Introduction: As part of our series of posts about the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, which aired live internationally Aug. 19, 2023, here is the transcript of the sobering but inspiring remarks of the ceremony’s emcee, Libertarian Futurist Society President William H. Stoddard:
By William H. Stoddard
Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2023 Prometheus Awards presentation. I’m William H. Stoddard, president of the Libertarian Futurist Society.
The purpose of the Prometheus Awards is to recognize works in the fantastic literary genres — science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternative history, dystopia, and others — with pro-liberty themes.
The awards have been given every year since 1982; we are now in our fifth decade.
Sadly, the twenty-first century has seen the deaths of many of our award winners.
One of the things I do in my spare time is bring old issues of Prometheus onto the web. Prometheus, the LFS’ former print quarterly, was published from 1982 to 2015, and there are lots of articles of lasting value in this collection. Well more than half the issues are now available on the web.
One thing I noticed a little while ago is that we have transcripts of many of the Prometheus Award acceptance speeches that have been given over the years, and they are worth reading again. We also have recordings of several of the ceremonies, but uploading those will be a separate project.
Here’s a quick guide to all the speeches that appeared in Prometheus:
Two graphic novels.
A related novella and filk song.
Plus, a webcomic about a sentient robot and his pals.
If you’ve ever wondered why the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Special Prometheus Awards have recognized all of the above, then wonder no longer.
You can check it out on the LFS website’s Prometheus Awards page, which now has convenient links to Appreciation review-essays about all 10 works that have won recognition since the occasional Special Awards category of was established in 1998.
As an eventful year ends, the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS) is approaching a milestone: 100 Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, all posted on this LFS/Prometheus blog.
That’s a milestone to savor, especially given the ongoing efforts and commitments by LFS leaders and contributors over the past 30 months to write and post these informative and insightful review-essays.
Here’s an overview of our progress, an explanation of why the Appreciations are important (including tips on how you can use and refer to them), and a preview of some of the upcoming articles you can expect from the Prometheus Blog in 2022.
Before you can build and sustain a fully free society, in earth or in space, you have to be able to fully imagine it.
Positive and persuasive visions of liberty – that can capture people’s imaginations as both desirable and feasible – are crucial to help sustain free and diverse societies where people flourish. And whatever their differing perspectives, such visions must have plausibility, practicality and legitimacy.
That’s where science fiction can play a vital role – and Visions of Liberty, an anthology exploring different futuristic scenarios of freedom, fulfills that goal with fascinating, engrossing and surprisingly plausible stories.
Free Space, the first Special Prometheus Award-winner in 1998, has the distinction of being the first explicitly libertarian sf anthology.
Published in 1997 by TOR Books and edited by Brad Linaweaver and Ed Kramer, Free Space generated immense excitement among libertarian sf fans.
Today, almost a quarter century later, quite a few of its stories remain worth reading (or worth rereading) by freedom-lovers and, for that matter, anyone who enjoys interesting and imaginative sf speculations about humankind’s future in space.
The 352-page collection, dedicated to Robert and Ginny Heinlein, offers a wide range of stories and short fiction by 20 writers reflecting several generations and multiple perspectives.
Libertarian science fiction writer L. Neil Smith has died, leaving a legacy of high-spirited libertarian sf adventure and of the Prometheus Award itself.
Smith, who died at 75 on Aug. 27, 2021 in Fort Collins, Colo., is best known for his explicitly libertarian novel The Probability Broach and its rambunctious alternate-history sequels in his The North American Confederacy series.
During his writing career from the 1970s into the 2010s, Smith wrote 31 books, including 29 novels, and many essays and short stories.
Quite a few of his works were nominated for Prometheus Awards because of their freewheeling adventure, sense of humor, imaginative alternate-reality scenarios and strong libertarian/individualist themes.
Prometheus-winning author and scholar Victor Koman is leading a new project to digitize the papers and publications of Samuel Edward Konkin III (SEK3) for posterity.
Konkin, a libertarian philosopher and activist who led the “agorist” wing of the libertarian movement in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced quite a few libertarians and libertarian science fiction writers, such as the Prometheus Award winners J. Neil Schulman, Brad Linaweaver and Koman himself.
CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention and the first Worldcon in history to be presented entirely online, pulled off the unprecedented feat with impressive organization and the dedication of countless volunteers and organizers.
In the process, the July 29 to Aug. 1 event offered the annual Hugo Awards ceremony and a dizzying variety of interesting panel discussions – including one suggested by the Libertarian Futurist Society to honor the Prometheus Awards’ recent 40thanniversary.
With a vast and potentially larger worldwide online audience watching from many countries on Zoom and Discord platforms but avoiding direct physical contact for safety during the pandemic, the New Zealand Worldcon seized the potential to be seen more widely. One happy consequence was raising the visibility worldwide of the Libertarian Futurist Society and the Prometheus Awards.
Introduction: To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society began celebrating in 2019, and to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners that made them deserve recognition as pro-freedom sf/fantasy, we’re continuing in 2020 to present a series of weekly Appreciations of Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our first category for Best Novel.
Here’s the latest Appreciation for Victor Koman’s Kings of the High Frontier:
Victor Koman’s 1997 novel dramatizes the dream of getting into space with an libertarian twist: The massive effort is achieved through the voluntary social cooperation of mutual trade and mutual aid through private enterprise.
Set in a subtly alternate reality, the story imagines a profit-enhanced competition to reach the stars, which anticipated the X Prize that saw Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne reach space in 2004.
Kings of the High Frontier highlights the shortsighted bureaucratic and political efforts of a government-run program like NASA, with its consequences in corruption, wasteful mismanagement and stagnation.