Note: The Prometheus Blog welcomes reviews by LFS members and freedom-lovers of all Prometheus Award nominees, not to mention other novels, stories or films of interest.
Here’s a review of one of the 16 2021 novels nominated for the next Prometheus Award for Best Novel. Over the next few months, we hope to publish more reviews of the nominees and the finalists, to be announced in April.
By Michael Grossberg
Life, aging and death are difficult enough for most people to deal with, even when we strive to think and plan ahead and make the best choices we can about our senior years – including the possibilities of assisted living and even euthanasia.
Exploring those increasingly vital and common 21st-century issues in her kaleidoscopic 2021 novel Should We Stay or Should We Go, shrewd contrarian British novelist Lionel Shriver underscores how much worse the outcomes can be when oppressive laws, obtrusive welfare-state bureaucracy, socialized health care, forced medication, involuntary hospitalization, virtual imprisonment, anti-suicide laws, other bad government policies, abuses of power and even today’s dangerous trends of exploding federal debt and rising monetary inflation can damage lives further while undermining our ability to make our own decisions about end-of-life matters.
Continue reading Review: Lionel Shriver’s alternate-reality novel Should We Stay or Should We Go highlights how government paternalism, NHS bureaucracy, runaway inflation and other statist disasters make end-of-life decisions worse
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear what makes each winner deserve recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is presenting weekly Appreciations of past award-winners. Our anniversary series was launched in 2019 – 40 years after the first Prometheus Award was presented – starting with appreciation/reviews of the earliest winners in the original Best Novel category, and continuing in chronological order.
Here’s the latest Appreciation for Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, one of two 2012 Prometheus Award winners for Best Novel:
By Michael Grossberg
Some stories teach the young and remind their elders of core truths about civilization, justice and humanity – such as the goodness of liberty and the evils of slavery.
One of the best is Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, a young-adult historical fantasy novel that focuses on an adolescent girl of 1960 who is magically sent back in time to 1860 when her family owned slaves on a Louisiana plantation.
Sophie, 13, explores a maze while spending the summer at her grandmother’s old Bayou house, part of an old pre-Civil-War plantation, and makes an impulsive wish for escape and grand adventure. Thanks to a mysterious and tricky spirit, her wish is granted and she finds herself unexpectedly stranded a century into the past.
Continue reading Slavery, liberty, racism and the lessons of history: An Appreciation of Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, a 2012 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel
To highlight the Prometheus Awards’ four-decade history and make clear what makes each winner deserve recognition as notable pro-freedom sf/fantasy, the Libertarian Futurist Society is presenting weekly Appreciations of past award-winners. Our anniversary series was launched in 2019 – 40 years after the first Prometheus Award was presented – starting with appreciation/reviews of the earliest winners in the original Best Novel category, and continuing in chronological order. Here’s the latest Appreciation for Dani and Eytan Kollin’s The Unincorporated Man, the 2010 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:
By Michael Grossberg
The Unincorporated Man, an ingenious and imaginative debut novel by the Kollin brothers, was the first book in a planned trilogy that ultimately developed into an ambitious, complex and far-flung tetralogy.
The 2019 novel’s interesting and unusual premise is that education and personal development could be funded by allowing investors to take a share of one’s future income. The novel explores the ways this arrangement would affect those who do not own a majority of the stock in themselves.
For instance, often ones’ investors would have control of a person’s choices of where to live or work. The desire for power as an end unto itself and the negative consequences of the raw lust for power are shown in great detail.
Just as intriguing to many libertarians, who view self-ownership as a foundational principle in modern libertarian thought that by extension grounds human rights in property rights, is the thrilling and poignant struggle for self-ownership that emerges in this novel and its three sequels.
Continue reading Self-ownership and Liberty: An Appreciation of Dani and Eytan Kollin’s The Unincorporated Man, the 2010 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel