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.
How is technology expanding book publishing and alternative fiction, a trend reflected more strongly than ever in this year’s slate of Best Novel finalists for the Prometheus Award?
What’s the historic relationship among science fiction, liberty and the libertarian movement-and is that changing?
What are the challenges and pitfalls of balancing artistic merit in fiction and awards with ideology and positive social values?
How do this year’s Prometheus winners – Longyear’s The Hook and F. Paul Wilson’s satirical story “Lipidleggin’” – explore the value of individual freedom and human rights, champion cooperation over coercion, dramatize the perennial tensions between liberty and power and/or expose the evils of tyranny, slavery and other abuses of unchecked government power?
All these questions will be discussed Saturday afternoon Aug. 21 during the 41st annual Prometheus Awards ceremony in a free post-ceremony Zoom panel discussion, with Reason magazine as media sponsor.
Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward and Reason book editor Jesse Walker will join award-winning author Barry B. Longyear and Libertarian Futurist Society president William H. Stoddard in the post-ceremony panel discussion (for free access, see Zoom link below) on “SF, Liberty, Alternative Publishing Trends and the Prometheus Awards.”
Serendipity and seized opportunity enhanced the star power and appeal of the Libertarian Futurist Society’s panel discussion at the 2020 online North American Science Fiction Convention.
Unexpectedly but delightfully, the Hugo-winning Grand Master novelist C.J. Cherryhand her partner Jane. S. Fancher joined past Prometheus winners Sarah Hoytand F. Paul Wilson and several LFS veteran leaders including LFS President William H. Stoddard in answering a variety of thought-provoking questions during the NASFiC/LFS panel on “Visions of SF, Liberty, Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards Over Four Decades, from F. Paul Wilson and Robert Heinlein to Today.”
When panel moderator Tom Jackson noticed that Cherryh and Fancher were still hanging out within the Zoom “meeting room” after accepting their 2020 Best Novel award for co-writing Alliance Rising to watch the post-ceremony panel discussion, he noted their presence and ability to participate.
After a few questions to the other panelists, Jackson invited Cherryh and Fancher to come into the discussion with their comments.
Which they graciously did, and fascinatingly so.
Thus, the long-planned NASFiC panel celebrating the recent 40th anniversary of the Prometheus Awards – first presented by L. Neil Smith to F. Paul Wilson in 1979 – expanded into an event with interesting comments from not two but four bestselling, Prometheus-award-winning novelists.
Here is the full panel discussion, part of an 80-minute two-part NASFiC/LFS video that begins with the 2020 Prometheus Awards ceremony, including Cherryh and Fancher’s Best Novel acceptance speech and Astrid Anderson Bear’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech for her late father Poul Anderson; and concludes with the 50-minute panel discussion:
The Libertarian Futurist Society will raise its visibility online and around the world this summer with events and Prometheus-winning speakers and LFS leaders at both the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) and the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC).
Everything will take place safely during these “virtual cons,” set up to protect online participants and viewers during the pandemic – which means that LFS members and the public will be able to watch, participate and ask questions from the comfort of their own homes via computers, smart TVs, tablets or smart phones.
WORLDCON PROMETHEUS PANEL Bestselling, Prometheus-winning novelist F. Paul Wilson(An Enemy of the State, Sims, Healer, Wheels within Wheels, Repairman Jack series) will headline the LFS’ Worldcon panel on “Freedom in SF: Forty Years of the Prometheus Award.”
Celebrating the recent 40thanniversary of the awards, the Worldcon panel will explore the distinctive focus and impressive track record of the many diverse winners of one of the oldest continuing fan-based awards in the sf/fantasy field after the Hugo and Nebula awards.
(To find out who has won the 2020 Prometheus Awards, read the LFS press release posted on the LFS website.)