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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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

John Christmas interview, part two: What the novelist and awards judge looks for in Prometheus nominees and what he’s learned about writing fiction

LFS member John Christmas, a Prometheus Best Novel judge for the past decade, has written and published two novels.

Most recently, Christmas co-wrote KGB Banker, a contemporary political thriller recently recognized by Best Thrillers as the “Best Conspiracy Thriller of 2022.”
In this second part of his Prometheus Blog interview, Christmas discusses what he looks for in judging Prometheus nominees, and shares more about what he’s learned about writing fiction and appreciating good fiction.

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Interview: Best Novel judge John Christmas on favorite Prometheus winners, lessons learned about writing fiction from judging the awards

“My experience as a writer helps me as a judge. And, my experience as a judge helps me as a writer.” – John Christmas

LFS member John Christmas, a published novelist, has served as a Prometheus Best Novel judge for about a decade now.

Author, LFS judge John Christmas Photo courtesy of Christmas

Christmas co-wrote KGB Banker, a contemporary political thriller recently recognized by Best Thrillers as the “Best Conspiracy Thriller of 2022.”

Christmas’s first novel was Democracy Society, a futuristic libertarian novel about fighting a corrupt government.

In this interview, Christmas discusses some of his favorite Prometheus-winning novels, how his creative writing has helped him be a better awards judge, and how serving as a Best Novel judge has benefited him as a writer.

The Christmas interview also seems timely in how it sheds light on the awards-judging process, since the Best Novel finalist judging committee is currently reading and discussing more than a dozen nominees and candidates for nomination in the final month or two before voting to select the annual slate of finalists.

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Science fiction’s prophetic dystopias: Niall Ferguson Spectator essay sheds light on Prometheus winners Bradbury, Orwell, Stephenson and Zamyatin while drawing timely comparisons to Huxley

How can science fiction be used to explore and perhaps take steps to prevent the darker possibilities of the future?

Writer-historian Niall Ferguson examines the benefits and prophetic classics of science fiction in an intriguing essay in The Spectator magazine.

Several Prometheus-winning authors – including Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Sinclair Lewis (It Can’t Happen Here), George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four), Neal Stephenson (The System of the World, Snow Crash) and Yevgeny Zamyatin (We) – are discussed with intriguing and incisive commentary in Ferguson’s recent article, “How Science Fiction Novels Read the Future.”

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Will McCarthy’s 2022 Prometheus Award acceptance speech: The nutritional value of literature

Here is the acceptance speech by sf writer Wil McCarthy, winner of the 2022 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Rich Man’s Sky. McCarthy presented his speech Aug. 13, 2022, via Zoom as part of the LFS’ annual awards ceremony, which included two-time Prometheus winner Travis Corcoran as presenter of the Best Novel category.

BY WIL MCCARTHY

Howdy.  I’m very happy to be here, and I’d like to thank all of you for inviting me.  Yours is a great organization with a noble purpose, and I can only imagine the energy that goes into it.  I think it’s ironic that I’m the one getting recognition today, when you all are the ones doing the work.  My only regret is that I’m not able to thank you in person.

Rich Man's Sky
Rich Man’s Sky

Continue reading Will McCarthy’s 2022 Prometheus Award acceptance speech: The nutritional value of literature

Klara and the Sun: Ishiguro’s Best Novel finalist offers hauntingly ambiguous tragedy about unrecognized agency, awareness and rights

By Michael Grossberg

The sympathetic character at the center of Klara and the Sun is profoundly human in her caring, determination, curiosity, loyalty and observant intelligence.

And yet, Klara is an artificial being, an android branded and sold as an Artificial Friend in Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel, one of five 2022 Prometheus Best Novel finalists.

Set a generation or two into the future and strictly told from the highly limited point of view of Klara, the novel never fully answers the question of whether Klara has achieved full self-awareness (and thus should be treated as a person with rights.)

Yet, Ishiguro carefully drops enough clues and hints to make Klara and the Sun both a tantalizingly ambiguous mystery about the threshold of full consciousness and a haunting meta-libertarian parable about the foundations of rights and the tragedy that can occur when basic “humanity” and basic rights go unrecognized.

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A preview of 2022 blogs, as our Appreciation Series approaches a milestone of 100 review-essays illuminating past Prometheus Award winners

As an eventful year ends, the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS) is approaching a milestone: 100 Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, all posted on this LFS/Prometheus blog.

That’s a milestone to savor, especially given the ongoing efforts and commitments by LFS leaders and contributors over the past 30 months to write and post these informative and insightful review-essays.

Here’s an overview of our progress, an explanation of why the Appreciations are important (including tips on how you can use and refer to them), and a preview of some of the upcoming articles you can expect from the Prometheus Blog in 2022.

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Prometheus-winning author Neal Stephenson to discuss his latest sf novel

Prometheus-winning author Neal Stephenson will discuss his latest novel Nov. 19 in an American Purpose podcast.

Stephenson, a two-time Prometheus winner for Best Novel, will discuss his 2021 novel Termination Shock at 12 p.m. Friday Nov. 19 (Eastern Time) in an online discussion with Francis Fukuyama, chairman of the editorial board of American Purpose magazine.

Widely acclaimed both within the field of science fiction and outside it, Stephenson is known for writing speculative fiction, cyber punk, and other related genres. Termination Shock is his 13th book.

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