By Michael Grossberg
Good news for lovers of liberty, culture and artistic integrity: Matilda, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Roald Dahl’s other children’s classics will continue to be published and reprinted in their original uncensored forms.
That sudden and welcome reversal (see our previous blog post) is thanks to a remarkably wide range of principled and thoughtful responses from across the political spectrum objecting to the plans by the late great Dahl’s cowardly and conformist British publisher to bowdlerize his bestselling children’s classics in doctored reprints.
Continue reading British publisher backtracks, “saves” Roald Dahl’s uncut classics (but don’t breathe sighs of relief just yet)
By Michael Grossberg
They keep coming to cancel or censor more fiction and more classics of literature. Now, disturbingly, it’s Roald Dahl’s turn.
The re-editing, rewording and outright expungement of now-disfavored wording in the delightfully subversive and amusing children’s books by the late great British writer, who died in 1990 at 74, are just the latest example of efforts to suppress or censor literature.
But the “they,” this time, doesn’t refer only to government agencies, bureaucrats and woke cultists eager to shove more politically incorrect stories and thoughts down Orwell’s proverbial memory hole.
This time, ironically but unsurprisingly, “they” includes Dahl’s British publisher Puffin and the Dahl estate, eagerly colluding to publish bowdlerized versions of his books to avoid “triggering” anyone.
Continue reading ‘Charlie’ canceled! ‘Matilda’ mutilated! ‘Peach’ sliced! Anti-authoritarian children’s book author Roald Dahl ‘bowdlerized,’ with his subversive words, outrageous characters changed, deleted in new editions
“Give me liberty or give me death.”
— Patrick Henry’s speech to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia
By Michael Grossberg
Give Me Liberty, an anthology of freedom-loving science fiction, is one of two linked Baen Books anthologies recognized together with a 2005 Special Prometheus Award.
Give Me Liberty and Visions of Liberty, both co-edited by veteran libertarian Mark Tier and veteran sf editor Martin H. Greenberg, make an apt pair of bookends of freedom-loving sf anthologies.
Continue reading SF anthology Give Me Liberty imagines future freedom fighters: Part One of an Appreciation of the 2005 Special Prometheus Award winner
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as anti-authoritarian or pro-freedom, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of all past award-winners.
Here is an Appreciation for Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron,” the 2019 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
By Michael Grossberg
The government’s Handicapper General enforces new constitutional amendments mandating that no one can be stupider, uglier, weaker, slower – or in any way better – than anyone else.
To enforce this authoritarian and radical egalitarian edict, perfectly capable people are forced to accept and wear various disabling devices that handicap their capabilities and basic humanity.
Leave it to the great American novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. to come up with such a classic cautionary fable about a dystopian future in the United States in which coercive egalitarianism – a close cousin of progressivism – is taken to such radical and inhuman extremes in a perverse authoritarian revolt against personal excellence.
Continue reading Egalitarianism taken to coercive extremes in attacks on excellence: Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron,” the 2019 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series offers review-essays of past award-winners that make clear why each deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work. Here’s an appreciation for writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd’s graphic novel V for Vendetta, the 2006 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”– V for Vendetta
By Michael Grossberg
V for Vendetta dramatizes and illustrates a horrific cautionary tale about the loss of freedom and identity itself in a chilling totalitarian future.
The 1989 graphic novel, created by British writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd, has been widely acclaimed as a defining work within the medium of comics and the emerging art of graphic novels – and deservedly so.
Like some of the best dystopian novels, this vivid fusion of word and image chronicles the debilitating and soul-crushing impact of living in an authoritarian police state. That’s a nightmare that few understand who haven’t experienced it, but V for Vendetta makes it palpable.
Happily, V for Vendetta isn’t just harrowing but also inspiring – for it also highlights the power of the human spirit to resist tyranny. The graphic novel earns our sympathy for a few valiant if damaged souls who find the courage to rebel against the excesses and norms of truly unlimited government.
Continue reading A vivid graphic novel about resisting a totalitarian future: Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta, the 2006 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
If you haven’t browsed through back issues of Prometheus, you should.
You’re missing out on a lot of fascinating and insightful stuff – with ideas and insights that often remain timely and surprisingly timeless.
A treasure trove of articles, essays, reviews, interviews, debates, acceptance speeches, con reports and letters was published between 1982 and 2016 in Prometheus, the journal of the Libertarian Futurist Society. (The Prometheus blog, launched in 2017, replaced the printed quarterly.)
The Prometheus page of the LFS website is being updated and made more accessible – thanks to the efforts of Chris Hibbert, Anders Monsen and other past Prometheus editors.
In an ongoing effort, Hibbert and other veteran LFS leaders have been volunteering their time to steadily digitize the Prometheus back issues. Most are now available to read free, either with direct HTML links to each article or with a PDF link to the entire issue.
Check out all the back issues and articles on the Prometheus Index page.
WORLDCON SF AUTHORS ON LIBERTY, LIBERALISM AND LIBERTARIANISM
To whet your appetite, here is a fascinating and still-relevant excerpt from one of the earliest Worldcon reports ever published in Prometheus, which sheds light on sf, liberty and the complex relationship between libertarianism and liberalism.
Continue reading Back issues of Prometheus, the LFS quarterly journal, offer a treasure trove of gems and libertarian insights
Here is an Appreciation of Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, inducted into the 1987 Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
By William H. Stoddard
Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land wasn’t just a best seller, and the book that made publishers take science fiction seriously as a commercial proposition; it was a major influence on the hippie movement, the counterculture more generally, and neo-pagan and New Age thought.
Given all this, it seemed paradoxical to some readers that Heinlein was also the author of Starship Troopers,with its praise of military service and especially, as Heinlein said, of the “poor bloody infantry” — the foot-soldiers who stood between their native planets and the desolation of war. Heinlein himself saw no such paradox; he said, in fact, that the two books reflected the same ethical and political ideas.
What did these two seemingly disparate works have in common? At the deepest level, the answer is “a sort of libertarianism”: not advocacy of the free market, or of specific constitutional arrangements, or of constitutional goverment as such (though such ideas appear in Heinlein’s other works), but a basic ethical principle.
Continue reading Authority, responsibility and a “man from Mars”: Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, a 1987 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner
Travis Corcoran holds up his Prometheus Award.
Here is the acceptance speech by Travis Corcoran for 2019 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Causes of Separation. (Corcoran could not attend the Dublin Worldcon but wrote this acceptance speech to be read there at the ceremony.)
I would like to thank the LFS for this year’s award, but more generally, I’d like to thank them for existence of the Prometheus award, all forty years of it. It’s good that our subculture has a long-lived award to recognize excellent science fiction, especially pro-liberty science fiction.
But the Prometheus award is not merely recognition, it’s an incentive!
In fact, I might not have written my novels without the Prometheus to aim for. But the Prometheus is not a financial incentive. The one-ounce gold coin on the plaque is nice, but neither I nor any of the other winners over 40 years would ever trade or sell it, and thus – ironically – it has no financial value.
Continue reading Travis Corcoran accepts 2019 Prometheus Award for Causes of Separation