If beauty is proverbially found in the eye of the beholder, then a sense of humor may be located in our funny bones.
Yet everyone’s sense of humor is a bit different. What you find hilarious may leave me cold (or at least lukewarm), while what fills some bellies with laughs may leave others with barely a smile on their faces.
Given how personal a sense of humor tends to be, it may be provocative but should be interesting to ask: Which Prometheus Award winners do you find most amusing?
Which are designed to make you smile, and laugh out loud – and achieve their goal?
With our recent 2022 awards ceremony, the Libertarian Futurist Society has now presented the Prometheus Awards for 40 years.
Why do we do that? What keeps us going? What basic ethical and cultural values are at the foundation of our awards program? And why are the Prometheus Awards so important?
LFS President William H. Stoddard succinctly answers such key questions in his eloquent and thoughtful introductory speech at the start of the Aug. 13 Zoom awards ceremony, which can be viewed on YouTube.
His concise comments seem worth publishing on the Prometheus Blog for posterity:
L. Neil Smith’s SF mystery, Their Majesties’ Bucketeers, normally a $6 Kindle ebook, is being offered as a free or very cheap ebook by publisher Arc Manor.
It’s listed as 99 cents, and I paid it, but you have the option of changing the price to free. It was supposed to be the May book under the publisher’s monthly program, but the email wasn’t sent out until May 17, and I was still able to snag it on June 2.
(If you have trouble with any link, just visit the Arc Manor website directly at www.arcmanorbooks.com and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the free novel – your choice of a Mobi or ePub file – and signing up for the monthly free ebooks from this publisher.)
Adaptations of classic or popular literature into graphic novels have become increasingly popular. Reflecting this modern trend, the Prometheus Awards recognized its first graphic novel when The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel (published in 2004 by Big Head Press) received a Special Prometheus Award in 2005.
Visually colorful and boldly imaginative, this accessible and fun version of one of the most explicitly libertarian sf novels achieves its distinctive style and stirring impact from the fertile collaboration between libertarian author L. Neil Smith and libertarian artist Scott Bieser.
The deft combination of words and visuals helps bring to life Smith’s zestful and suspenseful sf adventure novel, which imagines alternate time lines accessible through the probability broach, a portal to many worlds.
The above photo from the site shows Smith, left, with another person at the 2004 Freedom Summit in Phoenix. Cathy Smith asks, “Can anyone identify the gentleman that Neil is pictured with?”
Would anyone like to help?
* Read the introductory essay of the LFS’ 40th anniversary retrospective series of Appreciations of past Prometheus Awards winners, with an overview of the awards’ four-decade-plus history, that was launched in 2019 on the 40thanniversary of the awards and continues today.
* Other Prometheus winners: For a full list of winners – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website, which now includes convenient links to all published appreciation-reviews of past winners.
* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the evolution of the modern genre.
* Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.
Libertarian science fiction writer L. Neil Smith has died, leaving a legacy of high-spirited libertarian sf adventure and of the Prometheus Award itself.
Smith, who died at 75 on Aug. 27, 2021 in Fort Collins, Colo., is best known for his explicitly libertarian novel The Probability Broach and its rambunctious alternate-history sequels in his The North American Confederacy series.
During his writing career from the 1970s into the 2010s, Smith wrote 31 books, including 29 novels, and many essays and short stories.
Quite a few of his works were nominated for Prometheus Awards because of their freewheeling adventure, sense of humor, imaginative alternate-reality scenarios and strong libertarian/individualist themes.
As part of our ongoing Appreciation series of past Prometheus Awardwinners, here’s the Appreciation for L. Neil Smith’s Pallas, the 1994 Best Book winner:
Set in the 22nd century on the terra-formed and colonized asteroid of Pallas, L. Neil Smith’s Heinlein-esque novel imagines a believable future based on plausible scientific developments but one beset by familiar political divisions between freedom-lovers and power-mongers.
Two groups of colonists sharing the habitat in a 20thof Earth’s gravity come into conflict. The larger culture is a fully free gun-toting group of rugged individualists who live as they choose – but at their own expense, with strict accountability in “moon-is-a-harsh-mistress” respect for the harsh realities of asteroid existence in the outer solar system. These colonists represent something of a libertarian utopia based on explicit consent, since all have signed a founding document modeled on the ideas of an Ayn-Rand-style woman philosopher.
To highlight the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society began celebrating in 2019, we are posting a series of weekly Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, starting with our earliest Best Novel awards.
This second Appreciation focuses on L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach, the 1982 Prometheus Award winner for Best Novel:
By Michael Grossberg
L. Neil Smith’s rollicking, fun-loving sf adventure novel, one of the most influential books of the Libertarian movement as its ideas were spreading in the early 1980s, imagines alternate time lines accessible through the probability broach, a portal to many worlds.
To highlight and honor the four-decade history of the Prometheus Awards, which the Libertarian Futurist Society is celebrating in 2019, we are providing a reader’s guide with capsule Appreciations of past Prometheus Award-winners, starting with the Best Novel category.
If you’ve ever wondered why a particular work of fiction has been recognized with a Prometheus Award and what libertarian sf fans see in these award-winning works, then our upcoming series of Appreciations should be must reading – as well as informative and illuminating!
Or, if you’re simply looking for something enjoyable and stimulating to read within the realm of science fiction and fantasy, which also illuminates abiding questions about the perennial tensions between Liberty and Power, an excellent place to begin is with this recommended reading list of award-winning fiction (to be published here on a regular weekly (or biweekly) schedule, starting now (September 2019).
These capsule appreciations are being written and edited by LFS members (including LFS founder Michael Grossberg, LFS President William H. Stoddard, and veteran LFS leaders and board members Chris Hibbert, Tom Jackson, Anders Monsen, Eric Raymond, and others). In a few cases, the Appreciations will be based in part on reviews printed in the Prometheus quarterly (1982-2016) or the Prometheus blog (2017-today). Since 1979, a wide array of novels, novellas, stories, films, TV series and other works of fiction have won Prometheus awards by highlighting in fascinatingly different ways the value of voluntary social cooperation over institutionalized State coercion, the importance of respecting human rights (even for that smallest minority, the individual), and the evils of tyranny (whether on the Left or the Right).
I’ll start my review with a confession. Even though I honor L. Neil Smith for creating the Prometheus Award, and I devote a great deal of time and energy trying to help the award continue, I don’t always love his work.