The Hogan interview, part 4: What he loved about America, why he moved to the U.S. and how his childhood shaped his pro-technology, pro-liberty views

By Michael Grossberg

For posterity, the Prometheus blog is proud to be the first to post a lengthy and revealing interview that two-time Prometheus winner James P. Hogan gave just after the turn of the 21st century.

James P. Hogan (Creative Commons license)

More than 90 percent of that interview was not included in a newspaper profile of Hogan, so it appears here uncut and complete for the first time.

Hogan (1941-2020) sadly is no longer with us, but almost all of his 26 novels remain in print – and many are worth reading or rereading for their ingenious premises, imaginative speculations (some of which have since come true) and their intelligent, insightful and realistic blend of science and politics.

Continue reading The Hogan interview, part 4: What he loved about America, why he moved to the U.S. and how his childhood shaped his pro-technology, pro-liberty views

The Prometheus interview with Dave Freer, the 2023 Best Novel winner for Cloud-Castles

“The outback of Australia was a very individualist place. So: I had my model.” – Dave Freer

Australian writer Dave Freer Photo courtesy of author

Dave Freer’s Cloud-Castlesthe 2023 Prometheus Best Novel winner, offers a zestful and often funny coming-of-age adventure set on diverse habitats floating above a gas-giant planet.

 

The Australian author, who lives in Tasmania, considers himself “mostly a rational anarchist” in the tradition of Robert Heinlein. Freer was interviewed by email by Michael Grossberg, a Prometheus Blog editor.

Continue reading The Prometheus interview with Dave Freer, the 2023 Best Novel winner for Cloud-Castles

Remembering Rush, and paying tribute to libertarian lyricist Neal Peart’s democratic individualism

By Michael Grossberg

Rush, the Canadian art-rock group, stopped touring in 2015 and retired three years later, but still has legions of admirers around the world.

Many are science fiction fans, who appreciate their sf- or fantasy-themed songs (“The Trees”) and albums (2112). And quite a few are libertarians, who appreciate their themes affirming individualism and individual liberty (such as “Free Will” and “Tom Sawyer.”)

Those and other Rush fans should appreciate a recent Law and Liberty article paying tribute to Neil Peart, Rush’s late great drummer.

“Early on, Peart’s lyrics reflected a devotion to individualism, and his protagonists in songs such as “2112,” “Red Barchetta,” and “Tom Sawyer,” are driven primarily by their desire for free expression,” Jordan T. Cash writes in his essay.

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Did Academy Awards voters just give their top 2023 Oscar to an individualist and libertarian science fiction film? Yep – pretty much!

By Michael Grossberg

Did something significant to science fiction – actually, unprecedented – just happen at the Academy Awards?

It wasn’t really highlighted in any media reports I came across, but isn’t Everything Everywhere All at Once the first outright science fiction film to win the Oscar for Best Picture?

And not only that, but the Best Picture winner is especially intriguing to consider from a libertarian futurist perspective: Is it possible that this year’s Academy Awards recognized one of the most pro-freedom films to ever win an Oscar for best picture?

Such questions are sparked by an intriguing column on Reason magazine’s blog: “Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All At Once Celebrates individalism, Free Will.”

Continue reading Did Academy Awards voters just give their top 2023 Oscar to an individualist and libertarian science fiction film? Yep – pretty much!

Individualism and self-determination in landmark TV series: Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, the 2002 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Here’s the Prometheus Blog Appreciation for The Prisoner,” the 2002 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction and the first TV series to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

 

By Michael Grossberg

“I am not a number. I am a free man!”
Actor Patrick McGoohan utters those defiant words as the heroic individualist at the center of The Prisoner, one of the most unusual, enigmatic and evocative TV series ever broadcast.
Today, that emblematic catchphrase remains well-known in popular culture, and ranks high among the most familiar lines of dialogue from any TV show or movie of the 20th century.
“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own,” McGoohan declared in the first episode – another among many memorable anti-authoritarian and individualist lines of dialogue that he would utter throughout the iconic series.
Such explicit affirmations of individuality, self-determination and resistance to tyranny were highly unusual on television half a century ago – and sadly remain relatively rare today.

