After working for many years in England as an electrical engineer, computer salesman and digital-information executive, James P. Hogan wrote his first novel Inherit the Wind to win an office bet.
Against the odds, he won that bet. With his first novel an acclaimed bestseller that received quotable praise from Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, Hogan was on his way – and he ultimately would write 26 novels before his untimely death in 2010 – including the Prometheus winners Voyage From Yesteryear and The Multiplex Man.
Here is the third part of a previously unpublished 2001 interview with Hogan, which sheds light on his work, philosophy and many novels:
I still remember reading James P. Hogan for the first time. What a discovery – and what a mind-expanding thrill.
His science-fiction novels were compulsively readable and scientifically plausible, while often upholding values I cherished, such as a commitment to reason, science, progress, persuasion, free inquiry and liberty.
I loved Inherit the Stars and The Genesis Machine – his first two acclaimed and bestselling novels – for their brilliant science-laced plots and fascinating ideas. And then I read Voyage From Yesteryear, an explicitly libertarian classic that won the 1983 Prometheus Award for Best Novel – and remains today one of the few novels that convincingly portrays a fully free society in a plausible future.
Would you change your life and career just to win an office bet?
Most people wouldn’t, but one adventurous, forward-thinking man did in the 1970s in Great Britain.
If not for that office bet, we might never have enjoyed the many sf novels conceived by one of the best “hard-science-fiction” writers in the field.
Even worse for liberty lovers and LFS members, we might not have benefited from the life and unlikely bestselling career of this man, a true maverick
Who was it?
Here’s a clue: Once he began writing science fiction, this native Englishman ended up writing 26 novels. Thirteen of them received Prometheus nominations for Best Novel – more than almost any other author.* Seven became Best Novel finalists and two won Prometheus Awards.
Can you guess now? (All his Best Novel nominees, finalists and winners are listed in reverse-chronological order on the LFS website on its Prometheus Awards page. Check it out.)
Note: The Prometheus blog periodically posts updates about authors who have been recognized over the years through the Prometheus Awards, especially to report recently published or upcoming books. Submissions of news and updates from authors, publishers or fans are welcome, and will be considered for publication. Here’s the latest update on a relatively recent Prometheus winner:
Prometheus-winning author Travis J. I. Corcoran has been busy writing and publishing books, with more to come.
Corcoran is a two-time Prometheus winner for Best Novel in 2018 and 2019 for The Powers of the Earth and its sequel Causes of Separation. Both novels, part of Corcoran’s Aristillus series, explore government threats to a working anarchs-capitalist colony, established on the Moon by a libertarian dissident who became wealth after discovering anti-gravity in the mid-21st century.
Since Corcoran’s explicitly libertarian sf novels were published, his fans (including but far from limited to Libertarian Futurist Society members) have been eagerly awaiting publication of the next novel in that projected four-novel future history.
But as Corcoran explained in a recent email to the LFS, we’re going to have to wait a while longer to actually read more in the Aristillus series, because the two massive books that Corcoran published in 2021 were actually long-planned non-fiction works.