This year’s nominees for the Prometheus Hall of Fame encompass several genres and types of fiction.
Of the eight works being considered by judges as potential finalists, one is a short story, one a song, one a TV episode, one a collection of linked stories and four are novels – plus, half are first-time nominees.
This year’s line-up of Best Classic Fiction nominees may be the freshest in years as well as the broadest, at least in terms of types of fiction, in the history of this Prometheus awards category, first presented in 1983.
The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Hall of Fame finalist-judging committee, chaired by William H. Stoddard, expects to rank the eight nominees and select a slate of finalists by the end of the year.
Here are the nominees, alphabetized by author:
* The Winter of the World, a 1975 novel by Poul Anderson
* Citizen of the Galaxy, a 1957 novel by Robert Heinlein
* That Hideous Strength, a 1945 novel by C.S. Lewis
* Circus World, a 1981 collection of linked stories by Barry B. Longyear
* Exiles, Volume 1: The Ruins of Ambrai, a 1994 novel by Melanie Rawn
* “The Measure of a Man,” the Feb. 13, 1989 TV episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with screenplay by Melinda Snodgress.
Once the 2022 award finalists are announced – probably by January in a LFS press release and on this blog – all LFS members will have as many as six months to exercise their right and privilege to read/view and rank the finalists to help select the next annual Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
That ballot will go out in late May, along with the Best Novel finalists, with a traditional July 4 voting deadline. The winner will be announced by mid-July, with an award ceremony planned most likely in August at the World Science Fiction Convention.
HISTORY OF THE HALL OF FAME
For historical context, as of 2021, 45 classic works of sf/fantasy have been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
That includes 12 stories or novellas – starting in 2000 with Hans Christian Anderson’s anti-authoritarian fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Among the post-2000 Best Classic Fiction winners are two stories each by Poul Anderson (“No Truce with Kings” and “Sam Hall”), Robert Heinlein (“Requiem” and “Coventry”) and Vernor Vinge (“True Names” and “The Ungoverned”).
Plus, several major authors have been recognized by the Prometheus Awards for the first time through their Hall-of-Fame-winning short fiction – including Harlan Ellison (“’Repent Harlequin!,’ Said the Ticktockman”), E.M. Forster (the novella “The Machine Stops”), Kurt Vonnegut (“Harrison Bergeron”) and Jack Williamson (“With Folded Hands…”).
Most recently, frequent Prometheus winner F. Paul Wilson won the 2021 Best Classic Fiction category for his satirical story “Lipidleggin’.”
Plus, so far in the history of this Prometheus annual category, just one TV series has been inducted (Patrick McGoohan’s surreal individualist “The Prisoner” in 2002) and just one anthology (“The Survival of Freedom,” edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, in 2001).
However, novels dominated the Best Classic Fiction category during its first two decades in the late 20th century.
That includes LFS recognition of such well-known classics as Poul Anderson’s Trader to the Stars, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Eric Frank Russell’s The Great Explosion, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! and F. Paul Wilson’s An Enemy of the State, among others.
While stories and other types of fiction besides novels have always been eligible candidates for Hall of Fame induction since the start of the award, the Libertarian Futurist Society formalized eligibility rules in the 1990s to make clear just how many types of science fiction and fantasy can be recognized, so long as they fit the distinctive pro-liberty and anti-authoritarian focus of the Prometheus Awards.
That includes just about every type of fictional work, so long as it was first published, broadcast or performed at least 20 years ago to allow works to age – like fine wine, ideally – and more perspective to develop about different works’ potential status as emerging classics.
Among the types of fiction eligible for consideration: novels, graphic novels, novellas, short stories, fables, poems, plays, musicals, operas, songs, record albums, films, TV series/episodes, anthologies, trilogies, and other narrative and dramatic forms.
No song, poem, play, musical, opera, or film has been inducted yet into the Hall of Fame – although two films (Serenity and V for Vendetta) have received Special Prometheus Awards – but increasingly, as time goes on, LFS members have been turning their attention to previously overlooked works of many types that, in their considered opinion, have emerged as classics and deserve attention.
Any LFS member may nominate any eligible work of fiction for the Prometheus Awards.
Along with chair William H. Stoddard, the Hall of Fame finalist judges for this 2021-2022 awards cycle are Michael Grossberg, Tom Jackson, Bryan Knight, Tim Kompara, Eric S. Raymond, William H. Stoddard, and A.R. Wasem.
If you have a suggestion for next year, or wish to volunteer to serve as a judge on next year’s Hall of Fame finalist-judging committee, please contact William H. Stoddard at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Read the introductory essay of the LFS’ 40th anniversary retrospective series of Appreciations of past Prometheus Awards winners, with an overview of the awards’ four-decade-plus history, that was launched in 2019 on the 40thanniversary of the awards and continues today.
* Other Prometheus winners: For a full list of winners – 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 all 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.
* 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.