Author’s update: HarperCollins has published Mania, two-time Best Novel finalist Lionel Shriver’s alternate-history novel critiquing radical egalitarianism

By Michael Grossberg

Maverick bestselling novelist Lionel Shriver is at it again, skewering popular shibboleths of elite culture and critiquing false ideologies through her imaginative and insightful fiction.

Author Lionel Shriver in 2006 Photo: Walnut Whippet, Creative Commons license

Shriver, recognized twice over the past decade as a Prometheus Best Novel finalist, has written Mania, a new 286-page alternate-history novel published April 9 by HarperCollins Publishers.

The publisher’s description highlights a theme that seems promising from the perspective of the Prometheus Awards:

“With echoes of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, told in Lionel Shriver’s inimitable and iconoclastic voice, Mania is a sharp, acerbic, and ruthlessly funny book about the road to a delusional, self-destructive egalitarianism that our society is already on.”

Continue reading Author’s update: HarperCollins has published Mania, two-time Best Novel finalist Lionel Shriver’s alternate-history novel critiquing radical egalitarianism

Liberty vs. equality: International magazine highlights timeless warnings of “Harrison Bergeron,” Vonnegut’s Prometheus-winning fable

By Michael Grossberg

Some Prometheus-winning fiction imagines a better, freer future for humanity, one that libertarian futurists yearn to see come true in some form.

Other Prometheus-winning fiction is more dystopian, offering cautionary warnings about totalitarian tendencies that their authors portray with hopes of preventing them from materializing.

“Harrison Bergeron,” Kurt Vonnegut’s now-classic 1961 short story, which falls into the latter category, satirically but seriously extrapolates the coercive, absurd and even monstrously inhuman possibilities of radical egalitarianism taken to extremes.

Read the Prometheus Blog Appreciation to appreciate why Vonnegut’s story deserved to be recognized by the Libertarian Futurist Society as the 2019 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner.

Overall and at least in theory, it’s a good thing to see outstanding fiction continue to resonate within the broader American and world culture – especially when it’s pro-liberty or anti-authoritarian sf/fantasy and has been recognized through the Prometheus awards.

Unfortunately, “Harrison Bergeron” is becoming all too timely.

Continue reading Liberty vs. equality: International magazine highlights timeless warnings of “Harrison Bergeron,” Vonnegut’s Prometheus-winning fable

An allegorical fable about the beastly consequences of communism and coercive egalitarianism: George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the 2011 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.

 To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade-plus history and make clear why each winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work of sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society has been publishing since 2019 a series of Appreciations of all past award-winners.

Here is an Appreciation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the 2011 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg

The title of the allegorical work may make Animal Farm sound like a children’s fable, but it isn’t.

Oh, the short novel certainly can – and probably should – be read by teenagers and more mature younger readers, who likely will enjoy it and also grasp its perennial theme about the corruptions of power and the absolute corruption of absolute power.

Yet, the cautionary themes of George Orwell’s enduring 1945 work truly are aimed at adults.
Continue reading An allegorical fable about the beastly consequences of communism and coercive egalitarianism: George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the 2011 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.