“The Emperor’s New Clothes” – Andersen’s fable remains a useful metaphor and illustrative lesson for today

By Michael Grossberg

One of the best choices that LFS members have made in voting annually in the Best Classic Fiction category, in my opinion, was the decision to induct “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in 2000 into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless anti-authoritarian parable isn’t merely a fable for children but a cautionary tale for everyone about the presumptions and illusions of power — not to mention the dangers of sheep-like conformity…. lessons that still apply today. (Perhaps especially today.)

Possibly because the Danish author’s 1837 story is often grouped somewhat diminutively with Anderson’s other stories as mere “children’s” literature or perhaps for other reasons, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” often seems to be overlooked or dismissed by contemporary columnists and bloggers as a still-resonant metaphor for the blind spots and knee-jerk tribalism of our increasingly conformist, censorious, culture-cancelling and fearful era.

So it’s a pleasure to come across a relatively rare reference to Andersen’s classic among today’s vast social commentary – moreover, not just a brief reference, but a full column from a regular Substack writer who makes the story central to his insightful and timely themes.

The column is even titled in honor of the fable: “The Emperor’s New Art.”

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From Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, today’s discourse often evokes Prometheus-winning classics

By Michael Grossberg

You can’t get away from it these days, for good or ill.

Just about anywhere you look, from mainstream newspapers and magazines to Substack blogs and social-media references, writers, columnists and commentators frequently are referencing classic novels, stories and fables to forge timely metaphors about today’s trends.

George Orwell (Creative Commons license)

All too many prove to be cautionary warnings about the importance of telling the truth, in the midst of so many public falsehoods… and draw upon some of the most enduring Prometheus-winning works of fiction, from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Continue reading From Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, today’s discourse often evokes Prometheus-winning classics

Making ‘em laugh: Which Hall of Fame winners best incorporate comedy?

By Michael Grossberg

Everyone has their favorites among the fiction works that have won the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

And by everyone, I mean virtually everyone – since at least some of the 46 winning works are enjoyed by libertarians and non-libertarians alike, and by both science fiction/fantasy fans and those who don’t often read that genre.

But how many rank the comedies that high?

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The Prometheus Awards reach a notable milestone: 100 works recognized!

Before 2022 ends, it’s worth noting that the Prometheus Awards reached a pretty big milestone this year.

It involves a nice round number, too: 100 – the total number of works recognized by the Prometheus Awards in all three categories since the award was established more than four decades ago.

From 1979, when the very first Prometheus Award was presented to F. Paul Wilson’s novel Wheels Within Wheels, through 2022, 90 works of fiction have been recognized in the Libertarian Futurist Society’s two annual categories for Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction.

That includes 44 novels that have won a Prometheus for Best Novel, including this year’s newest winner: Rich Man’s Sky by Wil McCarthy.

And it includes 46 works – novels, novellas, stories, a graphic novel, an anthology and a TV series – that have been inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.

Plus, 10 works have received Special Prometheus Awards – including three libertarian sf anthologies, two films, two graphic novels, a novella, a filk song and (most recently in 2017) a webcomic series.

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Speaking truth to power in a funny fable: Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the 2000 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Here is an Appreciation for Hans Christian Andersen’s fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the 2000 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction:

By Michael Grossberg

It’s not just for kids.

Nor is Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” merely another children’s fable.

Few stories have resonated so deeply with all ages for so many generations that they become an integral part of international culture.

This sly libertarian fable has become so emblematic in folk wisdom that it’s inspired a common catchphrase: “The emperor has no clothes.”

Continue reading Speaking truth to power in a funny fable: Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the 2000 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner