They keep coming to cancel or censor more fiction and more classics of literature. Now, disturbingly, it’s Roald Dahl’s turn.
The re-editing, rewording and outright expungement of now-disfavored wording in the delightfully subversive and amusing children’s books by the late great British writer, who died in 1990 at 74, are just the latest example of efforts to suppress or censor literature.
But the “they,” this time, doesn’t refer only to government agencies, bureaucrats and woke cultists eager to shove more politically incorrect stories and thoughts down Orwell’s proverbial memory hole.
This time, ironically but unsurprisingly, “they” includes Dahl’s British publisher Puffin and the Dahl estate, eagerly colluding to publish bowdlerized versions of his books to avoid “triggering” anyone.
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.
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.
A Nobel-Prize-winning author has written a novel chosen as a Best Novel finalist – a notable and interesting intersection of two literary awards with quite different focuses.
Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, writes mostly “mainstream” fiction that often conveys a wistful sense of loss and missed connections.
Klara and the Sun, Ishiguro’s latest novel about the ambiguous status of an intelligent and curious A.F. (Artificial Friend), was recently named by Libertarian Futurist Society judges as one of five 2022 Best Novel finalists.
To celebrate the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear why winners deserve recognition as pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian works, the Libertarian Futurist Society is publishing an Appreciation series of all award-winners. Here’s an appreciation for The Survival of Freedom, edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, the 2001 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner:
The Survival of Freedom was one of the first sf anthologies to explore the future of liberty.
It also has the distinction of being the first (and so far, only) anthology to be inducted (in 2001) into the Prometheus Hall of Fame. This broad awards category for classic fiction is open to any works first published, broadcast or staged more than 20 years ago and encompasses many types of fiction – including but not limited to novels, novellas, stories, plays, poems, songs, musicals, films, TV episodes, series, trilogies and anthologies.
Edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, the 1981 anthology of stories and essays is notable for its wide-ranging and sometimes surprising collection of material.
Now that the Libertarian Futurist Society has announced its 2019 finalists for the Prometheus Hall of Fame (Best Classic Fiction) and posted the news on our lfs.org website and on this Prometheus blog, LFS members (and all interested sf fans) might be curious about where you can find and read them.
The history of modern SF is one of five attempted revolutions — one success and four enriching failures. I’m going to offer a look at them from an unusual angle, a political one. This turns out to be a useful perspective because more of the history of SF than one might expect is intertwined with political questions, and SF had an important role in giving birth to at least one distinct political ideology that is alive and important today.
CAMPBELL AND HEINLEIN
The first and greatest of the revolutions came out of the minds of John Wood Campbell and Robert Heinlein, the editor and the author who invented modern science fiction. The pivotal year was 1937, when John Campbell took over the editorship of Astounding Science Fiction. He published Robert Heinlein’s first story a little over a year later. Continue reading Freedom in the Future Tense: A Political History of SF