Although 2023 has ended, it’s interesting and illuminating to look back at the highlights of the past year – and perhaps read an article that you may have overlooked. For the Prometheus Blog, there were quite a few memorable posts.
Among my personal favorites:
* author Karl Gallagher’s tribute to Robert Heinlein and appreciation for his 2023 Hall of Fame winner, “Free Men.”
* William H. Stoddard’s illuminating essay on “Economics in Science Fiction” (along with a critique of the common “overproduction” myth), and
* a commentary on one of the most unheralded firsts of the year: basically, the first libertarian-individualist-themed sci-fi film to ever win the Oscar for best picture.
In 2023, the Prometheus Blog surpassed previous years in the number, frequency and regularity of posts.
By the time this year ends, the Prometheus blog will have posted a record 78 articles – from essays, reviews and commentaries to news, awards updates, tributes and progress reports.
Ever since 2017, when the Prometheus Blog replaced Prometheus, the Libertarian Futurist Society’s former printed quarterly review and newsletter, the goal has been to gradually increase the frequency of posts to equal and then surpass the amount of material previously published in the four quarterly printed issues.
With the annual Sept. 30 deadline coming up soon for LFS members to nominate works for the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction, this is a good time to remind ourselves what makes this annual category special.
LFS President William H. Stoddard did just that when he presented the Prometheus Hall of Fame category for Best Classic Fiction at the recent 43rd annual Prometheus awards ceremony. Here are Stoddard’s remarks:
Unlike the Best Novel Award, the Prometheus Hall of Fame can be given to works in any narrative or dramatic form — short fiction, narrative verse, plays, movies, television and video episodes or series, graphic novels, songs, and so on.
It’s restricted to works that first appeared at least twenty years ago.
A great many of our award winners are older than that, often dating to before the LFS was founded.
How does culture and politics affect science fiction?
Why do the Prometheus Awards matter – perhaps more today than ever?
All those intriguing questions were explored by a variety of authors, leaders and sf fans in the recent 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
Airing live Aug. 19, 2023, to an international audience, the hourlong ceremony honored Dave Freer, winner of the 2023 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Cloud-Castles, and the late great Robert Heinlein, whose 1966 story “Free Men” was inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
Here is the video of the 43rd Prometheus Awards ceremony:
Are you a fan of Sarah Hoyt? Dave Freer? Robert Heinlein?
If you love freedom-loving science fiction in the zestful, imaginative, adventurous and libertarian spirit of Heinlein – or if you just enjoy the emotional and spontaneous moments of awards shows – then you don’t want to miss the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony, set for 2-2:40 p.m. Saturday Aug. 19 (Eastern time) via Zoom.
And we’ve now got the link for that Zoom event, open to all to watch.
An intercontinental friendship between two prolific science-fiction writers will add an extra measure of celebrity to the 43rd annual Prometheus Awards ceremony.
Sarah Hoyt, who won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 2011 for Darkship Thieves, will present the Best Novel category to Dave Freer during the live-Zoom ceremony, now scheduled for 2-2:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 19 (Eastern U.S. time).
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.
After watching just the first few episodes, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” may still be making up their minds whether the Amazon-Prime prequel “The Rings of Power” is a worthy successor to the three LOTR films and most important, whether it does justice to J.R.R. Tolkien and his powerful anti-authoritarian themes.
But Reason magazine has weighed in with an insightful column that offers a nuanced answer to the question of how faithful is the epic new series to “Tolkien’s Anti-Statism.”
The answer, fans of the Prometheus Hall of Fame-winning trilogy will be happy and relieved to hear, is mostly yes.
Like the LFS members who voted to induct Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy into the Prometheus Hall of Fame in 2009, Reason columnist Christian Britscchgi seems well aware of the ways in which The Lord of the Rings celebrates “freedom against arbitrary government interference.”
Contrary to some perceptions, science fiction fans – and paradoxically, both nerds and jocks – are more likely to come to appreciate the benefits of freedom and voluntary cooperation and more often begin to see the dangerous defects in authoritarian systems of the Left or Right.
That insight was one of the richer and more unexpected subjects explored by prominent panelists during a recent Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussion.
With Reason magazine as the media sponsor, the online panel followed the 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony, in which Barry B. Longyear and F. Paul Wilson won awards.
“For me, there’s something that science fiction has always been the vehicle for thinking about: What would the world be like if different or fewer people had power? That’s an idea that’s increasingly appealing.”
— Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor-in-Chief of Reason magazine
“Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe anyone who has received a Prometheus award has complained about the Prometheus awards. I know some leftwing authors who have received a Prometheus award who are proud of it. They seem to realize that there is something appropriate to it.”
— Jesse Walker, Reason books editor
“I have all sorts of immortality stories, and I’m afraid I’m not in one of them.”
— Novelist Barry B. Longyear, 2021 Prometheus winner for Best Novel
“I like to think the boundaries of what people see as libertarian ideas is blurring into the boundaries of what people perceive as just good mainstream ideas… and that may be a hopeful turn.”
Those are just a few of the interesting or amusing comments made during the related panel discussion on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards” that followed the 2021 Prometheus Awards ceremony.