Check out the Atlas Society’s animated Atlas Shrugged video

Have you seen the Atlas Society’s animated video highlighting Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged?

The video, which has received more than 600,000 viewings on You Tube, is billed as the “first-of-its-kind book trailer for Rand’s masterpiece novel.”

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Best Novel finalist review: Gordon Hanka’s provocative God’s Girlfriend explores coercion, consent, masculinity, femininity and basic instincts

By Eric S. Raymond and Michael Grossberg

Subversive and satirical, God’s Girlfriend challenges some of the deepest assumptions of today’s politics and culture.

One of five 2024 Prometheus Best Novel finalists, Gordon Hanka’s provocative sci-fi novel raises thorny questions about ethics, religion, coercion and consent, the nature of masculinity and femininity and the use of weapons of mass destruction.

The 540-page novel offers a taboo-shattering mixture of unorthodox libertarian provocations and Christian eschatology amid a life-or-death clash of two cultures: Earth humans and Wyrms, human refugees from another planet.

Subtitled “Sci-Fi that should not be published,” the novel blends SF and fantasy tropes from spaceships and advanced weaponry to the apparently supernatural, including Jesus’ Second Coming.

The story revolves around the rising tensions, conflicts and increasing likelihood of nuclear war between Earth governments, desperate to preserve their power, and the Wyrms, genetically modified to resist disease and political-psychological control.

As the failing nation-states of Earth threaten nuclear apocalypse to wipe out the Outback-style beachhead of the Wyrms in Australia, all hell breaks loose. So does heaven, with the Second Coming of God in the unexpectedly modern form of Joshua, who has his own notions of good and evil and shifting ideas about which side should survive.

Continue reading Best Novel finalist review: Gordon Hanka’s provocative God’s Girlfriend explores coercion, consent, masculinity, femininity and basic instincts

Columnist Ed West on Eugene Zamyatin, author of the first classic dystopian novel of the 20th century

By Michael Grossberg

When it comes to the birth and development of dystopian literature, Russian dissident writer Eugene (Yevgeny) Zamyatin may have the dubious distinction of being one of the most overlooked novelists of that disturbingly timely and emerging 20th-century genre.

Zamyatin’s We was the first dystopian novel of the 20th century, helping to pave the way for others, most notably George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and Ayn Rand’s similarly-themed Anthem.

Yet, sadly, references to Zamyatin are rare in today’s culture, media and magazines.

So it’s nice to see an insightful column that not only mentions Zamyatin but offers revealing commentary about his fiction and places him within the historical and literary context of Russia in the early 1900s.

Continue reading Columnist Ed West on Eugene Zamyatin, author of the first classic dystopian novel of the 20th century

New autobiography by Rush rock star Geddy Lee sheds light on the libertarian roots of the Canadian prog-rock band

By Michael Grossberg

For Rush fans, the recent publication of Canadian rock star Geddy Lee’s autobiography should spark interest.
LFS members, currently weighing this year’s slate of Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists including the Rush fantasy song “The Trees,” should find My Effin’ Life (Harper) especially timely and intriguing.

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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.”

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LFS President: Prometheus Hall of Fame honors reflect passages of time, recognition of merit

With the annual Sept. 30 deadline coming up soon for LFS members to nominate works for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction, this is a good time to remind ourselves what makes this annual category special.

LFS President William H. Stoddard did just that when he presented the Prometheus Hall of Fame category for Best Classic Fiction at the recent 43rd annual Prometheus awards ceremony. Here are Stoddard’s remarks:

By William H. Stoddard

Unlike the Best Novel Award, the Prometheus Hall of Fame can be given to works in any narrative or dramatic form — short fiction, narrative verse, plays, movies, television and video episodes or series, graphic novels, songs, and so on.

It’s restricted to works that first appeared at least twenty years ago.

A great many of our award winners are older than that, often dating to before the LFS was founded.

Continue reading LFS President: Prometheus Hall of Fame honors reflect passages of time, recognition of merit

Making ‘em laugh: Which Hall of Fame winners best incorporate comedy?

By Michael Grossberg

Everyone has their favorites among the fiction works that have won the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

And by everyone, I mean virtually everyone – since at least some of the 46 winning works are enjoyed by libertarians and non-libertarians alike, and by both science fiction/fantasy fans and those who don’t often read that genre.

But how many rank the comedies that high?

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The unsung central role of engineers: An illuminating new perspective on Atlas Shrugged and Rand’s other novels

Just how important are the engineers in Atlas Shrugged?

More vital – and central to Rand’s novel (and her other fiction) – than even her fans might imagine.

According to a well-researched essay published online in The Savvy Street, Rand’s bestselling magnum opus is in many ways a “literary celebration” of engineering.

Writer Peter Saint-Andre argues persuasively that virtually every significant character is an engineer of some kind in Rand’s epic novel about the role of the mind and the importance of rationality and liberty in sustaining human civilization.

Even those who believe they are fully familiar with Atlas Shruggedinducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame in the very first year of that award category in 1983 – are likely to find the essay both surprising and compelling in adding a crucial dimension of understanding about Rand’s classic work.

Continue reading The unsung central role of engineers: An illuminating new perspective on Atlas Shrugged and Rand’s other novels

Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Orwell’s 1984 listed with other literary classics on international blog listing best “Books to Understand the World”

Many “bests” lists or ranked-reading lists tend to be matters of opinion, even if objective merit remains a meaningful standard of rational evaluation. Yet isn’t it interesting to compare favorite books and novels and discover that some our favorites also rank high on other lists?

For those libertarian sci-fi/fantasy fans who have the curiosity and time to look beyond our own Prometheus Awards track record of 100 past winners in all categories, an online list compiled of “Books to understand the world” makes for interesting reading….

…Especially because two of the most notable Prometheus Award winners are prominently featured on the list.

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