By Michael Grossberg
Before you can build and sustain a fully free society, in earth or in space, you have to be able to fully imagine it.
Positive and persuasive visions of liberty – that can capture people’s imaginations as both desirable and feasible – are crucial to help sustain free and diverse societies where people flourish. And whatever their differing perspectives, such visions must have plausibility, practicality and legitimacy.
That’s where science fiction can play a vital role – and Visions of Liberty, an anthology exploring different futuristic scenarios of freedom, fulfills that goal with fascinating, engrossing and surprisingly plausible stories.
Continue reading SF anthology ‘Visions of Liberty’ imagines future worlds without government: Part Two of an Appreciation of the 2005 Special Prometheus Award winner
“Now we dare the great
And bring fire back to heaven
on our rockets.”
– Robert Anton Wilson
“Free at Last,” from Free Space
By Michael Grossberg
Free Space, the first Special Prometheus Award-winner in 1998, has the distinction of being the first explicitly libertarian sf anthology.
Published in 1997 by TOR Books and edited by Brad Linaweaver and Ed Kramer, Free Space generated immense excitement among libertarian sf fans.
Today, almost a quarter century later, quite a few of its stories remain worth reading (or worth rereading) by freedom-lovers and, for that matter, anyone who enjoys interesting and imaginative sf speculations about humankind’s future in space.
The 352-page collection, dedicated to Robert and Ginny Heinlein, offers a wide range of stories and short fiction by 20 writers reflecting several generations and multiple perspectives.
Continue reading Exploring freedom on the frontiers of Free Space, the first explicitly libertarian sf anthology and first Prometheus Special Award winner
Today marks nearly the end of a pivotal year marking the 40th anniversary of the Prometheus Awards, so it’s interesting to take a moment in 2019 and look back at the birth of the awards with the very first Prometheus Awards ceremony in 1979.
First envisioned and launched by sf writer L. Neil Smith, the Prometheus Award was first presented in 1979 in a high-profile ceremony at the year’s biggest Libertarian convention, which attracted several thousand people in Los Angeles.
Writer Robert Anton Wilson announced the winner – F. Paul Wilson’s sf mystery Wheels Within Wheels– after announcing three finalists, including Poul Anderson’s The Avatarand James P. Hogan’s The Genesis Machine.
Here’s a glimpse of how the event was covered in Frontlines, a leading libertarian-movement-news newsletter published by Reason magazine’s foundation:
“The first-ever Prometheus Award was presented for the best libertarian science fiction novel of 1978. The finalists were Poul Anderson’s The Avatar, James P. Hogan’s The Genesis Machine and F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels within Wheels. Robert Anton Wilson did the honors, on behalf of the Prometheus Award Committee (an independent group of libertarian sf fans, who contributed the award), presenting the $2,500 in gold to (no relation) F. Paul Wilson. The prize (which has already increased significantly in value) is the largest award for science fiction given anywhere in the world.”
Continue reading Looking back at Prometheus Awards history: What happened at the first awards ceremony in 1979 in Los Angeles – and why it was controversial
Here’s an Appreciation, for James P. Hogan’s Voyage to Yesteryear, the 1983 Prometheus winner for Best Novel:
By Michael Grossberg
Two human civilizations, long separated across light years, confront significant philosophical and political differences when they make renewed contact decades after a World War III devastated the Earth and led to the rise of widespread authoritarian governments there.
When the Earth’s three superpower governments engage in a space race to renew contact with the lost colony on Chiron in the Alpha Centauri system colony’s descendants, the Americans arrive first with an authoritarian goal of invasion and domination.
Meanwhile, the Chiron colonists – sent from Earth generations before in a ship with babies raised by robots in order to start fresh and avoid the bad habits and prejudices of Earth – have developed a radically free libertarian society founded on the belief that each individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Continue reading Authoritarian imperialism vs. a functioning free-market anarchy in an interstellar future: An Appreciation of James P. Hogan’s Voyage From Yesteryear, the 1983 Best Novel winner