The Prometheus interview with Wil McCarthy, part 2: On temptations of power, libertarianism, his favorite Prometheus authors and why he reads Reason every day

Here is the second part of the Prometheus Blog interview with Wil McCarthy, the 2022 Best Novel winner for Rich Man’s Sky.

SF author Will McCarthy in command of some sort of starship (Photo: Baen Books)

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.

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The Prometheus Interview: 2022 winner Wil McCarthy on Rich Man’s Sky, Heinlein and his return from hiatus

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.

SF writer Wil McCarthy Photo courtesy of author

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.

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Works by Asimov, Heinlein, Lafferty, Lewis, Longyear, Pratchett and more: Judges to select Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists from eight nominees

LFS members have nominated eight works for the next Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

Among them are one song, a novelette, a collection of linked short stories, two short stories and three novels – reflecting the many forms of fiction that are eligible for consideration in this Prometheus category.

With the nominations deadline having passed in September, here is the final list of this year’s nominees:

* The End of Eternity,  a 1955 novel by Isaac Asimov
* “Free Men,” a 1966 novelette by Robert Heinlein
* “Primary Education of the Camiroi,” a 1966 short story by R.A. Lafferty
* That Hideous Strength, a 1945 novel by C.S. Lewis
* Circus World, a 1981 collection of linked stories by Barry B. Longyear
* “The Trees,” a 1978 song by Neal Peart and Rush
* The Truth,  a 2000 novel by Terry Pratchett
* “Or Give Me Death,” a 1955 short story by Donald Westlake

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Origin Story: What Heinlein’s previously unseen fiction and never-produced TV series reveal about his libertarian classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

By William H. Stoddard

In the current century, publishers have brought out previously unseen material by Robert Heinlein.

Some of it is simply alternate versions of familiar novels, such as Podkayne of Mars, The Puppet Masters, Red Planet, and Stranger in a Strange Land.

But we’ve also see works that he didn’t publish, but that he later quarried for the material of later works: For Us, the Living, which supplied a secondary character to Beyond This Horizon and several thematic elements to the Future History, and The Pursuit of the Pankera, which was radically rewritten to give us The Number of the Beast.

With the compilation of the Virginia Edition, not only all of Heinlein’s previously published works have been made available, but various less known ones, such as decades of his letters. Among these are various ventures into scriptwriting for movies and television. Destination Moon is well known, but his proposals for television series were never produced, and only with the Virginia Edition have they become available.

The last of these, Century XXII, was mainly worked on in 1963, and he abandoned it in 1964 after clashes with Howie Horowitz, who proposed the project to him. After that, Heinlein gave up on writing for film and television as a waste of time. But Century XXII casts some light onto Heinlein’s later writing, and especially onto The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, generally regarded as one of his best novels and more specifically as the prototype of libertarian science fiction.

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Slavery, family, and a fight for liberty in a “juvenile” for all readers: An appreciation of Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy, the 2022 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

By William H. Stoddard

From his first stories published in Astounding Science Fiction to such late novels as Friday and Job, Robert Heinlein was recognized as an outstanding science fiction writer.

For many of us, though, our introduction to his writing, and often to science fiction as a genre, came from the twelve novels he published through Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Categorized as “juvenile” and aimed at an audience ranging from boys in junior high school to young men in the armed forces, these books in fact speak to a far wider audience, and are more sophisticated both in literary technique and in the ideas they present, than almost any other boys’ books and indeed than many books for adults.

And those ideas are often relevant to libertarian concerns.

Continue reading Slavery, family, and a fight for liberty in a “juvenile” for all readers: An appreciation of Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy, the 2022 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Why the Hall of Fame is important, and why Citizen of the Galaxy deserves a place in it: Stoddard’s awards-ceremony presentation of the Best Classic Fiction category

In his apt introduction and presentation of the Prometheus Hall of Fame category at the recent 2022 Prometheus Awards ceremony, LFS President William H. Stoddard explains why this annual awards category is such an important part of the Libertarian Futurist Society’s awards program – and why this year’s inductee by Robert Heinlein is so deserving of recognition.

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Slavery, liberty, personal responsibility and legacy: The Heinlein Trust and Heinlein Society acceptance speeches for Prometheus Hall of Fame winner Citizen of the Galaxy

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.

Robert Heinlein, a drawing (Creative Commons license)

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:

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Attending cons and thinking outside the box: Part 2 of the Prometheus interview with writer Leslie Fish

Here is the second half of the Prometheus Blog interview with author-songwriter Leslie Fish.

Fish, interviewed by journalist and blog editor Michael Grossberg, won the 2014 Special Prometheus Award for her novella “Tower of Horses” (published in the Music of Darkover anthology) and related filk-song “The Horseman’s Daughter.”

LFS: Did science fiction and fantasy have a major influence on how you developed your views of the world?

Fish: Yes, if only by leading me to think outside the box, and to always ask “What if?”

LFS: How did your anarchist and anti-statist views evolve?

Fish: I learned early on to throw out the muddy ideas of “socialism”… from my observation of the real world.  I saw for myself that in a free society people will voluntarily gather into interest groups to achieve what they want, and no “force-propped authority” is necessary to make them do it.

Continue reading Attending cons and thinking outside the box: Part 2 of the Prometheus interview with writer Leslie Fish

Self-reliance, liberty and sf: The Prometheus interview with author-singer-songwriter Leslie Fish

“(In sf fandom), the Prometheus is now considered third place after the Hugo and Nebula.” — author-songwriter Leslie Fish

Here is the first part of the Prometheus Blog interview with Leslie Fish, the Prometheus-winning author and songwriter.
Fish, interviewed by journalist and blog editor Michael Grossberg, won a 2014 Special Prometheus Award for her novella “Tower of Horses” and related filk-song “The Horseman’s Daughter.”

Leslie Fish, playing the guitar and singing her songs (Creative Commons license)

LFS: You’ve said a lot of your stories and songs contain libertarian themes. What attracts you to such themes and what kinds of stories do you find best reflect those themes?

Fish: It’s more a case of the ideas being part of me and therefore coloring all my work.  I’ve noticed the nostalgic medievalism of most published Fantasy stories, and the socialistic assumptions of a lot of Science Fiction, and it tends to annoy me, so I tend to write songs and stories that push in the opposite direction.  I’m surprised by how much of my own work is reactive, in this way.

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A celebration of old and new: The 2022 Prometheus Awards recognize Heinlein, McCarthy novels

The 2022 Prometheus Awards, to be presented Aug. 13 in an online ceremony, will honor “something old” and “something new.”

In a wedding of circumstance and happy coincidence, a first-time Prometheus-nominated author (the “something new” according to wedding custom) has been declared the winner in the Best Novel category, while the golden-age sf author most honored in the four-decade-plus history of this award is recognized anew.

Novelist Wil McCarthy (Photo courtesy of Baen Books)

Wil McCarthy, a prolific sf writer nominated for the first time for this award, has been selected by Libertarian Futurist Society members as winner of the Best Novel category for Rich Man’s Sky.

Meanwhile, the late great Robert Heinlein – a Prometheus favorite – will be recognized for his novel Citizen of the Galaxy, which will be inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

Robert Heinlein (Creative Commons license)

Heinlein (1907-1988), now an eight-time Prometheus Award winner, has won more Prometheus awards than any other writer, living or deceased.

Fittingly, Heinlein’s zestful spirit of adventure – championing scientific and social progress against tyranny and oppression and exploring libertarian possibilities of the future – is reflected in both of this year’s winners.

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