Cycles of liberty, deaths, rebirths and new generations: LFS President frames the 2023 Prometheus Awards with historical perspective

Introduction: As part of our series of posts about the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, which aired live internationally Aug. 19, 2023, here is the transcript of the sobering but inspiring remarks of the ceremony’s emcee, Libertarian Futurist Society President William H. Stoddard:

William H. Stoddard, LFS President (File photo)

By William H. Stoddard

Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2023 Prometheus Awards presentation. I’m William H. Stoddard, president of the Libertarian Futurist Society.

The purpose of the Prometheus Awards is to recognize works in the fantastic literary genres — science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternative history, dystopia, and others — with pro-liberty themes.

The awards have been given every year since 1982; we are now in our fifth decade.

Sadly, the twenty-first century has seen the deaths of many of our award winners.

Poul Anderson (Creative Commons license)

Poul Anderson died in 2001, shortly after he received the first award for lifetime achievement.

Recent years have seen the passing of Brad Linaweaver, Victor Milan, J. Neil Schulman, and L. Neil Smith — many of the outstanding names in libertarian science fiction.

Sarah Hoyt, the 2011 Prometheus winner (File photo)

But this century has also seen the emergence of a new generation of libertarian science fiction writers, including Travis Corcoran, Sarah Hoyt, and Dani and Eytan Kollin.

Travis Corcoran wins his first Prometheus Award Photo: Courtesy of author




When the Prometheus Awards began, the cultural climate was one of increased support for liberty: for free minds, free markets, and the subordination of government to law.

But the United States sees recurrent outbreaks of unrestrained governmental power, such as the bipartisan Progressivism of the early twentieth century, which gave us press censorship, the prohibition of alcohol and other drugs, and forced sterilizations, or the New Deal, which created the administrative state.

This new century faces another such outbreak, when liberty is once again threatened.

But we are also seeing increasing resistance to that threat.

Prometheus depicted in a 1762 sculpture in the Louvre by Nicolas-Sebastien Adam (Creative Commons license)

And this is a time when the Prometheus Award is more urgently needed.

The LFS is founded on the idea that culture comes before politics; that we need visions of liberty, and authors who can provide them.

In giving recognition to such authors, the Prometheus Award supports the continued survival of libertarian science fiction, and, we may hope, of liberty itself.

Note: Read more about the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony in recent Prometheus Blog posts, which include reports and transcripts of the acceptance speeches of Best Novel winner Dave Freer (for Cloud-Castles) and of Heinlein Prize Trust president Art Dula and Heinlein Society President John Tilden (for Robert Heinlein’s story “Free Men”).

Other posts include the transcripts of awards-ceremony speeches by Best Novel presenter Sarah Hoyt and LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg.


* Prometheus winners: For the full list of Prometheus winners, finalists and nominees – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website, which now includes convenient links to the full set of published appreciation-reviews of past winners.

* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the evolution of the modern genre.

Watch  videos of past Prometheus Awards ceremonies, Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussions with noted sf authors and leading libertarian writers, and other LFS programs on the Prometheus Blog’s Video page.

Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.

Libertarian futurists believe that culture matters! We understand that the arts and literature can be vital, and in some ways even more powerful than politics in the long run, by sparking innovation, better ideas, positive social change, and mutual respect for each other’s rights, individuality and human dignity.

Published by

Michael Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been an arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Michael has won Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio and Best Arts Reporting (seven times). He's written for Reason, Libertarian Review and Backstage weekly; helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades; and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword for J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among books he recommends from a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist & How Innovation Works, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

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