The Hogan interview, part 2: On The Genesis Machine, writing sf & making science credible

By Michael Grossberg

I still remember reading James P. Hogan for the first time. What a discovery – and what a mind-expanding thrill.


His science-fiction novels were compulsively readable and scientifically plausible, while often upholding values I cherished, such as a commitment to reason, science, progress, persuasion, free inquiry and liberty.

I loved Inherit the Stars and The Genesis Machine – his first two acclaimed and bestselling novels – for their brilliant science-laced plots and fascinating ideas. And then I read Voyage From Yesteryear, an explicitly libertarian classic that won the 1983 Prometheus Award for Best Novel – and remains today one of the few novels that convincingly portrays a fully free society in a plausible future.

Continue reading The Hogan interview, part 2: On The Genesis Machine, writing sf & making science credible

Looking back at Prometheus Awards history: What happened at the first awards ceremony in 1979 in Los Angeles – and why it was controversial

Today marks nearly the end of a pivotal year marking the 40th anniversary of the Prometheus Awards, so it’s interesting to take a moment in 2019 and look back at the birth of the awards with the very first Prometheus Awards ceremony in 1979.
First envisioned and launched by sf writer L. Neil Smith, the Prometheus Award was first presented in 1979 in a high-profile ceremony at the year’s biggest Libertarian convention, which attracted several thousand people in Los Angeles.

Writer Robert Anton Wilson announced the winner – F. Paul Wilson’s sf mystery Wheels Within Wheels– after announcing three finalists, including Poul Anderson’s The Avatarand James P. Hogan’s The Genesis Machine.
Here’s a glimpse of how the event was covered in Frontlines, a leading libertarian-movement-news newsletter published by Reason magazine’s foundation:
“The first-ever Prometheus Award was presented for the best libertarian science fiction novel of 1978. The finalists were Poul Anderson’s The Avatar, James P. Hogan’s The Genesis Machine and F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels within Wheels.

“Robert Anton Wilson did the honors, on behalf of the Prometheus Award Committee (an independent group of libertarian sf fans, who contributed the award), presenting the $2,500 in gold to (no relation) F. Paul Wilson. The prize (which has already increased significantly in value) is the largest award for science fiction given anywhere in the world.”

Continue reading Looking back at Prometheus Awards history: What happened at the first awards ceremony in 1979 in Los Angeles – and why it was controversial

Identity, mystery, body-transfer technology, bureaucrats, capitalists and green politics in a hard-sf political thriller: An Appreciation of James P. Hogan’s The Multiplex Man, the 1993 Prometheus Best Novel winner

Here’s an Appreciation for James P. Hogan’s The Multiplex Man, the 1993 Best Book winner:

By Michael Grossberg

James Hogan’s 1992 hard-sf political thriller revolves around a polite schoolteacher who wakes up one day to discover he’s far from home and in a body not his own. Soon after returning home, he discovers that seven months have passed – and he can’t return to his old body or life because he died six months ago.
His suspenseful journey to solve multiple unfolding mysteries is set in an authoritarian future Earth where former Eastern/communist countries have exploited space resources to boost their economies over the faltering West, undermined by Green-dominated governments’ anti-industry regulations, education restrictions and propaganda.

In this cautionary anti-authoritarian story, the State authorities control virtually everything about people’s lives and activities on Earth, while condemning as dangerous any dissent or unapproved behavior and viewing off-world colonies as enemies because of their competition for Earth resources.

Continue reading Identity, mystery, body-transfer technology, bureaucrats, capitalists and green politics in a hard-sf political thriller: An Appreciation of James P. Hogan’s The Multiplex Man, the 1993 Prometheus Best Novel winner