“When we started our writing career we never dreamt of winning the Prometheus Award. … Of all the awards in Science Fiction, … The Prometheus Award, above all others, became the one we truly wanted. [because] liberty must be championed and valued — of the myriad awards out there, only the Prometheus recognizes this essential fact. And the authors we respect the most have all won it.”
– Eytan and Dani Kollin, co-authors of The Unincorporated Man, the 2010 Prometheus Awardwinner for Best Novel, from their Prometheus acceptance speech
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 Charles Stross’ Glasshouse, the 2007 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:
Charles Stross’ 2006 novel explores themes of ubiquitous State surveillance and the struggle of individuals to survive in the face of severe pressure to conform.
Set in a distant future and taking place in the same universe as Stross’ novel Accelerando, though at a much later point in its history, Glasshouse revolves around un-rehabilitated war criminals using every tool at their disposal to build a society that they can control absolutely.
At the center of the story, set in the 27th century when interstellar travel is by teleport gate, is Robin, an ex-spy who wakes up in a clinic with most memories missing. Soon, he realizes that he’s a demobilized soldier from a civil war that’s ended, and that someone is trying to kill him because of something that his earlier self knew.
Pursued by a dangerous enemy and desperate to find somewhere to hide, the post-human Robin volunteers to participate in the Glasshouse, an experimental simulation of a pre-accelerated culture in which participants are assigned anonymized identities.