* A mythologized historical fable of the cyclic struggle for civilization by a world-renowned British-born Indian-American novelist.
* An Afrofuturist science-fiction story of oligarchy and resistance by an African-born and American-raised writer.
* And the latest sequel in a post-apocalyptic dystopian wild-west Texas saga of genetic manipulation and individualistic resilience by a Texas writer.
Those are just three of 17 wide-ranging sf/fantasy novels published in 2023 and nominated for the next Prometheus Award – a sample of the remarkable variety in subjects, themes, genres and styles possible in stories that explore in different ways pro-liberty, anti-tyranny, anti-slavery or other anti-authoritarian themes.
Here is Part 4 of the Prometheus Blog guide to the Best Novel nominees, with capsule descriptions to whet your appetite for Salman Rushdie’s Victory City, C.T. Rwizi’s House of Gold and R.H. Snow’s Trail of Travail.
John Tilden, president of The Heinlein Society, spoke Aug. 19 during the 2023 Prometheus Awards ceremony to accept the Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction for Robert Heinlein’s short story “Free Men.”
Tilden spoke eloquently about Heinlein’s legacy in general and about the setting and themes of his winning story in particular, while shedding some fascinating light on its provenance and place in Heinlein’s Future History series.
For the record, here is a transcript of Tilden’s speech:
BY JOHN TILDEN
It is my pleasure to provide a few remarks on this occasion of Robert Heinlein’s short story “Free Men” being inducted into the Prometheus Award’s Hall of Fame. I add my thanks to the Libertarian Futurist Society for this honor.
Following the recently posted first part of Dave Freer’s 2023 Best Novel acceptance speech, here is the conclusion, in which the 2023 Prometheus winner describes his winning novel Cloud-Castles, how it reflects Australia’s outback culture and why he wrote it.
BY DAVE FREER
Cloud-Castles was born out of a libertarian to outright anarchist concept: that the best defense of liberty is the ability to leave any form of bondage easily.
Autocracies inevitably have barriers to keep people IN. The freer the society… the less they care if you leave. In fact, if anything, they have to try and keep themselves from being swamped by people who want in.
Editor’s introduction: Dave Freer, 2023 Prometheus winner for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles, is the first author from the Southern Hemisphere to win a Prometheus Award.
An Australian who lives in Tasmania, Freer delivers his acceptance speech from Cambridge, England, where he was visiting his son. Freer’s speech was part of the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, which aired live Aug. 19 internationally via Zoom, with Prometheus-winning author Sarah Hoyt presenting Freer with his award. Here is the transcript of his speech:
BY DAVE FREER
Firstly, I would like to apologise for my accent. I come from a polyglot of origins, or, as rural Australians would yell it, “Yer a bloody mongrel, yer drongo.”
That’s a very accurate description, as it allows for hybrid vigour, and no pretentions of grandeur or delusions of good behaviour. I do feel rather like the scruffy mongrel who has slipped the leash, stolen a slab of bacon and a string of sausages from a butcher’s shop, and run, hotly pursued, into the midst of the hallowed halls of the Crufts dog show. There I have jumped up onto the winner’s podium, panting and grinning, to enjoy my ill-gotten gains, while the judges and former winners look on in horror.
Australian writer Dave Freer had some interesting thoughts about the Greek God Prometheus and Robert Heinlein after learning that his novel Cloud-Castles has won the 2023 Prometheus Award for Best Novel.
“According to Aeschylus, (Prometheus) caused blind hope to live in the hearts of men (a goal of my writing if ever had one),” Freer wrote in “Prometheus Bound,” his latest post on the Mad Genius Club blog.
“A trickster who stole fire from the gods for man and pushed them towards science and technology, as well deceiving the powers-that-be (Zeus) of the day, into choosing the rubbish which looks good on the outside, instead of the good that looks rubbish on the outside… he’s my sort of guy,” Freer said.
The Libertarian Futurist Society has created an attractive new introductory flyer.
The new flyer, available to download and print out from the LFS website, incorporates updated wording to explain our mission and the distinctive focus of the Prometheus Awards.
The flyer also adds the names of several recent Prometheus-winning authors and some of their winning fiction titles as examples of the award’s track record and focus.
Perhaps most notable: the replacement of older “endorsement” quotes with excerpts from more-recent articles in publications that have taken a positive look at the LFS and our four-decade-old awards program.
The flyer also boasts a new illustration: the LFS/Prometheus logo of a hand cradling fire.
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.
Here is the second half of the Prometheus Blog interview with author-songwriter Leslie Fish.
Fish, interviewed by journalist and blog editor Michael Grossberg, won the 2014 Special Prometheus Award for her novella “Tower of Horses” (published in the Music of Darkover anthology) and related filk-song “The Horseman’s Daughter.”
LFS: Did science fiction and fantasy have a major influence on how you developed your views of the world?
Fish: Yes, if only by leading me to think outside the box, and to always ask “What if?”
LFS: How did your anarchist and anti-statist views evolve?
Fish: I learned early on to throw out the muddy ideas of “socialism”… from my observation of the real world. I saw for myself that in a free society people will voluntarily gather into interest groups to achieve what they want, and no “force-propped authority” is necessary to make them do it.