Two-time Prometheus winner Michael F. Flynn has died

We are sorry to have to report that science fiction writer Michael F. Flynn has died. He was 75. Here is the obituary from  his local newspaper in Pennsylvania. 

Mr. Flynn won the Prometheus Award twice, in 1991 for In the Country of the Blind, and in 1992 for Fallen Angels (a collaboration with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle).

In the Country of the Blind offers a suspenseful and pioneering “steampunk”-style adventure story that weaves in the use of Victorian technology and social transformation with a secret history, acquiring “libertarian implications in its portrayal of lost freedom of choice,” according to William H. Stoddard’s Prometheus Blog appreciation of the 1991 Prometheus Best Novel winner.

Fallen Angels, meanwhile, focuses on a group of individualistic, science-loving and freedom-loving misfits in a future in which the government has turned anti-science and anti-technology in a coalition among Greens, feminists and religious fundamentalists.

The novel’s title refers to two astronauts from NASA’s stranded and closed-down space station who fall to earth while on one of their desperate flights to beef up the station’s diminishing gas supplies by scooping up nitrogen gases from the Earth’s outer atmosphere.

For more about the 1992 Prometheus Best Novel winner, read the Prometheus Blog appreciation.

Flynn (1947-2023) was nominated numerous other times for the Prometheus Award and for the Hugo Award.

Flynn’s other Prometheus-recognized novels include The January Dancer, a 2009 Best Novel finalist; Falling Stars, a 2002 Best Novel finalist; Lodestar, a 2001 Best Novel finalist; Rogue Star, a 1999 Best Novel finalist; and Firestar, a 1997 Best Novel finalist.

Flynn, who died on Sept. 30, 2023, was the first winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Medal.

Among his other novels: Eifelheim, The Wreck of the River of Stars and his Spiral Arm Series (including The January Dancer, Up Jim River, In the Lion’s Mouth and On the Razor’s Edge.)

Much of Flynn’s short fiction was published in Analog magazine. His novelette “House of Dreams” won a Theodore Sturgeon Award in 1998. His short-story collections include The Nanotech Chronicles, The Forest of Time and other stories, and Captive Dreams.

His new novel In the Belly of the Whale will appear in May 2024. 

That perhaps-final Flynn work may well end up a contender for another Prometheus Award – based on the libertarian themes outlined in the book’s description on Amazon:

“In the Belly of the Whale is a gripping epic that takes readers on a profound voyage through time and space aboard an enormous generation ship. The narrative captures the poignant transformation of Earth’s finest minds into a stifling regime, their rigid rules sparking an uprising among the hard-pressed crew.

This provocative tale delves into the price of freedom, the metamorphosis of societies, and the repeating patterns of tyranny and liberation. Against this, Earth itself is undergoing a significant period of change, offering a layered, thought-provoking backdrop to the story.

In the Belly of the Whale is a compelling exploration of humanity’s enduring pursuit of freedom, pushing the boundaries of the genre to offer a deeply insightful study of societal evolution and individual resilience. This is more than a space odyssey; it’s an invitation to delve into the heart of the human spirit and societal dynamics.”

See the Wikipedia biography for more details.


* 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 elements of libertarian sf/fantasy in the evolution of the modern genre.

Watch  videos of past Prometheus Awards ceremonies (including the recent 2023 ceremony with inspiring and amusing speeches by Prometheus-winning authors Dave Freer and Sarah Hoyt),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.

2 thoughts on “Two-time Prometheus winner Michael F. Flynn has died”

  1. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. Michael, your posts on these great Authors is so important, and allows us to see them in a uniquely personal way. I know so many are friends of yours; to you, and everyone who knew Michael Flynn, we send our love and condolences. Thank you for sharing his works and his life with us!

    1. Thanks so much, R.H.
      I did know some of the Prometheus-winning authors who have passed, but never met Flynn, though I’m a huge fan of his work.
      Actually, veteran journalist and LFS member Tom Jackson is the one who first spotted the sad news of Flynn’s death and took the initiative to post the news on the Prometheus Blog.
      Tom has often done that, since as a journalist he tends to stay daily in the current of news – and we appreciate his many timely blog posts.

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