To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing Appreciations of past award-winners that make clear why each deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work.
Here is a combined Appreciation of F. Paul Wilson’s Healer, the 1990 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner, and Wilson’s An Enemy of the State, the 1991 Hall of Fame winner.
“There used to be high priests to explain the ways of the king – who was the state – to the masses. Religion is gone, and so are kings. But the state remains, as do the high priests in the guise of Advisors, Secretaries of Whatever Bureau, public relations people, and sundry apologists. Nothing changes.”– From THE SECOND BOOK OF KYFHO
By Michael Grossberg
When the first Prometheus Award was presented in 1979 to F. Paul Wilson for Wheels within Wheels, few realized that the sf mystery novel was an absorbing piece of what would become a much larger future-history saga.
Together with Wheels within Wheels, An Enemy of the State and Healer– respectively the 1990 and 1991 Prometheus Hall of Fame inductees for Best Classic Fiction – form one of the most libertarian sf trilogies ever written.
Set in a positive but realistically flawed interstellar future in which human beings have spread among the stars, the LaNague Federation trilogy focuses on an imperialist central State and empire that is toppled by Peter LaNague, a far-sighted revolutionary who abjures violence in favor of a subtle, long-term plan based on a sophisticated understanding of economics, markets, money and inflation.
Continue reading KYFHO, economics and libertarian revolution in a plausible interstellar future: F. Paul Wilson’s Healer and An Enemy of the State, the 1990-1991 Prometheus Hall of Fame winners
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as notable pro-freedom works, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of past award-winners. Here’s an Appreciation of J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night, the 1989 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:
By Michael Grossberg
Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, Thomas Szasz, Poul Anderson, Jerry Pournelle and Ron Paul were among the prominent writers, fellow freedom-lovers or libertarians who highly praised Alongside Night when it was published in 1979.
Friedman, a world-famous Nobel-laureate economist, endorsed J. Neil Schulman’s sf novel on its cover as “an absorbing novel – science fiction, yet also a cautionary tale with a disturbing resemblance to past history and future possibilities.”
Szasz, a leading psychologist in the libertarian movement, called it “engrossing” and wrote that “it might be, and ought to be, the Atlas Shrugged of the ‘80s.”
Anderson called it “a frightening and all too plausible picture of the near future. America is already a long way down the road that leads to it. yet there is also a hopefulness in the story, for the author develops a philosophy, in considerable practical detail, that we could begin living by today, if we will choose to be free.”
Continue reading Agorist dreams materialize in a near-future of runaway inflation, economic collapse: J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night, the 1989 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
Very sad news: The Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman, a veteran libertarian activist for decades, has died Aug. 10, 2019.
Schulman most recently was recognized for his surreal semi-autobiographical novel The Fractal Man, a 2019 Prometheus Award finalist for Best Novel.
Schulman wrote scripts for episodes of The Twilight Zone and wrote and directed several independent films, including most recently an adaptation of his Prometheus-winning novel Alongside Night.
Continue reading R.I.P., Prometheus-winning author J. Neil Schulman has died
The very first Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, back in 1983, was given, in a tie, to Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, published in 1966, won the Hugo for best novel in 1967. It was a favorite of mine when I read it during the 1970s, as a high school student. Evidently it was a favorite of lots of people.
Tyler Cowen, the influential libertarian-leaning blogger, author and columnist, recently re-read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and found that it holds up. His blog post is not very long, so I’m going to quote it in full:
Yes, by Robert A. Heinlein. I wasn’t expecting too much from this one, which I last read at age 13. Published in 1966, it nonetheless holds up very well and in fact has aged gracefully. It is surprisingly feminist, not at all dewey-eyed about actual rebellion, does not sound antiquated in its tech issues (e.g., malicious AI), has China as central to geopolitics and circa 2076 Greater China controls most of southeast Asia, and the book is full of economics and public choice. TANSTAAFL is coined, but when understood as a section heading it is actually a Burkean slogan, not a libertarian or Friedmanite idea. The lunar rebellion does not achieve independence easily or by keeping its previous friendly nature, nor does Earth receive those “grain shipments” gratis, so to speak. Burke is the Straussian upshot of the whole book — beware societies based on new principles! This is also perhaps the best novel for understanding the logic of a future conflict with North Korea, furthermore Catalonians should read it too. Most of all, I recall upon my reread that this book was my very first exposure to game-theoretic reasoning.
NB: The “character” of Adam Selene is poking fun at H.G. Wells’s lunar Selenites, from The First Man in the Moon, arguably suggesting they descended from earlier human settlers.
Tyler’s post inspired 55 comments (so far!)
— Tom Jackson