17 works of science fiction, fantasy and dystopian literature are nominated for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel

Libertarian Futurist Society members have made 17 nominations for the Best Novel category of the next Prometheus Award.

Of the authors whose works are nominated, a majority are being recognized for the first time by the LFS and the Prometheus Awards.

Ten novelists are being recognized for the first time with Prometheus nominations. Listed in alphabetical order, those authors are Stephen Albrecht, Devon Eriksen, Howard Andrew Jones, Naomi Kritzer, Paul Lynch, Sandra Newman, Salman Rushdie, C. T. Rwizi, Fenton Wood and Alan Zimm.

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The Best of the Blog: Three 2023 posts worth remembering (and rereading)

By Michael Grossberg

Although 2023 has ended, it’s interesting and illuminating to look back at the highlights of the past year – and perhaps read an article that you may have overlooked. For the Prometheus Blog, there were quite a few memorable posts.

Robert Heinlein (Photo courtesy of the Heinlein Trust)

Among my personal favorites:

* author Karl Gallagher’s tribute to Robert Heinlein and appreciation for his 2023 Hall of Fame winner, “Free Men.”

* William H. Stoddard’s illuminating essay on “Economics in Science Fiction” (along with a critique of the common “overproduction” myth), and

* a commentary on one of the most unheralded firsts of the year: basically, the first libertarian-individualist-themed sci-fi film to ever win the Oscar for best picture.

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A Prometheus blog milestone: A record number of posts in 2023

Numbers count.

In 2023, the Prometheus Blog surpassed previous years in the number, frequency and regularity of posts.

By the time this year ends, the Prometheus blog will have posted a record 78 articles – from essays, reviews and commentaries to news, awards updates, tributes and progress reports.

Ever since 2017, when the Prometheus Blog replaced Prometheus, the Libertarian Futurist Society’s former printed quarterly review and newsletter, the goal has been to gradually increase the frequency of posts to equal and then surpass the amount of material previously published in the four quarterly printed issues.

And this year, we succeeded.

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How and Why to Fight For Freedom: An Appreciation of Heinlein’s “Free Men,” the 2023 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction


As part of the LFS’ ongoing Appreciation series of review-essays explaining how each Prometheus Award-winner fits the distinctive libertarian and anti-authoritarian focus of the sf/fantasy award and why it deserved to win, here is an Appreciation by author Karl K. Gallagher (a frequent Best Novel finalist himself) of Robert Heinlein’s story “Free Men,” the 2023 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Karl K. Gallagher

Many writers have “trunk stories”—pieces rejected so many times that the writer shoves them into a trunk and stops sending them out again. “Free Men” seems to have been one of Heinlein’s trunk stories.

The Expanded Universe foreword says he wrote it in 1947, just a year after Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech. The story wasn’t published until 1966, in the Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein single-author collection.

I can understand why editors didn’t want it.

It’s a grim story, with the protagonist left bleeding out as his followers flee to a new hiding place.

The premise is a USA occupied after losing WWIII, by an enemy willing to nuke towns as reprisals against guerillas. The kind of story that makes readers put the terms “unpatriotic,” “defeatist,” or “advocating ‘better red than dead’” in the letters cancelling their subscriptions.

So why did Heinlein write it? And why do some readers love it?

Continue reading How and Why to Fight For Freedom: An Appreciation of Heinlein’s “Free Men,” the 2023 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction

Fresh crop of Best Novel finalists spans genres, with most authors recognized for first time in Prometheus history

By Michael Grossberg

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!

Continue reading Fresh crop of Best Novel finalists spans genres, with most authors recognized for first time in Prometheus history

LFS members make 15 nominations for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel

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.

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A sense of wonder: The Gallagher Interview (part 3), about Heinlein, Niven, Bujold and other sf authors, favorite novels, and what he thinks of awards

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?

Robert Heinlein, a drawing (Creative Commons license)

A: Robert Heinlein, for ideals and heroic characters.

Larry Niven, for ideas driving stories.

Lois McMaster Bujold, for looking at what a change will do to people and how they’ll react.

Continue reading A sense of wonder: The Gallagher Interview (part 3), about Heinlein, Niven, Bujold and other sf authors, favorite novels, and what he thinks of awards

Libertycon-related “indie” book sale includes pro-liberty sf, some Best Novel finalists

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.

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Seize What’s Held Dear: Karl Gallagher’s Best Novel finalist explores cultural clash of customs, battle for freedom against novel interstellar tyranny

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.

By William H. Stoddard

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.

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Author update: Karl K. Gallagher continues writing his Fall of the Censor series

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.

Continue reading Author update: Karl K. Gallagher continues writing his Fall of the Censor series