A 1912 story, 1969 novel, 1975 novel, 1978 rock song and 1978 story have been selected by LFS judges as finalists for the 2021 Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
But where can you find them?
Two finalists – the song and a story – are easy to access, being online and free. But one novel is out of print and thus harder to find.
So here is an overview of each 2021 finalist – Poul Anderson’s The Winter of the World, Rudyard Kipling’s story “As Easy as A.B.C.,” Rush’s song “The Trees”, Jack Vance’s novel Emphyrio and F. Paul Wilson’s story “Lipidleggin’” – and the different places and editions and formats where they are available.
In particular, we hope this informal guide will be helpful to Libertarian Futurist Society members, who have the right to nominate works in all Prometheus Award categories and the option to read all Hall of Fame finalists over the next half year and to rank these finalists on their vote in May and June to help select the annual winner.
The Winter of the World, a 1975 novel by Poul Anderson, envisions a distant future Earth whose civilizations are recovering from the destructive impact of an ice age. A rising imperial power based at the future mouth of the Mississippi River seeks to conquer the thinly populated lands to the north and meets unexpected opposition.
Anderson’s novel can be found in a Kindle combined edition: Two Novels of Far-Future Apocalypse: The Winter of the World and Twilight World. (available for $17.99 on Amazon.)
Also, the original 1975 publication is still available on Amazon in hardback (new from $9.99, used from $2.50 and as a collectible from $12), in the 1976paperback (from $3.33 used, and $8.97 as a collectible) and in a mass-market paperback (from $7 new and $2.99 used).
“As Easy as A.B.C.,” a story by Rudyard Kipling (first published in 1912 in London Magazine), the second of his “airship utopia” stories, envisions a twenty-first century world founded on free travel, the rule of law, and an inherited abhorrence of crowds. Officials of the Aerial Board of Control are summoned to the remote town of Chicago, which is convulsed by a small dissident group’s demands for revival of the nearly forgotten institution of (note: non-liberal, majoritarian-tyranny) democracy.
Kipling’s story – available as an Amazon Kindle ($4.99) – has been reprinted in many collections over the decades, including:
A Diversity of Creatures (Doubleday, 1917)
17 X Infinity, ed. Groff Conklin (Dell, 1963)
John Brunner Presents Kipling’s Science Fiction (Tor, 1992)
The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, ed. Tom Shippey, (Oxford University Press, 1992)
The Science Fiction Century, edited by David G. Hartwell (Tor, 1997)
“The Trees,” a song by Rush (released 1978 on their album Hemispheres), presents a fable of envy, revolution, and coercive egalitarianism among the different kinds of trees that make up a forest.
The song can be heard and seen as performed by Rush in this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnC88xBPkkc
The full song lyrics can be found and read by Googling these words: “The Trees” Rush lyrics.
Here is an excerpt from the lyrics:
“There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
And they’re quite convinced they’re right
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light…
… There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream, “oppression”
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
“The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light”
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
Emphyrio, a 1969 dystopian thriller novel by Jack Vance, portrays a world where skilled craftsmen are economically exploited by a state-imposed monopoly that markets their work to off-planet buyers, and prohibits the use of labor-saving devices and mass production. Assuming the name of a legendary hero, a young craftsman struggles against bureaucratic officials and aristocratic rulers, seeking the truth about his society and its history.
This novel is available in several different editions on Amazon (currently priced at $6.60 to $14.99 in paperback, $5.99 on Kindle, and $80 hardcover).
Plus, Emphyrio is available as part of a combined print edition of four classic sf novels: American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1968-1969.
This volume, edited by Gary K. Wolfe, includes Past Master, by R.A. Lafferty; Picnic on Paradise, by Joanna Russ; Nova, by Samuel R. Delany, and Emphyrio, by Vance. According to the description of this edition, Vance’s novel “has been restored to the author’s original text, without later editorial interventions.”
“Lipidleggin’,” a story by F. Paul Wilson (first published 1978 in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), takes a humorous look at a future United States where saturated fats have become controlled substances.
Wilson’s story can also be read free online at this link:
Also, as a reminder, most finalists also can be found at libraries (where if they don’t have a copy, they can obtain one within a few days from another regional library in their network), at both new and used bookstores and of course online from various booksellers. So the above is far from a comprehensive list.
For more information, visit the LFS website’s Prometheus press releases page to read the full LFS press release about the 2021 Hall of Fame finalists.
Happy reading – and happy holidays!
Coming up soon on the Prometheus Blog: An Appreciation of Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction; and H. Beam Piper and John McGuire’s A Planet for Texans (aka Lone Star Planet), the 1999 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner.
* Read the introductory essay about the LFS’ 40th anniversary retrospective series of Appreciations of past Prometheus Awards winners, with an overview of the awards’ four-decade history.
* 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 recently updated and enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website.
* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,”an essay in the June 2020 issue of the international magazine Quintette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the modern sf/fantasy 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. Libertarian futurists believe culture is as vital as politics (and often more productive and fulfilling in the longer run) in spreading positive visions of the future and achieving universal individual rights and a better world (perhaps eventually, worlds) for all.