Meet the author: Wil McCarthy, a Best Novel finalist for Rich Man’s Sky

Wil McCarthy has developed a reputation as one of today’s most imaginative, zestful, pro-science and realistic science-fiction writers.

His 11 novels and additional stories blend a Heinlein-esque flair for action and adventure with hard-science extrapolations, plausible futuristic scenarios and interesting characters.

Novelist Wil McCarthy (Photo courtesy of Baen Books)

And yet, McCarthy has never been recognized or nominated for a Prometheus Award – until this year.

McCarthy was nominated for the first time for Rich Man’s Sky, recently named by Libertarian Futurist Society judges one of five Best Novel finalists. The fast-paced 2021 novel dramatizes a near-future space race led by a group of four quite different billionaires.

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Meet the author: Karl K. Gallagher, a double Best Novel finalist for Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear

For only the third time in the 43-year history of the Prometheus Awards, one author has been recognized twice within one year as a Best Novel finalist.

Author Karl K. Gallagher (Creative Commons license)

That’s Karl K. Gallagher, whose 2022 finalists include Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear, respectively the second and third novels in his Fall of the Censor series.

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The 2022 Best Novel finalists reflect a few interesting “firsts”

Even after building up a relatively consistent track record over 43 years, the Prometheus Awards can surprise by venturing here and there into new territory and new authors.

This year’s interesting and varied slate of five Best Novel finalists, selected from 16 nominees by LFS members serving as judges on the Best Novel finalist-selection committee, happens to reflect several intriguing “firsts” or rarities in the history of the awards.

Here are the five finalists, all published in 2021 and contenders for the 2022 Prometheus Award, to be presented online in August at a time and place to be announced:
Between Home and Ruin, by Karl K. Gallagher (Kelt Haven Press, 227 pages)
Seize What’s Held Dear, by Karl K. Gallagher (Kelt Haven Press, 244 pages)
Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber and Faber, 321 pages)
• Rich Man’s Sky, by Wil McCarthy (Baen Books, 291 pages)
Should We Stay Or Should We Go, by Lionel Shriver (Harper Collins, 266 pages)

Just from looking over the finalists list, can you guess any of those “firsts?

As a sort of fun “pop quiz,” why not take a moment to ponder that – before clicking over to the jump page of this blog, which has the answers.

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Bruce Sommer, R.I.P. – Veteran Prometheus judge, board member helped sustain the LFS and its annual awards for decades

Libertarian Futurist Society leaders are remembering Bruce Sommer, a stalwart West Coast science-fiction fan and left-libertarian who helped sustain the Prometheus Awards for many years.

Bruce Sommer (File photo)

Bruce made a big difference as one of the earliest LFS members – and one of the few Life members – who remained active year after year, reading potential award candidates, weighing the pros and cons of nominees and serving for years as a board member.

Yet, even after disability and ongoing health issues began to limit Bruce’s energy and ability to work full-time, he expressed his love of science-fiction fandom and his libertarian ideals of a better and more just, peaceful and cooperative world by reading widely and diligently year after year to find science fiction and fantasy novels that might fit the distinctive pro-liberty and anti-authoritarian focus of the Prometheus Awards.

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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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Free sf books about freedom: An Arts for Liberty recommended reading list highlights Prometheus winners and other libertarian sf fiction

Freedom isn’t free.

But a surprising amount of libertarian science fiction is free.

One freedom-loving sf fan has compiled an interesting list of 26 libertarian sf novels that are free in that other sense, of being available online without charge.

While one might appreciate the ancient truth that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” freedom-lovers of all stripes certainly can also appreciate a bargain when they see it – including the pleasant discovery that the price of a surprising variety of pro-freedom science fiction is zero. Such a deal!

The list of “The 26 Best Free Libertarian Novels,” published by author J.P. Meddled on the Art for Liberty website, explicitly references the Prometheus Awards and includes several Prometheus winners.

But the list is most intriguing for its range and for how it embraces a wide variety of fiction (virtually all science fiction) that explores libertarian themes from the positive benefits of individual choice, free markets, private property and the right of self-defense to the horrors of dictatorship, authoritarian abuses of power and the perennial threats to liberty inherent in the coercive foundations of government.

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A Prometheus milestone: a progress report on completion of the blog’s Hall of Fame appreciation series, and how to access it

The Prometheus Blog’s ongoing Appreciation series has reached a milestone -after two productive years of regularly published review-essays exploring and explaining the libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes of past Prometheus winners.

With the recent publication of an appreciative review-essay about the 2021 winner (F. Paul Wilson’s short story “Lipidleggin’), the appreciation series for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction is now complete – and conveniently accessible via links from our Prometheus Awards page.

Or at least it’s now as up-to-date as possible – until next year’s winner is announced.

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R.I.P., L. Neil Smith: Sf writer, best known for libertarian classic The Probability Broach, leaves a lasting legacy of liberty-loving sf adventure

Libertarian science fiction writer L. Neil Smith has died, leaving a legacy of high-spirited libertarian sf adventure and of the Prometheus Award itself.

L. Neil Smith (Creative Commons photo)

Smith, who died at 75 on Aug. 27, 2021 in Fort Collins, Colo., is best known for his explicitly libertarian novel The Probability Broach and its rambunctious alternate-history sequels in his The North American Confederacy series.

During his writing career from the 1970s into the 2010s, Smith wrote 31 books, including 29 novels, and many essays and short stories.

Quite a few of his works were nominated for Prometheus Awards because of their freewheeling adventure, sense of humor, imaginative alternate-reality scenarios and strong libertarian/individualist themes.

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Banning trans fats and “food that tastes good” – F. Paul Wilson’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech for ‘Lipidleggin”

Here is F. Paul Wilson’s acceptance speech for winning the 2021 Prometheus Award for Best Classic Fiction (the Hall of Fame) for his short story “Lipidleggin'”, which he delivered Aug. 21, 2021, during the online ceremony for the 41st annual Prometheus Awards:

By F. Paul Wilson

Many thanks to the members of the Libertarian Futurist Society for this honor.

I’ll be brief.  (“Lipidleggin’” is a short story, after all.)

Back in the 1970s, a national health care system was a major political topic.  (Some things never change, do they?)  So I asked the next question: If the State is paying for your health care, won’t the State demand a say in behaviors that it considers hazardous to your health?  Like, oh, say, banning saturated fats?

So, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, I wrote this little cautionary tale about a day when foods with saturated fats – such as butter and eggs – would be banned by the government.  I mean, I saw how it could happen, but never for a moment did I believe it would happen.  Not in a free country like our good old U.S. of A.

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