Author’s update: HarperCollins has published Mania, two-time Best Novel finalist Lionel Shriver’s alternate-history novel critiquing radical egalitarianism

By Michael Grossberg

Maverick bestselling novelist Lionel Shriver is at it again, skewering popular shibboleths of elite culture and critiquing false ideologies through her imaginative and insightful fiction.

Author Lionel Shriver in 2006 Photo: Walnut Whippet, Creative Commons license

Shriver, recognized twice over the past decade as a Prometheus Best Novel finalist, has written Mania, a new 286-page alternate-history novel published April 9 by HarperCollins Publishers.

The publisher’s description highlights a theme that seems promising from the perspective of the Prometheus Awards:

“With echoes of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, told in Lionel Shriver’s inimitable and iconoclastic voice, Mania is a sharp, acerbic, and ruthlessly funny book about the road to a delusional, self-destructive egalitarianism that our society is already on.”

Continue reading Author’s update: HarperCollins has published Mania, two-time Best Novel finalist Lionel Shriver’s alternate-history novel critiquing radical egalitarianism

Tor.com’s new website Reactor worth visiting – and not just for its stories about the Prometheus Award and Prometheus-winning fiction

Tor Published Group, one of the major sf/fantasy publishers, has redesigned and renamed its Tor.com website to reflect the online magazine’s independence and enhanced publisher neutrality.

Libertarian Futurist Society members should keep track of the new website, now named Reactor.

And not only for its broad coverage for 15 years of “SFF (science fiction and fantasy) books and pop culture.

Continue reading Tor.com’s new website Reactor worth visiting – and not just for its stories about the Prometheus Award and Prometheus-winning fiction

British Science Fiction Association Awards’ 2023 long list includes several Prometheus-nominated authors

Prometheus-winning author Charles Stross and Prometheus-finalists Martha Wells and John Scalzi are on the BSFA list.

So is Sandra Newman, author of Julia, the acclaimed sequel to Orwell’s 1984 that’s recently been nominated along with a dozen other 2023 novels for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel.

What list are they on? It’s the fascinating and far-flung long list of nominees for the BSFA Awards, recently announced for works published in 2023.

Sponsored by the British Science Fiction Association, the BSFA awards have been presented annually since 1970 – and can be a harbinger of the Hugos, the Nebulas and other major sf/fantasy awards.

The BSFA awards also overlap to some extent with the Prometheus Awards over the decades, recognizing several of our favorite writers.

Continue reading British Science Fiction Association Awards’ 2023 long list includes several Prometheus-nominated authors

Rabbit Test: Samantha Mill’s story, which swept this past year’s sf awards, has been hailed as libertarian (But that depends on your view of its central issue.)

By Michael Grossberg

One short story swept the major sf awards this past year – including the Hugos, the Nebulas and the Locus awards.

That story is “Rabbit Test,” by Samantha Mills.

According to at least one veteran libertarian sf fan, Mill’s story fits the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Award.

“The well-written story has a strong individual-liberty theme,” said Fred Moulton, a now-retired former LFS leader and Prometheus judge. (And the vast majority of libertarians likely would agree.)

But does it?

Continue reading Rabbit Test: Samantha Mill’s story, which swept this past year’s sf awards, has been hailed as libertarian (But that depends on your view of its central issue.)

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” – Andersen’s fable remains a useful metaphor and illustrative lesson for today

By Michael Grossberg

One of the best choices that LFS members have made in voting annually in the Best Classic Fiction category, in my opinion, was the decision to induct “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in 2000 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless anti-authoritarian parable isn’t merely a fable for children but a cautionary tale for everyone about the presumptions and illusions of power — not to mention the dangers of sheep-like conformity…. lessons that still apply today. (Perhaps especially today.)

Possibly because the Danish author’s 1837 story is often grouped somewhat diminutively with Anderson’s other stories as mere “children’s” literature or perhaps for other reasons, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” often seems to be overlooked or dismissed by contemporary columnists and bloggers as a still-resonant metaphor for the blind spots and knee-jerk tribalism of our increasingly conformist, censorious, culture-cancelling and fearful era.

So it’s a pleasure to come across a relatively rare reference to Andersen’s classic among today’s vast social commentary – moreover, not just a brief reference, but a full column from a regular Substack writer who makes the story central to his insightful and timely themes.

