Did something significant to science fiction – actually, unprecedented – just happen at the Academy Awards?
It wasn’t really highlighted in any media reports I came across, but isn’t Everything Everywhere All at Once the first outright science fiction film to win the Oscar for Best Picture?
And not only that, but the Best Picture winner is especially intriguing to consider from a libertarian futurist perspective: Is it possible that this year’s Academy Awards recognized one of the most pro-freedom films to ever win an Oscar for best picture?
Such questions are sparked by an intriguing column on Reason magazine’s blog: “Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All At Once Celebrates individalism, Free Will.”
Here is the second part of the Prometheus Blog interview with Wil McCarthy, the 2022 Best Novel winner for Rich Man’s Sky.
Q: Were you aware of the Prometheus Awards before receiving your first Best Novel nomination this past year?
A: I have been aware of the award, yes. I used to think of it as a purely political award, which I think perhaps it was in the early days. But when you see it going to people like Cory Doctorow (Little Brother)and Charles Stross (Glasshouse) — both excellent, thoughtful writers, and clearly not Libertarians in any traditional American sense — I think it’s easier to see it as a genuine literary prize that rewards great ideas and great storytelling.
SF author Wil McCarthy, the 2022 Prometheus Best Novel winner for Rich Man’s Sky, took a long hiatus from writing science fiction, but now he’s back – and happy to answer a few questions about his work.
In the first part of this two-part interview, McCarthy explains why he went on hiatus, admires Robert Heinlein and reads the leading libertarian magazine Reason every day.
Q: You’ve written quite a few sf novels and stories. Why did you go on hiatus and what have you written since you returned?
A: I took a long hiatus from writing to run a tech start-up, among other things. When I came back, the first thing I did was write two novellas, the second of which ended up winning the AnLab award.
Then I wrote two novels, the second of which is Rich Man’s Sky, so it’s nice to see people actually taking notice. It’s a nice way to ease back in.
The Libertarian Futurist Society is on the verge of launching in 2022 an exciting new ad and outreach campaign.
The purpose of the campaign will be two-fold: To raise the visibility of the LFS and the Prometheus Awards and to reach out to potential new members to join the LFS and help sustain the awards and our other programs.
The focus of the ad/outreach effort will be in two areas: print and online.
Several leading sf writers whose classic works have won Prometheus Awards are examined in a new anthology about science fiction’s New Wave.
Most notably, Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Marsh Mistress and Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed are among the libertarian sf works explored, contrasted and debated in Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1985.
Reason book editor Jesse Walker reviews the anthology of essays while noting its discussions of libertarian writers and libertarian-themed sf in the March 2022 issue of Reason magazine.
“For me, there’s something that science fiction has always been the vehicle for thinking about: What would the world be like if different or fewer people had power? That’s an idea that’s increasingly appealing.”
— Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor-in-Chief of Reason magazine
“Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe anyone who has received a Prometheus award has complained about the Prometheus awards. I know some leftwing authors who have received a Prometheus award who are proud of it. They seem to realize that there is something appropriate to it.”
— Jesse Walker, Reason books editor
“I have all sorts of immortality stories, and I’m afraid I’m not in one of them.”
— Novelist Barry B. Longyear, 2021 Prometheus winner for Best Novel
“I like to think the boundaries of what people see as libertarian ideas is blurring into the boundaries of what people perceive as just good mainstream ideas… and that may be a hopeful turn.”
Those are just a few of the interesting or amusing comments made during the related panel discussion on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards” that followed the 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony.
Don’t forget to watch the free online 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony and LFS-Reason panel Saturday.
This is a rare opportunity to watch one of the annual Prometheus Awards program live, via Zoom. (The free link is posted below.)
First up will be a relatively short awards ceremony, followed immediately by a panel discussion, with Reason magazine as the media sponsor and two Reason editors as panelists, on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards.”
How is technology expanding book publishing and alternative fiction, a trend reflected more strongly than ever in this year’s slate of Best Novel finalists for the Prometheus Award?
What’s the historic relationship among science fiction, liberty and the libertarian movement-and is that changing?
What are the challenges and pitfalls of balancing artistic merit in fiction and awards with ideology and positive social values?
How do this year’s Prometheus winners – Longyear’s The Hook and F. Paul Wilson’s satirical story “Lipidleggin’” – explore the value of individual freedom and human rights, champion cooperation over coercion, dramatize the perennial tensions between liberty and power and/or expose the evils of tyranny, slavery and other abuses of unchecked government power?
All these questions will be discussed Saturday afternoon Aug. 21 during the 41st annual Prometheus Awards ceremony in a free post-ceremony Zoom panel discussion, with Reason magazine as media sponsor.
Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward and Reason book editor Jesse Walker will join award-winning author Barry B. Longyear and Libertarian Futurist Society president William H. Stoddard in the post-ceremony panel discussion (for free access, see Zoom link below) on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards.”