Appreciating sf author Nancy Kress, her Beggars trilogy and other Prometheus-nominated novels

By Michael Grossberg

Prolific sf author Nancy Kress has won Hugos and Nebula awards but she’s never won a Prometheus Award. Not yet, anyway.

Nor was Kress nominated for The Eleventh Gate, an interesting 2020 novel (recently reviewed in the Prometheus blog) that pits libertarian planets against more authoritarian worlds.

Nevertheless, Kress has been frequently recognized within the history of the Prometheus awards.

In fact, she has been nominated four times for Best Novel – and one of her novels (Beggars in Spain) was voted a Best Novel finalist.

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LFS members make 15 nominations for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel

Libertarian Futurist Society members have made 15 nominations for the Best Novel category of the Prometheus Award.

Of the authors nominated, two thirds are being recognized for the first time by LFS members, perhaps reflecting in part a new generation of emerging writers whose varied works fit the award’s distinctive focus on science fiction and fantasy, broadly conceived, that dramatizes libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes.

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The Prometheus Awards reach a notable milestone: 100 works recognized!

Before 2022 ends, it’s worth noting that the Prometheus Awards reached a pretty big milestone this year.

It involves a nice round number, too: 100 – the total number of works recognized by the Prometheus Awards in all three categories since the award was established more than four decades ago.

From 1979, when the very first Prometheus Award was presented to F. Paul Wilson’s novel Wheels Within Wheels, through 2022, 90 works of fiction have been recognized in the Libertarian Futurist Society’s two annual categories for Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction.

That includes 44 novels that have won a Prometheus for Best Novel, including this year’s newest winner: Rich Man’s Sky by Wil McCarthy.

And it includes 46 works – novels, novellas, stories, a graphic novel, an anthology and a TV series – that have been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

Plus, 10 works have received Special Prometheus Awards – including three libertarian sf anthologies, two films, two graphic novels, a novella, a filk song and (most recently in 2017) a webcomic series.

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Prometheus Blog progress: The LFS Appreciation series about past winners is now complete and accessible

If sci-fi fans or anyone else ever wants to know why the Libertarian Futurist Society presented a Prometheus Award to any work of fiction, and how that work reflects libertarian, classical liberal and anti-authoritarian themes, they now have an easy, quick and enjoyable way to find out.

Just visit the LFS website’s Prometheus Awards page, scroll down to any particular past winner of interest – for Best Novel, Best Classic Fiction or Special Awards – and click on the “Appreciation” link added next to its title.

To highlight and honor the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society celebrated in 2019, LFS members began writing review-essays about each past winner that summer.

Today, more than three years later, that series of informative essays is now complete:
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Author Sarah Hoyt announces new edition of her Prometheus-winning novel Darkship Thieves

Sarah Hoyt has announced a new edition of her Prometheus-Award winning novel Darkship Thieves.

Released through Goldport Press after Hoyt’s reclaiming the rights from Baen Books, Darkship Thieves has now been produced in both print and ebook formats.

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The 2022 Hugo nominations highlight a current Prometheus nominee

The Hugo awards and the Prometheus awards are different in focus, but occasionally overlap.

This year, the overlap is minimal but worth mentioning: In their respective Best Novel categories, one 2021 work has been recognized at some level by both awards.

Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir’s sf novel, is one of six Best Novel finalists in the Hugo Awards, presented nearly annually since 1953 by sf fans attending or supporting the World Science Fiction convention.

Weir’s novel was also one of 16 works nominated this past year for the Best Novel category of the Prometheus Awards.

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More new, emerging authors recognized in this year’s large slate of Best Novel nominees

If one of the salutary effects of the Prometheus Award for Best Novel over the decades has been to help raise the visibility of new, young or emerging talent, that goal might well be furthered by this year’s larger-than-usual slate of nominees.

These 16 novels, published in 2021 and listed below, reflect a wide range of styles, from the satirical to the sorrowful and from hard sf to mythic fantasy.

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Watch online the 2021 Prometheus Awards and post-ceremony panel on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends…”

Don’t forget to watch the free online 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony and LFS-Reason panel Saturday.

This is a rare opportunity to watch one of the annual Prometheus Awards program live, via Zoom. (The free link is posted below.)

Barry B. Longyear, the 2021 Prometheus Best Novel winner (Courtesy of author)

First up will be a relatively short awards ceremony, followed immediately by a panel discussion, with Reason magazine as the media sponsor and two Reason editors as panelists, on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards.”

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NASFiC acceptance speech: How C.J. Cherryh built her Alliance-Union Universe, & the launch of a prequel trilogy with Alliance Rising, the 2020 Prometheus Best Novel

If you’re a fan of C.J. Cherryh in general and her vast, complex, economically literate Alliance-Union Universe in particular, the full text of Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher’s Prometheus Awards acceptance speech is a fascinating must-read.

Cherry and Fancher co-wrote Alliance Rising, billed as the first prequel in a projected Hinder Stars trilogy exploring how her – now, their – future history develops.


The Libertarian Futurist Society, which presented its 2020 Prometheus Awards ceremony Saturday at the all-online North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC), chose Alliance Rising as its 2020 Best Novel winner partly because of the plausible realism with which Cherryh and Fancher weave a portrait of how the emergence of an interstellar trade network with private property and active markets tends to reduce conflicts, violence and the threat of war while sustaining peace, prosperity and progress.

“Its not so much that we set out to write a novel about the link between freedom and economics,” Cherryh said in her acceptance remarks, “but that when you start telling a story about human civilization, it goes with the territory.”

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Guide for LFS voters: Where to find the 2020 Prometheus Awards finalists for Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame)

The 2020 Prometheus Awards are now in the final weeks of voting by Libertarian Futurist Society members across the continent – but where can you find and read each of the finalists?
That’s commonly not a problem with the annual Best Novel category, since all five finalists are widely available, typically published in the preceding year.
Yet, it can be challenging to find some of the older finalists in the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
That’s because the Prometheus Awards’ other annual category is wide open to any work of fiction first published, broadcast, staged or screened 20 or more years ago.
But this year, for the first time, two Hall of Fame finalists – a story and a song – can be found in full online and for free!

So accessibility of this year’s Prometheus  award finalists is in some ways easier than ever – and this guide should help LFS Members find and consider every finalist before voting.

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