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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
“As a monkey, the idea of a trickster and mischief-maker, who none-the-less is the champion of mankind, stealing fire from the gods for them, has always been something of a beau ideal and role model for me. I am not very large or powerful, and my only tool is ingenuity against various gods.”
“While I always thought Hanuman as my kind of trickster, Prometheus is a good role model, down to the bit about that bastard Zeus binding him to a rock and having eagles attack his liver for helping humans with technology….”
If there were an award for most unusual, charming and amusing response to being recognized with a Prometheus Awards nomination, then Australian science fiction/fantasy writer Dave Freer would be a strong contender.
The bonds between a novelist and her fans can become incredibly strong over the years, even life-changing.
That may be even more notable and common in the realm of literary genres like science fiction and fantasy, where fandom has played a pivotal role in supporting authors and connecting with other fans through conventions, clubs, fanzines and blogs.
One heartening example of that forged fellowship making a big difference in someone’s life is the support that Prometheus-winning sf/fantasy author Sarah Hoyt has been receiving recently from her fans during a personal health and financial crisis.
Award-winning novelist Sarah Hoyt has written a lovely and lyrical ode to Prometheus on her “According to Hoyt” blog.
Hoyt won the 2011 Prometheus Award-winner for Best Novel for Darkship Thieves, a Heinleinesque adventure-romance and the first novel in her exciting Darkship series about bioengineered humans, an insidious tyranny on Earth and a fully libertarian anarcho-capitalist society amid the asteroids in a future where humans have colonized our solar system.
Yet, Hoyt’s ode to Prometheus isn’t about the awards themselves, but a tribute to the mythical character that inspired their name.
Sarah Hoyt, who won the Prometheus Award in 2011 for Darkship Thieves, has been hired to pen a new series of “Barbarella” comic books. Here is one of the articles (we were a little late in noticing):
“Barbarella is returning to comics with a new creative force.
“Dynamite Entertainment announced Friday that author Sarah Hoyt will write an upcoming Barbarella series with artist Madibek Musabekov, colorist Ivan Nunes and letterer Carlos Mangual. Hoyt is the writer of thirty-four novels ranging from science fiction, fantasy, mystery and more, including the fan-favorite Darkship Thieves.
The Libertarian Futurist Society will raise its visibility online and around the world this summer with events and Prometheus-winning speakers and LFS leaders at both the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) and the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC).
Everything will take place safely during these “virtual cons,” set up to protect online participants and viewers during the pandemic – which means that LFS members and the public will be able to watch, participate and ask questions from the comfort of their own homes via computers, smart TVs, tablets or smart phones.
WORLDCON PROMETHEUS PANEL Bestselling, Prometheus-winning novelist F. Paul Wilson(An Enemy of the State, Sims, Healer, Wheels within Wheels, Repairman Jack series) will headline the LFS’ Worldcon panel on “Freedom in SF: Forty Years of the Prometheus Award.”
Celebrating the recent 40thanniversary of the awards, the Worldcon panel will explore the distinctive focus and impressive track record of the many diverse winners of one of the oldest continuing fan-based awards in the sf/fantasy field after the Hugo and Nebula awards.
(To find out who has won the 2020 Prometheus Awards, read the LFS press release posted on the LFS website.)
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ history while making clear what makes each winner deserve recognition as pro-freedom or anti-authoritarian sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is presenting weekly Appreciations of past award-winners. Here’s the Appreciation for Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship Thieves, the 2011 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:
Few sf/fantasy novels attempt to envision a fully free future, and only a fraction of those efforts prove fruitful and plausible, not to mention gripping in narrative and appealing in characters.
Darkship Thieves, with central characters to care about and a suspenseful, fast-paced plot, is especially intriguing to libertarians for its plausible portrait of a high-tech anarchist society among the asteroids.
With this 2010 novel, Sarah Hoyt launched a series of novels in the same future solar-system-wide scenario focusing on a heroic woman from an anarchist colony in the asteroid belt who must fight for her freedom and identity against a tyrannical Earth.
Hoyt, a deft master of many genres, blends science fiction with romance, adventure, political intrigue and individualist-feminist themes.