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.
Art Dula, primary trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust, spoke eloquently about the life and legacy of Robert Heinlein during the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
During his acceptance speech for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Heinlein’s story “Free Men,” Dula read excerpts from – and commented on – one of the Grand Master’s most interesting but little-known letters, written over several months but completed Feb. 27, 1947.
“It’s a remarkable early document in Heinlein’s life,” Dula said.
John Tilden, president of The Heinlein Society, spoke Aug. 19 during the 2023 Prometheus Awards ceremony to accept the Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction for Robert Heinlein’s short story “Free Men.”
Tilden spoke eloquently about Heinlein’s legacy in general and about the setting and themes of his winning story in particular, while shedding some fascinating light on its provenance and place in Heinlein’s Future History series.
For the record, here is a transcript of Tilden’s speech:
BY JOHN TILDEN
It is my pleasure to provide a few remarks on this occasion of Robert Heinlein’s short story “Free Men” being inducted into the Prometheus Award’s Hall of Fame. I add my thanks to the Libertarian Futurist Society for this honor.
At the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, past Best Novel winner Sarah Hoyt (Darkship Thieves) presented the Best Novel category to Australian/Tasmanian writer Dave Freer for Cloud-Castles.
Hoyt was the ideal Best Novel presenter this year, since Freer and Hoyt have been friends for years and Freer has said he considers her his best friend in the United States.
The 2023 ceremony aired via Zoom Aug. 19, 2023, to an international audience and is available to watch on Youtube and the LFS website’s Video page. For those who prefer to read, here is the full transcript of Hoyt’s speech:
Before I begin, I should warn any possible spectators that yes, this is my real (Portuguese-American) accent. In fact, this Prometheus award ceremony will probably go down in history as the battle of the accents, between mine and Dave’s and whatever else the rest of you try to bring to the table. (I dare you.)
Also I must warn everyone that we might have an impromptu appearance by the very fuzzy Havelock-cat, or his buddy, the ginger beasty Indy cat.
Since, as Heinlein put it, cats are free citizens, they should be right at home.
I can’t express how strange it is to be presenting the same award that marked the most important moment of my career to one of my best writing buddies, one who has walked with me through all the hard points, and celebrated with me at all the high points.
How does culture and politics affect science fiction?
Why do the Prometheus Awards matter – perhaps more today than ever?
All those intriguing questions were explored by a variety of authors, leaders and sf fans in the recent 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
Airing live Aug. 19, 2023, to an international audience, the hourlong ceremony honored Dave Freer, winner of the 2023 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles, and the late great Robert Heinlein, whose 1966 story “Free Men” was inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
Here is the video of the 43rd Prometheus Awards ceremony:
Following the recently posted first part of Dave Freer’s 2023 Best Novel acceptance speech, here is the conclusion, in which the 2023 Prometheus winner describes his winning novel Cloud-Castles, how it reflects Australia’s outback culture and why he wrote it.
BY DAVE FREER
Cloud-Castles was born out of a libertarian to outright anarchist concept: that the best defense of liberty is the ability to leave any form of bondage easily.
Autocracies inevitably have barriers to keep people IN. The freer the society… the less they care if you leave. In fact, if anything, they have to try and keep themselves from being swamped by people who want in.
Editor’s introduction: Dave Freer, 2023 Prometheus winner for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles, is the first author from the Southern Hemisphere to win a Prometheus Award.
An Australian who lives in Tasmania, Freer delivers his acceptance speech from Cambridge, England, where he was visiting his son. Freer’s speech was part of the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, which aired live Aug. 19 internationally via Zoom, with Prometheus-winning author Sarah Hoyt presenting Freer with his award. Here is the transcript of his speech:
BY DAVE FREER
Firstly, I would like to apologise for my accent. I come from a polyglot of origins, or, as rural Australians would yell it, “Yer a bloody mongrel, yer drongo.”
That’s a very accurate description, as it allows for hybrid vigour, and no pretentions of grandeur or delusions of good behaviour. I do feel rather like the scruffy mongrel who has slipped the leash, stolen a slab of bacon and a string of sausages from a butcher’s shop, and run, hotly pursued, into the midst of the hallowed halls of the Crufts dog show. There I have jumped up onto the winner’s podium, panting and grinning, to enjoy my ill-gotten gains, while the judges and former winners look on in horror.
“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, co-authors of The Unincorporated Man, the 2010 Prometheus Awardwinner for Best Novel, from their Prometheus acceptance speech
Australian writer Dave Freer had some interesting thoughts about the Greek God Prometheus and Robert Heinlein after learning that his novel Cloud-Castles has won the 2023 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
“According to Aeschylus, (Prometheus) caused blind hope to live in the hearts of men (a goal of my writing if ever had one),” Freer wrote in “Prometheus Bound,” his latest post on the Mad Genius Club blog.
“A trickster who stole fire from the gods for man and pushed them towards science and technology, as well deceiving the powers-that-be (Zeus) of the day, into choosing the rubbish which looks good on the outside, instead of the good that looks rubbish on the outside… he’s my sort of guy,” Freer said.
The Libertarian Futurist Society invited two-time Prometheus winner Travis Corcoran to discuss the importance of libertarian science fiction in his speech as presenter of the 2022 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
Here Is the text of Corcoran’s speech, delivered on Aug. 13 as part of the Zoom awards ceremony, marking the 40th anniversary of the LFS.
(Corcoran presented the Best Novel award to Wil McCarthy for Rich Man’s Sky; the Hall of Fame award went to Robert Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy,)
By Travis Corcoran
The state of written science fiction in 2022 is a bit like the state of western civilization: under assault from all sides, hollowed out, a pale shadow of what it once was.
The soldiers who once defended our grand city have been defeated.
There are invaders inside the gates, cavorting, aping their betters,and desecrating the ancient and sacred temples.
The great bazaars are empty and only a few small peddlers haunt the windy streets.
Most of the citizens who built the city, stone by stone, have been either felled by old age or have wandered away. A few still act as if nothing has changed, but without the support of the great publishers and the cheers of the crowd, the performance rings hollow.