To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ impressive and diverse four-decade track record, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of all of our award-winners. Here’s an Appreciation for Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, the 2008 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.:
“When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” – Anthony Burgess
By Michael Grossberg
A Clockwork Orange may not be remembered or read as widely today as some other dystopian novels, but it arguably ranks among the best-written, most shocking and most plausible works of that seminal 20th century genre.
Today, British writer Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel is far better known from director Stanley Kubrick’s vivid 1971 film. Yet, the nightmarish novel rightly was included on Time magazine’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923.
Even if you’re a fan of the controversial film version (as I am), Burgess’ novel is well worth reading for its own sake – especially for its imaginative style, dark humor, inventive slang language, and insightful portrait of a disturbing future in a culture corrupted by a bloated and obtrusive welfare state.
Continue reading Freedom and free will in a dystopian welfare-state: Anthony Burgess’ darkly humorous A Clockwork Orange, the 2008 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ diverse four-decade history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as pro-freedom, anti-authoritarian or dystopian sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of all past award-winners.
Here is an Appreciation of Eric Frank Russell’s The Great Explosion, a 1985 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.
By Michael Grossberg
The power of peaceful behavior and non-violent resistance is explored in The Great Explosion.
British author Eric Frank Russell’s satirical 1962 novel, which incorporates in its final third section his classic golden-age-sf 1951 short story “…And Then There Were None,” is set in an expansive interstellar future in which millions have used a faster-than-light transport system to escape an increasingly bureaucratic and statist Earth and have settled countless planets.
When ships with soldiers and bureaucrats and pompous officials from a still-statist and aggressively imperialist Earth arrive four centuries to visit and take over three of the planets, they find a penal colony with a corrupt and despotic government on the first, health and fitness fanatic nudists on the second and no signs of human life on the third planet, colonized by a religious group.
But they face their biggest mystery – and largest challenge – on a final fourth planet, filled with people who calls themselves Gands (after Gandhi) and whose agrarian culture and economy have embraced a classless libertarian anarchy based on passive resistance to unjust authority.
Continue reading Non-violence, Gandhian resistance and MYOB: Eric Frank Russell’s The Great Explosion, a 1985 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
As part of our series of Appreciations of Prometheus Award-winners, here’s a review-essay about Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky:
By William H. Stoddard and Michael Grossberg
Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky is an exemplary example of the New Space Opera of the 1990s, and a fascinating and complex sequel to his Hugo-winning novel A Fire Upon the Deep.
Set in the inner Milky Way galaxy with fully realized characters, both alien and human, the story highlights the threats to civilization from centralized power while illuminating the civilizing dynamics of free-trade networks.
Vinge’s epic novel imagines a complex future with many human-inhabited planets that have developed over several thousand years through slower-than-light interstellar travel, terraforming, life-extension techniques, and advanced computer networks.
Yet many of these advanced societies repeatedly have collapsed into barbarism and decay through the failed dream of collectivism, statism, or subtle computational failures.
Continue reading Interstellar travel, mercantile networks, bureaucracy and decentralization: An Appreciation for Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky, the 2000 Prometheus Best Novel winner
Here’s an Appreciation for James P. Hogan’s The Multiplex Man, the 1993 Best Book winner:
By Michael Grossberg
James Hogan’s 1992 hard-sf political thriller revolves around a polite schoolteacher who wakes up one day to discover he’s far from home and in a body not his own. Soon after returning home, he discovers that seven months have passed – and he can’t return to his old body or life because he died six months ago.
His suspenseful journey to solve multiple unfolding mysteries is set in an authoritarian future Earth where former Eastern/communist countries have exploited space resources to boost their economies over the faltering West, undermined by Green-dominated governments’ anti-industry regulations, education restrictions and propaganda.
In this cautionary anti-authoritarian story, the State authorities control virtually everything about people’s lives and activities on Earth, while condemning as dangerous any dissent or unapproved behavior and viewing off-world colonies as enemies because of their competition for Earth resources.
Continue reading Identity, mystery, body-transfer technology, bureaucrats, capitalists and green politics in a hard-sf political thriller: An Appreciation of James P. Hogan’s The Multiplex Man, the 1993 Prometheus Best Novel winner