the specific focus and broad scope of our award, one of the oldest continually presented after the Hugo and the Nebula awards.
In addition, we hope these descriptions will stimulate interest in reading these diverse novels among Libertarian Futurist Society members, other freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans and the general public.
Part Two includes capsule descriptions, alphabetized by author, of four Best Novel nominees: Devon Eriksen’s Theft of Fire, Karl K. Gallagher’s Swim Among the People, Dr. Insensitive Jerk’s God’s Girlfriend, and Howard Andrew Jones’ Lord of a Shattered Land.
Libertarian Futurist Society members have made 17 nominations for the Best Novel category of the next Prometheus Award.
Of the authors whose works are nominated, a majority are being recognized for the first time by the LFS and the Prometheus Awards.
Ten novelists are being recognized for the first time with Prometheus nominations. Listed in alphabetical order, those authors are Stephen Albrecht, Devon Eriksen, Howard Andrew Jones, Naomi Kritzer, Paul Lynch, Sandra Newman, Salman Rushdie, C. T. Rwizi, Fenton Wood and Alan Zimm.
Every year, when the Libertarian Futurist Society announces its Prometheus finalists in press releases, the two leading science-fiction/fantasy trade publications and other influential media cover it well – and promptly.
Happily, such positive coverage has occurred again this year, all within 24 hours of the LFS press release going out to the media.
Almost four dozen classic works of science fiction and fantasy have been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame, first presented four decades ago in 1983.
Libertarian Futurist Society members will select the next Best Classic Fiction inductee from four finalists, all first published or released more than 20 years ago.
The 2024 Hall of Fame finalists – just announced to the media in an LFS press release that’s already been reported on in full by File 770, a leading sf-industry trade publication – is varied in artistic form (including three novels and one song) and in its balance of the old and the new.
The current finalist slate, selected from 10 works of fiction (novels, stories and song) nominated by LFS members, recognizes both a first-time nominee and several stalwart candidates that have found favor with judges and voters in recent years.
With the late great Robert Heinlein having won more Prometheus Awards than any other author (including in 2023 for his story “Free Men,” inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame), LFS members and other Heinlein fans naturally should be interested in finding out more about organizations working to sustain his legacy.
One of the most notable, visible and interesting groups is the Heinlein Prize Trust, established by Virginia (Ginny) Heinlein soon after her husband’s death in 1988.
Since then, the organization has published several books furthering commercial development in outer space, reprinted Heinlein’s entire body of writing in a deluxe leather-bound 46-volume edition, published graphic novels of two Heinlein classics and completed the preservation of Heinlein’s writings and memorabilia in a comprehensive digital archive.
Perhaps the most promising and newsworthy developments are the Trust’s recent efforts to make Heinlein’s stories and novels available around the world – including in countries under dictatorships.
“Only 15 to 20 percent of the world can be considered free, under even the most liberal interpretation of that world. That mans that about 80 percent of the world population today lives under an authoritarian government,” said Art Dula, primary trustee of the Heinlein Trust.
Why is government, by its nature, a distinctive threat to freedom?
LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg strived to answer that question in his speech introducing the Best Novel category of the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
BY MICHAEL GROSSBERG
The Prometheus Awards, one of the oldest fan-based sf/fantasy awards after the Hugos and Nebulas, are unique in recognizing speculative fiction that dramatizes the sadly perennial conflict between liberty and power.
As a journalist and arts critic for five decades, I can testify to the importance of awards in raising the visibility of valuable and rewarding works that might otherwise be overlooked.