The late great Robert Heinlein has received his eighth Prometheus Awards recognition over more than four decades, with his 1957 novel Citizen of the Galaxy recently inducted into the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Hall of Fame.
Although Heinlein passed in 1988, his fans are fortunate to have two organizations carrying on his legacy in related and cooperative ways: the Heinlein Trust, established by his wife Ginny after his death, and the Heinlein Society.
Art Dula, Trustee of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust, gave an eloquent and informative extemporaneous speech accepting the 2022 Prometheus Hall of Fame award in Heinlein’s name and memory. Like the entire 40-minute ceremony, broadcast and recorded Aug. 13 on Zoom, Dula’s speech is available to watch on YouTube.*
Meanwhile, John Tilden, president of the Heinlein Society, followed Dula in delivering an interesting and insightful second acceptance speech, for which we do have the text, which we share here for posterity:
The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, makes clear why each award-winner deserves recognition as a pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian work.
Here’s an appreciation for “Requiem,” Robert Heinlein’s short story, the 2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.
For a good 40 years – between 1957 and 1997 – the premise of Robert Heinlein’s 1940 short story “Requiem” looked dated and quaint, almost laughable. Private space programs? A tycoon flying to the moon? Absurd! For those were the decades in which everyone was sure that space programs had to be vast government-run leviathans.
The Old Man had the last laugh. In the new millennium government-run spaceflight is moribund; all the action is at companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. It is now the era of government-run-space programs that is beginning to look quaint, as the political will to push them evaporated with the end of Cold War competition in 1992.
But this story, and the related “The Man Who Sold The Moon”, resembles today’s reality in a way that is more than coincidence.