A guide to the Best Novel nominees, Part 3: Capsule descriptions of Liberty’s Daughter, Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song, and Sandra Newman’s Julia

By Michael Grossberg

Here is Part 3 of the Prometheus Blog guide to this year’s Best Novel nominees, an effort to illuminate why LFS members nominated 17 2023 sf/fantasy novels for the next Prometheus Award.

These capsule descriptions also aim to highlight the diverse range of novels nominated while outlining how each nominee fits the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards.

The nominees highlighted in Part 3, alphabetized by author, include Naomi Kritzer’s Liberty’s Daughter, Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song, and Sandra Newman’s Julia.

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A bountiful crop: The 2024 Best Novel nominees are remarkably varied in genre, style, and theme

By Michael Grossberg

Some are science fiction, some fantasies, while several bid to become classics of dystopian literature.

Many are dramatic and suspenseful, some heroic or inspirational, and a few are comical or outright satirical.

Prometheus brought the gifts of fire and liberty to humanity

Some novels are set in the distant future, some in the near future, some in ancient eras or mythologized histories and one in an alternate history.

While quite a few are sequels, some launch promising new series – and seven appear to be self-contained, stand-alone works with a beginning, middle and satisfying end.

This year’s bountiful crop of Prometheus Best Novel nominees, whose titles and authors were recently announced in this blog, display a remarkable range of genres, themes and styles.

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17 works of science fiction, fantasy and dystopian literature are nominated for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel

Libertarian Futurist Society members have made 17 nominations for the Best Novel category of the next Prometheus Award.

Of the authors whose works are nominated, a majority are being recognized for the first time by the LFS and the Prometheus Awards.

Ten novelists are being recognized for the first time with Prometheus nominations. Listed in alphabetical order, those authors are Stephen Albrecht, Devon Eriksen, Howard Andrew Jones, Naomi Kritzer, Paul Lynch, Sandra Newman, Salman Rushdie, C. T. Rwizi, Fenton Wood and Alan Zimm.

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What two-time Prometheus winner wrote his first novel simply to win an office bet?

By Michael Grossberg

Would you change your life and career just to win an office bet?

Most people wouldn’t, but one adventurous, forward-thinking man did in the 1970s in Great Britain.

If not for that office bet, we might never have enjoyed the many sf novels conceived by one of the best “hard-science-fiction” writers in the field.

Even worse for liberty lovers and LFS members, we might not have benefited from the life and unlikely bestselling career of this man, a true maverick

Who was it?

Here’s a clue: Once he began writing science fiction, this native Englishman ended up writing 26 novels. Thirteen of them received Prometheus nominations for Best Novel – more than almost any other author.* Seven became Best Novel finalists and two won Prometheus Awards.

Can you guess now? (All his Best Novel nominees, finalists and winners are listed in reverse-chronological order on the LFS website on its Prometheus Awards page. Check it out.)

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Who’s won the most Prometheus Awards for Best Novel? A reader’s guide, Part 2

By now, more than four decades after the Prometheus Awards were first presented, many authors have won the annual award for Best Novel – but just 10 writers have won more than one.

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Of the writers who’ve won the most Prometheus Awards, which of their works should you read first?

By Michael Grossberg

The Prometheus Award has been presented more than 100 times, but which authors have won the most? And which of their winning works should you read first, if you aren’t familiar with them?

In the original Best Novel annual category, which I’ll focus on here, only 10 authors have won more than one – and only four writers have won as many as three.

(Try to guess their names, just for fun, without taking a peek at the LFS website’s Prometheus Awards page, which lists all past winners.)

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LFS co-founder on the coercive nature of the State, and the perennial tension between Liberty and Power

Why is government, by its nature, a distinctive threat to freedom?

LFS co-founder Michael Grossberg strived to answer that question in his speech introducing the Best Novel category of the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.