Continue reading Individualism and self-determination in landmark TV series: Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, the 2002 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Love, liberty, longevity and Lazarus Long: Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Here’s the Prometheus Blog Appreciation of Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, inducted into the 1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg

Who has time enough for Time Enough for Love?
For starters, fans of Robert Heinlein do – despite the epic novel’s length.

So do freedom-lovers who understand that freedom itself is a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite for human flourishing, human happiness and the fulfillment possible in life largely through love, family, creativity and achievement.

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Rediscovery of the sacred self: Ayn Rand’s dystopian Anthem, the 1987 Hall of Fame winner

As part of the Libertarian Futurist Society series making clear why each winner deserves recognition as notable pro-freedom works, here’s our Appreciation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem, a 1987 Prometheus Hall of Fame inductee for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg

For those who’ve never read Ayn Rand, Anthem is a good place to start.

Imaginative and inspirational with a tone of reverence and discovery, Anthem ranks as one of the great dystopian works of 20th century literature, but also as the shortest and most poetic.

Its powerful and poignant theme: the rediscovery of the self. In Rand’s mythic and post-apocalyptic future of a primitive and very tribal society, the rediscovery of the self is tantamount to a revolutionary act amid the collectivism of forced servitude, ignorance, fear, stifling conformity and primitivism.

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Chili peppers, drugs, desire and dictatorship: Johanna Sinisalo’s The Core of the Sun, the 2017 Prometheus Award Best Novel winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series aims to make clear why each Prometheus winner deserves recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy. Here’s our Appreciation for Johanna Sinisalo’s The Core of the Sun, the 2017 Best Novel winner:

By Michael Grossberg

The Core of the Sun, 
by well-known Finnish writer Johanna Sinisalo, is both feminist and libertarian in its evocative themes.

In the quirky and imaginative 2016 novel, translated by Lola Rogers from the Finnish language and published by Grove Press/Black Cat, Sinisalo vividly imagines a dystopian alternate history of Finland in which a patriarchal and authoritarian government enforces a social system, a War-on-Drugs Prohibition of individualistic pleasure and a eugenics program that breeds and virtually enslaves compliant women.

Set in 21st century Finland after a century of male-dominated government breeding and cultural reinforcement of its women to be slower-witted and more childlike, the fast-paced story unfolds in short chapters with epistolary and personal interludes that evoke a struggle of women within an alternate-reality Finnish culture somewhat evocative of The Stepford Wives (a cautionary feminist novel by Ira Levin, the Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for his dystopian novel This Perfect Day.)

Social stability and public health, along with a War-on-Drugs Prohibition, are strongly enforced and favored over social change, creativity, personal expression, self-fulfillment, curiosity and diversity – the latter, of course, all part of the constellation of values and attitudes that we know flourish much more under a classical liberal/libertarian polity.

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Travis Corcoran’s acceptance speech for ‘The Powers of the Earth’

Travis Corcoran

Travis Corcoran won the Prometheus Award for his excellent novel, The Powers of the Earth. He couldn’t make it to the Worldcon for this weekend’s awards ceremony, but here is the text of his acceptance speech, read by Chris Hibbert. 

I’m sorry I couldn’t be here tonight, but I live on a farm and it’s harvest season in the Granite State. Live free or die!

I first heard of the Prometheus Award a quarter century ago and put “writing a novel worthy of winning it” on my bucket list. It was an amazing honor to be nominated alongside so many other worthy authors, and I can still barely wrap my head around having won.

Eric S Raymond said it best: “Hard SF is the vital heart of the field”. The core of hard science fiction is libertarianism: “ornery and insistent individualism, veneration of the competent man, instinctive distrust of coercive social engineering”.
Continue reading Travis Corcoran’s acceptance speech for ‘The Powers of the Earth’