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.

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

Rich Man’s Sky: Wil McCarthy’s Best Novel finalist imagines billionaire-led quest for private solar-system development

Introduction: This is the final review in a series that the Prometheus blog has been publishing this spring and summer to highlight the 2022 Best Novel finalists.

This review of Wil McCarthy’s Rich Man’s Sky follows previously posted reviews of the other four finalists: Lionel Shriver’s Should We Stay Or Should We GoKazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and Karl K. Gallagher’s Between Home and Ruin and Seize What’s Held Dear.

By Michael Grossberg

Venturing beyond the Earth to explore, colonize and industrialize our solar system has been a dream of humanity – and that dream is beginning to materialize.

Four billionaires play key roles in striving to bring such dreams to life in Rich Man’s Sky (Baen Books, 291 pages), a 2022 Best Novel finalist by Wil McCarthy.

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Seize What’s Held Dear: Karl Gallagher’s Best Novel finalist explores cultural clash of customs, battle for freedom against novel interstellar tyranny

Note: This is the latest Prometheus-blog review of our 2022 Best Novel finalists, following previously posted reviews of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and Lionel Shriver’s Should We Stay Or Should We Go.

By William H. Stoddard

In Seize What’s Held Dear, the third volume of Karl Gallagher’s The Fall of the Censor series, the action returns to Corwynt, a planet controlled by the Censorate that the Fieran protagonists visited in the first volume. Much of the story develops in parallel tracks following the situation on the planet’s surface and the continuing struggle in space.

The primary conflict grows out of the Censorate’s basic rule that access to information is to be restricted as much as possible. In a fashion similar to China’s Qin Dynasty, access to historical works is prohibited, and their mere possession is a capital crime.

The result is a totalitarian society of a novel sort, different from those in classic dystopias. Fiera, the planet that opposes the Censorate after a hyperspatial route between them has reopened, has no such prohibition — and for that very reason the Censorate cannot tolerate its survival. Fiera doesn’t offer a model for a libertarian society, but it’s comparatively free and is struggling to preserve that freedom.

Continue reading Seize What’s Held Dear: Karl Gallagher’s Best Novel finalist explores cultural clash of customs, battle for freedom against novel interstellar tyranny

Guess who: What world-famous billionaire reveals he’s a lifelong sf fan and counts Heinlein’s most libertarian novel among his favorites?

 

Guess what world-famous billionaire has revealed that Robert Heinlein’s libertarian sf classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was his favorite novel while growing up?

Hint: The billionaire praises the novel, one of the earliest and best known Prometheus Award winners, on his blog.

“When I was a kid, I was obsessed with science fiction… The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was a particular favorite,” he writes.

(Make your guess before clicking on to the next page to see the answer…)

Continue reading Guess who: What world-famous billionaire reveals he’s a lifelong sf fan and counts Heinlein’s most libertarian novel among his favorites?

Heinlein’s Children: Tom Jackson’s fanzine essay on libertarians in sf fandom

Libertarianism and science fiction have been closely connected since their early history, a rich topic often explored here on the Prometheus Blog.

Robert Heinlein, a drawing (Creative Commons license)

Libertarian sf fan Tom Jackson explores their connections anew in his recently published essay “Heinlein’s Children: Libertarians in fandom.”

Published in “Portable Storage,” William Brieding’s sf fanzine, Jackson’s interesting and historically knowledgeable article offers a very readable introduction to the subject for the fanzine’s “The Great Sercon Issue Part One.”

Continue reading Heinlein’s Children: Tom Jackson’s fanzine essay on libertarians in sf fandom

Dangerous Visions anthology and Reason review highlight Heinlein and other Prometheus winners

By Michael Grossberg

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.

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Latest crop of Hall of Fame nominees reflect broad range and many types of fiction

This year’s nominees for the Prometheus Hall of Fame encompass several genres and types of fiction.

Of the eight works being considered by judges as potential finalists, one is a short story, one a song, one a TV episode, one a collection of linked stories and four are novels – plus, half are first-time nominees.

This year’s line-up of Best Classic Fiction nominees may be the freshest in years as well as the broadest, at least in terms of types of fiction, in the history of this Prometheus awards category, first presented in 1983.

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Exploring freedom on the frontiers of Free Space, the first explicitly libertarian sf anthology and first Prometheus Special Award winner

 

“Now we dare the great
Promethean sin
And bring fire back to heaven
on our rockets.”
– Robert Anton Wilson
“Free at Last,” from Free Space

By Michael Grossberg

Free Space, the first Special Prometheus Award-winner in 1998, has the distinction of being the first explicitly libertarian sf anthology.

Published in 1997 by TOR Books and edited by Brad Linaweaver and Ed Kramer, Free Space generated immense excitement among libertarian sf fans.

Today, almost a quarter century later, quite a few of its stories remain worth reading (or worth rereading) by freedom-lovers and, for that matter, anyone who enjoys interesting and imaginative sf speculations about humankind’s future in space.

The 352-page collection, dedicated to Robert and Ginny Heinlein, offers a wide range of stories and short fiction by 20 writers reflecting several generations and multiple perspectives.

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A Prometheus milestone: a progress report on completion of the blog’s Hall of Fame appreciation series, and how to access it

The Prometheus Blog’s ongoing Appreciation series has reached a milestone -after two productive years of regularly published review-essays exploring and explaining the libertarian and anti-authoritarian themes of past Prometheus winners.

With the recent publication of an appreciative review-essay about the 2021 winner (F. Paul Wilson’s short story “Lipidleggin’), the appreciation series for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction is now complete – and conveniently accessible via links from our Prometheus Awards page.

Or at least it’s now as up-to-date as possible – until next year’s winner is announced.

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Self-discovery, crime, law, anarchy, the social compact and social sf: Robert Heinlein’s Coventry, the 2017 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

The Libertarian Futurist Society’s Appreciation series, launched in 2019 to celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history, is publishing review-essays of all past award-winners that make clear why each deserves recognition as a pro-freedom work.
Here’s an appreciation for Robert Heinlein’s story “Coventry,” the 2017 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg and Jesse Markowitz

What is the ideal society? Is utopia even possible?

How close has the United States come to an ideal society, even with the inevitable flaws that beset every country and culture?

These are among the perennial questions explored and dramatized in Robert Heinlein’s classic story Coventry.

Related questions also emerge: How do you build a utopia and who do you build it for? Is it possible, fair and just to build a utopian alternative for some, but not for others?

Continue reading Self-discovery, crime, law, anarchy, the social compact and social sf: Robert Heinlein’s Coventry, the 2017 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner