Reading a novel by an author you’ve never read before can be entertaining, stimulating and surprising.
Writers tend to develop their own distinctive style, even while taking pains to vary their approach to fit different types of subjects and genres – and most readers quickly come to identify the personality, spirit and style of authors from their stories.
That’s true even if such stories otherwise recognizably fall into broadly understood and familiar types of tales – from coming-of-age adventures and first-contact sci-fi dramas to satire and anti-authoritarian dystopian literature.
All of the above subcategories of science fiction are reflected in this year’s crop of just-announced finalists for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
Furthermore, of the five novels selected as finalists from 15 nominations by LFS members, four were written by authors who never before have been nominated for a Prometheus Award during its 43-year history.
Welcome to the Prometheus Awards competition, C.J. Carey, Dave Freer, Gordon Hanka and John Van Stry!
Libertarian Futurist Society members have made 15 nominations for the Best Novel category of the Prometheus Award.
Of the authors nominated, two thirds are being recognized for the first time by LFS members, perhaps reflecting in part a new generation of emerging writers whose varied works fit the award’s distinctive focus on science fiction and fantasy, broadly conceived, that dramatizes libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes.
So far, in the first two parts of his Prometheus-blog interview, SF writer Karl K. Gallagher has answered questions about his own novels. Now, in the wide-ranging conclusion, the focus shifts to other authors and his favorite works – including the “sense of wonder” and “sense of freedom” that he gets from his favorite pro-liberty sf novels.
Q: Which authors in particular have influenced you most as a writer – whether in terms of their style, themes or spirit?
If you’re a fan of science fiction and fantasy and appreciate a bargain, you’ll want to check out the just-opened book sale by a group of indie authors – including a current Prometheus Best Novel finalist.
But hurry! There’s a deadline….
The book sale runs through June 21, in coordination with the Libertycon science fiction convention, and includes discounts on published novels and books by many libertarian and pro-freedom authors.
Frequent Best Novel finalist Karl K. Gallagher is among the participating authors.
Note: This is the latest Prometheus-blog review of our 2022 Best Novel finalists, following previously posted reviews of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and Lionel Shriver’s Should We Stay Or Should We Go.
In Seize What’s Held Dear, the third volume of Karl Gallagher’s The Fall of the Censor series, the action returns to Corwynt, a planet controlled by the Censorate that the Fieran protagonists visited in the first volume. Much of the story develops in parallel tracks following the situation on the planet’s surface and the continuing struggle in space.
The primary conflict grows out of the Censorate’s basic rule that access to information is to be restricted as much as possible. In a fashion similar to China’s Qin Dynasty, access to historical works is prohibited, and their mere possession is a capital crime.
The result is a totalitarian society of a novel sort, different from those in classic dystopias. Fiera, the planet that opposes the Censorate after a hyperspatial route between them has reopened, has no such prohibition — and for that very reason the Censorate cannot tolerate its survival. Fiera doesn’t offer a model for a libertarian society, but it’s comparatively free and is struggling to preserve that freedom.
Author Karl K. Gallagher, a frequent Prometheus Awards nominee and Best Novel finalist, is keeping busy and catching up with an ambitious writing schedule – including a new novel just published: Captain Trader Helmsman Spy.
This is the fourth novel in the Fall of the Censor series for the Texas-based writer, currently a 2022 Best Novel finalist for two different novels (the second and third) in that series.
Captain Trader Helmsman Spy, published May 9, 2022 by Kelt Haven Press, focuses on an exploratory mission to gather more information about the authoritarian Censorate in the ongoing series about a complex interstellar conflict between two long-separated but newly connected sets of human-colonized solar systems – one relatively free and peaceful, blending diverse cultures through mutual trade, and the other near-totalitarian in its murderous control of many planets and Orwellian cancellation of history and culture.
If one of the salutary effects of the Prometheus Award for Best Novel over the decades has been to help raise the visibility of new, young or emerging talent, that goal might well be furthered by this year’s larger-than-usual slate of nominees.
These 16 novels, published in 2021 and listed below, reflect a wide range of styles, from the satirical to the sorrowful and from hard sf to mythic fantasy.
Eleven novels have been nominated by Libertarian Futurist Society members for the 2021 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
These novels, published 2020, reflect a wide range of subjects, styles and settings – from the day after tomorrow to the distant future, and from right here on Earth to far-flung solar systems.
Yet, each novel in some way illuminates the value and meaning of freedom, explores the ethics and benefits of cooperation over coercion, and/or dramatizes the dangers of tyranny, aggression, war and authoritarianism in its myriad forms of the Left or Right.