The Libertarian Futurist Society invited two-time Prometheus winner Travis Corcoran to discuss the importance of libertarian science fiction in his speech as presenter of the 2022 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
Here Is the text of Corcoran’s speech, delivered on Aug. 13 as part of the Zoom awards ceremony, marking the 40th anniversary of the LFS.
(Corcoran presented the Best Novel award to Wil McCarthy for Rich Man’s Sky; the Hall of Fame award went to Robert Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy,)
By Travis Corcoran
The state of written science fiction in 2022 is a bit like the state of western civilization: under assault from all sides, hollowed out, a pale shadow of what it once was.
The soldiers who once defended our grand city have been defeated.
There are invaders inside the gates, cavorting, aping their betters,and desecrating the ancient and sacred temples.
The great bazaars are empty and only a few small peddlers haunt the windy streets.
Most of the citizens who built the city, stone by stone, have been either felled by old age or have wandered away. A few still act as if nothing has changed, but without the support of the great publishers and the cheers of the crowd, the performance rings hollow.
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.
The authors of this year’s Prometheus Award finalists for Best Novel recently gathered for an online chat, which has now been posted publicly on the Eigenrobot podcast.
Sf writers Mackey Chandler, Karl K. Gallagher, Barry Longyear, Marc Stiegler, and Dennis E. Taylor discussed a wide variety of topics in their podcast – including the publishing industry, fandom, changes in science fiction, and the history of the Prometheus Award.
The 2021 Prometheus Awards slate of Best Novel finalists, just announced, reflects an interesting first in the four-decade-plus history of the award.
See if you can identify this first – hint: a reflection of a long-term trend in modern publishing – from scanning this list of the finalist novels, their authors and publishers:
* Who Can Own the Stars? by Mackey Chandler (Amazon Kindle) * Storm between the Stars, by Karl K. Gallagher (Kelt Haven Press)
* The War Whisperer, Book 5: The Hook, by Barry B. Longyear (Enchanteds) * Braintrust: Requiem, by Marc Stiegler (LMBPN Publishing)
* Heaven’s River,by Dennis E. Taylor (An Audible Original, print and ebook editions The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency)
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.
Whether set on Earth, on the Moon, or throughout interstellar space and whether taking place in the near-future or distant future, novels dramatizing fights for freedom and threats of tyranny can achieve a timeless and universal relevance.
Recognizing the perennial tensions between Liberty and Power, the Libertarian Futurist Society presents its annual Prometheus Awards for outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy.
The five 2019 novels that the LFS has just selected as its finalists in the Best Novel category of the 2020 Prometheus Awards certainly range widely in setting, era, plot, character and style. Yet, each sheds fascinating light on the enduring human themes and challenges that inspire each generation’s struggle for freedom amid recurring threats of dictatorship, war, plague, pandemic, powerlust and other ills.