The column is even titled in honor of the fable: “The Emperor’s New Art.”

Continue reading “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – Andersen’s fable remains a useful metaphor and illustrative lesson for today

Who was Prometheus? Writer Virginia Postrel exposes modern misconceptions while highlighting the Greek myth’s pro-liberty, pro-technology themes

“The ancient myth of Prometheus is not a cautionary tale. It is a reminder that technē raises human beings above brutes. It is a myth founded in gratitude.” – Virginia Postrel

By Michael Grossberg

Who was Prometheus?

Despite modern misconceptions and fears, why does the titan of Greek mythology remain a positive and inspiring symbol of freedom, hope, revolution and progress today?

Virginia Postrel – the former Reason-magazine editor and Atlantic and New York Times columnist, and notable author of the seminal The Future and Its Enemies – brilliantly but concisely challenges common contemporary misunderstandings about the Greek legend in a fascinating and insightful essay on her Substack column.

Continue reading Who was Prometheus? Writer Virginia Postrel exposes modern misconceptions while highlighting the Greek myth’s pro-liberty, pro-technology themes

Calling all Murderbot fans: Apple TV+ to stream Martha Wells’ series

Talk about a killer show!

Murderbot, Martha Wells’ popular book series about the diaries of a self-aware robot struggling to overcome his programming to kill, will be adapted into a 10-episode science-fiction drama.

Actor Alexandr Skarsgard (Creative Commons license)

Apple TV+ recently announced plans stream the series, which will star Emmy-winning actor Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood, Battleship, Succession, The Legend of Tarzan, The Northman, The Stand), who also will serve as executive producer.

The news should spark wide interest from sf/fantasy fans, since Well’s bestselling Murderbot Diary books have won both Hugo and Nebula awards – and from LFS members and libertarian futurists, since several books in the series have been nominated for the Prometheus Award.

Continue reading Calling all Murderbot fans: Apple TV+ to stream Martha Wells’ series

A banner year for Prometheus blog interviews: 2023 winner Dave Freer, frequent finalist Karl Gallagher, author/judge John Christmas and the late great James Hogan

By Michael Grossberg

This was an excellent year for interesting and informative interviews with a variety of authors, all worth reading (or rereading.)

Dave Freer with his 2023 Prometheus Awards Best Novel plaque for Cloud-Castles (Photo courtesy of Freer)
James P. Hogan (Creative Commons license)

The Prometheus Blog boasted more posted interviews in 2023 than ever before – most notably, with Australian sf writer Dave Freer, the first individual from the Southern Hemisphere to win a Prometheus award; and with the late great James Hogan, a two-time Prometheus winner for Best Novel.

Continue reading A banner year for Prometheus blog interviews: 2023 winner Dave Freer, frequent finalist Karl Gallagher, author/judge John Christmas and the late great James Hogan

Remembering Tolkien: Columnist hails “LOTR” author as “most important creative mind of the modern age”

By Michael Grossberg

J.R.R. Tolkien, widely hailed as the father of the resurgent “high fantasy” of the modern era, died 50 years ago today.

J.R.R. Tolkien in 1925 (Creative Commons license)

Tolkien, who passed at 81 on Sept. 2, 1973, is remembered by Ed West, who writes about Tolkien’s legacy and increasing influence today in his timely Substack column Wrong Side of History.

With Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings having been inducted in 2009 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction, LFS members certainly remember and admire Tolkien.

But in his striking and thought-provoking column, West praises Tolkien in extraordinary ways – perhaps even more highly than do libertarians, who admire the British author for the mythic world-building, rich storytelling and poignant themes of his cautionary libertarian fable about the inevitable temptations and corruptions of absolute power.

West goes so far as to call Tolkien “the most important creative mind of the modern age.”

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Guess the Prometheus-winning favorite: Reason Magazine’s new crossword features LFS in a clue

Reason Magazine has started a weekly crossword. The second puzzle starts with this clue for 1 across:

1. With 19-across, sci-fi author beloved of the Libertarian Futurist Society

Before clicking on the link above, take a moment to have fun and guess which author is being referred to in Reason’s latest libertarian-themed crossword puzzle.

Continue reading Guess the Prometheus-winning favorite: Reason Magazine’s new crossword features LFS in a clue