Why former Prometheus winners aren’t eligible for Hall of Fame nomination, but former Best Novel finalists are (such as The Truth, the 2024 winner)

By Michael Grossberg

Not all literary award-winners stand the test of time.

Most works of arts and entertainment fade. Yet when they last and take on the patina of a classic, they should be recognized.

For only the third time in the history of the Prometheus Awards, a former Best Novel finalist has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

Terry Pratchett’s novel The Truth, first recognized by the Libertarian Futurist Society as a 2001 Best Novel finalist, has won the 2024 award for Best Classic Fiction.

Before The Truth was inducted this year into our Hall of Fame, only two other Best Novel finalists have received that rare honor: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Falling Free and Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon.

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Cryptology, privacy, and adaptability: Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, the 2013 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

 

Here is the Prometheus Blog Appreciation of Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, the 2013 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Tom Jackson

One of Neal Stephenson’s most-memorable novels, Cryptonomicon, was inspired by developments in cryptography during World War Two.

Published in 1999, Cryptonomicon won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 2013. Given the novel’s focus on topics such as electronic money and cryptography, it seems prescient in anticipating the current moment’s obsession with cryptocurrencies.

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Free trade, private property, civil liberties, classical liberalism and modern libertarianism: An Appreciation of Neal Stephenson’s The System of the World, the 2005 Prometheus Best Novel winner

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 saw 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 Neal Stephenson’s The System of the World, the 2005 Prometheus Best Novel winner:

By William H. Stoddard

The development in the late 1600s and early 1700s of the modern world’s classical liberal institutions, which paved the way for modern libertarianism, is explored in Neal Stephenson’s epic 2004 novel, the climax of the author’s ambitious Baroque Cycle trilogy (preceded by Quicksilver and The Confusion), which has been hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “the definitive historical-sci-fi-epic-pirate-comedy-punk love story.”

In the complex, multi-threaded plot of The System of the World, Stephenson traces the distant ancestors of many key characters from his earlier novel Cryptonomicon through encounters with major figures in the science and politics of the era, among whom Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz are key figures. In effect, this is a secret history of the origins of experimental natural science, the British monetary system, and the antislavery movement, among other elements of modernity.


The Baroque Cycle – which touches upon the development in the 1700s of such classical-liberal institutions as the rule of law, limited government, due process, civil liberties, free trade, private property, and separation of church and state – can be read as a straightforwardly historical novel drawing on such sources as the French Annales school of historiography — if a wildly inventive one that fully lives up to the label “baroque.”

Continue reading Free trade, private property, civil liberties, classical liberalism and modern libertarianism: An Appreciation of Neal Stephenson’s The System of the World, the 2005 Prometheus Best Novel winner