Michael Grossberg, a veteran journalist and arts critic. File photo

BY MICHAEL GROSSBERG

The Prometheus Awards, one of the oldest fan-based sf/fantasy awards after the Hugos and Nebulas, are unique in recognizing speculative fiction that dramatizes the sadly perennial conflict between liberty and power.

As a journalist and arts critic for five decades, I can testify to the importance of awards in raising the visibility of valuable and rewarding works that might otherwise be overlooked.

 

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“Liberty is hard yakka” – Novelist Sarah Hoyt’s speech presenting Best Novel to Dave Freer

At the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, past Best Novel winner Sarah Hoyt (Darkship Thieves) presented the Best Novel category to Australian/Tasmanian writer Dave Freer for Cloud-Castles.

Sarah Hoyt, the 2011 Prometheus winner (File photo)

Hoyt was the ideal Best Novel presenter this year, since Freer and Hoyt have been friends for years and Freer has said he considers her his best friend in the United States.

The 2023 ceremony aired via Zoom Aug. 19, 2023, to an international audience and is available to watch on Youtube and the LFS website’s Video page. For those who prefer to read, here is the full transcript of Hoyt’s speech:

By Sarah A. Hoyt

Before I begin, I should warn any possible spectators that yes, this is my real (Portuguese-American) accent. In fact, this Prometheus award ceremony will probably go down in history as the battle of the accents, between mine and Dave’s and whatever else the rest of you try to bring to the table. (I dare you.)

Also I must warn everyone that we might have an impromptu appearance by the very fuzzy Havelock-cat, or his buddy, the ginger beasty Indy cat.

Since, as Heinlein put it, cats are free citizens, they should be right at home.

I can’t express how strange it is to be presenting the same award that marked the most important moment of my career to one of my best writing buddies, one who has walked with me through all the hard points, and celebrated with me at all the high points.

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The foundations of liberty (and of Cloud-Castles): Part 2 of Dave Freer’s 2023 Best Novel acceptance speech

The 2023 Prometheus Awards plaque and gold coin

Following the recently posted first part of Dave Freer’s 2023 Best Novel acceptance speech, here is the conclusion, in which the 2023 Prometheus winner describes his winning novel Cloud-Castles, how it reflects Australia’s outback culture and why he wrote it.

BY DAVE FREER

Cloud-Castles was born out of a libertarian to outright anarchist concept: that the best defense of liberty is the ability to leave any form of bondage easily.

Autocracies inevitably have barriers to keep people IN. The freer the society… the less they care if you leave. In fact, if anything, they have to try and keep themselves from being swamped by people who want in.

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“A rebel I became…” Dave Freer’s 2023 Best Novel acceptance speech for Cloud-Castles

Dave Freer with his 2023 Prometheus Awards Best Novel plaque for Cloud-Castles (Photo courtesy of Freer)

Editor’s introduction: Dave Freer, 2023 Prometheus winner for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles, is the first author from the Southern Hemisphere to win a Prometheus Award.

An Australian who lives in Tasmania, Freer delivers his acceptance speech from Cambridge, England, where he was visiting his son. Freer’s speech was part of the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, which aired live Aug. 19 internationally via Zoom, with Prometheus-winning author Sarah Hoyt presenting Freer with his award. Here is the transcript of his speech:

BY DAVE FREER

Firstly, I would like to apologise for my accent. I come from a polyglot of origins, or, as rural Australians would yell it, “Yer a bloody mongrel, yer drongo.”

That’s a very accurate description, as it allows for hybrid vigour, and no pretentions of grandeur or delusions of good behaviour.  I do feel rather like the scruffy mongrel who has slipped the leash, stolen a slab of bacon and a string of sausages from a butcher’s shop, and run, hotly pursued, into the midst of the hallowed halls of the Crufts dog show. There I have jumped up onto the winner’s podium, panting and grinning, to enjoy my ill-gotten gains, while the judges and former winners look on in horror.

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