Review: Howard Andrew Jones’ Lord of a Shattered Land offers epic sword-and-sorcery saga with anti-slavery, anti-tyranny, pro-liberty themes

“Howard Andrew Jones is the leading Sword & Sorcery author of the 21st century… His Lord of a Shattered Land is his best work yet… It’s a magnificent achievement, destined to become a modern classic.”
— John O’Neill, World Fantasy Award-winning publisher of Black Gate

By Michael Grossberg

I admit I generally don’t enjoy fantasy as much as science fiction, but I loved Lord of a Shattered Land, one of the best sword-and-sorcery sagas I’ve read.

Howard Andrew Jones’s epic fantasy, published by Baen Books and one of 17 nominees for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel, tells a gripping tale that powerfully and emotionally evokes the evils of slavery and tyranny and the passionate, unquenchable desire of people to be free.

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Review: Salman Rushdie’s Victory City affirms the virtues of liberty, trade and tolerance in a mythological historical fantasy about the cycles of civilization

By Michael Grossberg

Salman Rushdie, the courageous author acclaimed worldwide for both his fiction and personal courage in affirming libertarian values from artistic freedom and freedom of speech/press to the right of dissent, has written a wise and haunting novel in Victory City.


Rushdie’s historical fantasy – a Best Novel nominee for the next Prometheus Award – makes a poignant and powerful case for liberty as a key ingredient in the constellation of value and virtues that support human flourishing and the never-to-be-taken-for-granted rise of civilization.

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Who was Prometheus? Writer Virginia Postrel exposes modern misconceptions while highlighting the Greek myth’s pro-liberty, pro-technology themes

“The ancient myth of Prometheus is not a cautionary tale. It is a reminder that technē raises human beings above brutes. It is a myth founded in gratitude.” – Virginia Postrel

By Michael Grossberg

Who was Prometheus?

Despite modern misconceptions and fears, why does the titan of Greek mythology remain a positive and inspiring symbol of freedom, hope, revolution and progress today?

Virginia Postrel – the former Reason-magazine editor and Atlantic and New York Times columnist, and notable author of the seminal The Future and Its Enemies – brilliantly but concisely challenges common contemporary misunderstandings about the Greek legend in a fascinating and insightful essay on her Substack column.

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The Hogan Interview, part 6: On AI, favorite novels and advice to aspiring writers

By Michael Grossberg

Two-time Prometheus Award-winner James P. Hogan left a lasting legacy for sf fans and liberty lovers.

James P. Hogan (Creative Commons license)

Hogan had a lot to say, both in fiction and non-fiction, about humanity, technology, liberty, science and politics.

Here is the sixth and final part of a Hogan interview previously unpublished in its full, uncut form:

 

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Coming of age as an individualist: Author Dave Freer’s Prometheus interview, part 2

Here is the second part of the Prometheus interview with Australian/Tasmanian author Dave Freer, the 2023 Prometheus winner for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles.

Author Dave Freer at his home desk in Tasmania Photo courtesy of author

Q: How did you first get interested in science fiction/fantasy?

A: I was born into it, you might say. No, not in a hut hopping the Taiga on a solitary chicken-leg as might seem likely, or even half way up a space-elevator, hanging between heaven and earth. Into a family where reading sf and fantasy were a norm.

If you think there to be nothing unusual about this, it is plain you know little of the country and times of my birth.

Continue reading Coming of age as an individualist: Author Dave Freer’s Prometheus interview, part 2

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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A poet of liberty? How Shakespeare upheld and advanced our appreciation of liberty and wariness about unlimited authority

By Michael Grossberg

Does Shakespeare still matter?

And does the world’s greatest playwright have important things to say to libertarians, other freedom lovers and those millions still wrestling in the 21st century with tyranny, war, slavery and other poisonous fruits of statism?

As a veteran theater critic, I’d argue yes on both counts!

So does a thoughtful essay by Michael Lucchese reviewing and comparing two recent books about Shakespeare and his views on liberty and authority in the Law and Liberty journal.

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Liberty vs. equality: International magazine highlights timeless warnings of “Harrison Bergeron,” Vonnegut’s Prometheus-winning fable

By Michael Grossberg

Some Prometheus-winning fiction imagines a better, freer future for humanity, one that libertarian futurists yearn to see come true in some form.

Other Prometheus-winning fiction is more dystopian, offering cautionary warnings about totalitarian tendencies that their authors portray with hopes of preventing them from materializing.

“Harrison Bergeron,” Kurt Vonnegut’s now-classic 1961 short story, which falls into the latter category, satirically but seriously extrapolates the coercive, absurd and even monstrously inhuman possibilities of radical egalitarianism taken to extremes.

Read the Prometheus Blog Appreciation to appreciate why Vonnegut’s story deserved to be recognized by the Libertarian Futurist Society as the 2019 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner.

Overall and at least in theory, it’s a good thing to see outstanding fiction continue to resonate within the broader American and world culture – especially when it’s pro-liberty or anti-authoritarian sf/fantasy and has been recognized through the Prometheus awards.

Unfortunately, “Harrison Bergeron” is becoming all too timely.

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Slavery, liberty, personal responsibility and legacy: The Heinlein Trust and Heinlein Society acceptance speeches for Prometheus Hall of Fame winner Citizen of the Galaxy

The late great Robert Heinlein has received his eighth Prometheus Awards recognition over more than four decades, with his 1957 novel Citizen of the Galaxy recently inducted into the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Hall of Fame.

Robert Heinlein, a drawing (Creative Commons license)

Although Heinlein passed in 1988, his fans are fortunate to have two organizations carrying on his legacy in related and cooperative ways: the Heinlein Trust, established by his wife Ginny after his death, and the Heinlein Society.

Art Dula, Trustee of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust, gave an eloquent and informative extemporaneous speech accepting the 2022 Prometheus Hall of Fame award in Heinlein’s name and memory. Like the entire 40-minute ceremony, broadcast and recorded Aug. 13 on Zoom, Dula’s speech is available to watch on YouTube.*

Meanwhile, John Tilden, president of the Heinlein Society, followed Dula in delivering an interesting and insightful second acceptance speech, for which we do have the text, which we share here for posterity:

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Liberty, evolving self-government and the Rights of Man: C.J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher’s Alliance Rising, the 2020 Prometheus winner for Best Novel

The Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of past Prometheus award-winners in all categories, offering review-essays that strive to make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a notable pro-freedom work.

Here is an Appreciation for C.J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher’s Alliance Rising, the 2020 Prometheus winner for Best Novel.

“The rights of man, in a nonfigurative sense, are what this novel is about.” – William H. Stoddard

By William H. Stoddard

Set in Cherryh’s Alliance-Union universe, Alliance Rising explores its backstory; it appears to take place at an earlier date than any other novel in the series.

Cherryh’s future history assumes that the new societies founded by outward migration will become politically dominant; its two great powers are the Alliance, based at Tau Ceti, and the Union, centered on Lalande 46650, with the whole of Earth as a less powerful backwater.

Alliance Rising, which Cherryh co-wrote with Jane S. Fancher, explores the emergence of this configuration of interstellar powers, taking place not long after the discovery of faster-than-light travel in the twenty-third century by a Union physicist, at a time when Earth is struggling to catch up and preserve its power by building a new ship at Alpha Station, in the solar system of Barnard’s Star.

The new ship’s name, The Rights of Man, offers a pointed bit of symbolism — but one that takes on an ironic quality when the ship’s first test run is a dismal failure that has to be aborted, largely because of the crew’s lack of practical experience.

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