Three-time Prometheus winner Victor Koman to present Best Novel category at our public 2024 awards ceremony

Victor Koman, a veteran libertarian sf writer who’s won three Prometheus Awards for Best Novel, has agreed to speak and be a presenter at the 44th Prometheus Awards ceremony.

Prometheus-winning novelist Victor Koman (Courtesy of author)

Koman will present the Best Novel category at the online Zoom ceremony, tentatively planned for a Saturday afternoon in mid- to late August.

In his introductory speech, Koman is expected to discuss his perspective on the history and evolution of libertarian sf/fantasy, his own works that have won our award, the value of the Prometheus Awards and the importance of individual liberty.

Who knows? Victor might also talk about some of his fellow libertarian sf writers, who he knew well in the 1970s and 1980s, many of whom have sadly passed from the scene in recent years.

KOMAN’S PROMETHEUS WINNERS

Koman won his first Prometheus Award in 1988 for The Jehovah Contract, an audacious thriller-noir fantasy about a dying atheistic assassin, masquerading as a private detective in a near-future Los Angeles, who’s given a contract to kill God.

Philosophical speculations accent the suspenseful story as the assassin finds a way to excise the concept of God from the minds of humanity and enable a more laissez-faire “Creatrix” to return to power.

Koman won his second Prometheus Award in 1990 for Solomon’s Knife, a libertarian-themed medical thriller that goes beyond partisan debates over abortion by imagininga plausible future in which a controversial new surgical procedure is devised that could help women with unwanted pregnancies and women who want children but can’t become pregnant.

Koman won his third Prometheus Award in 1997 for Kings of the High Frontier, which imagines a profit-enhanced competition via private enterprise to reach the stars – a prophetic plot that anticipated the X Prize that saw Burt Rutan’s SpaceShip One reach space in 2004, helping to open the door for all the subsequent commercial development of rockets and space milestones through free markets.

THE LIBERTARIAN CIRCLE OF SF WRITERS

Koman, greatly influenced by the libertarian agorist writer-editor Samuel Edward Konkin III (publisher of New Libertarian magazine), was part of a loose group of explicitly libertarian sf novelists who emerged in the 1970s, building on the strong libertarian currents in the bestselling novels and stories of such Grand Master sf writers as Robert Heinlein and Poul Anderson.

L. Neil Smith in the 1980s (Creative Commons license)

Along with Koman, that group of libertarian sf writers included (in alphabetical order by author) Michael Flynn, Brad Linaweaver, Victor Milan, J. Neil Schulman, L. Neil Smith, Vernor Vinge and F. Paul Wilson.

All these writers wrote many types of speculative fiction with a wide variety of themes, plots and settings – and all were recognized with Prometheus Awards, especially in the 1980s and/or 1990s, for some of their most outstanding works.

Because the Prometheus Awards focus on the substantive merits and pro-freedom content of the nominated and winning works themselves – without regard for the avowed or perceived politics of the authors – many different writers of many philosophies and perspectives have been recognized over the past 45 years.

Given such broad competition, though, it’s notable when a few of the Prometheus Awards presented over the decades have gone to writers who are avowed libertarians.

PROMETHEUS-WINNING LIBERTARIANS

Only one other writer of the generation of libertarian authors who emerged in the 1970s/1980s, though, has matched Koman in winning the Prometheus Awards three times for Best Novel: L. Neil Smith.

Smith won his first award for The Probability Broach in 1982, his second for Pallasin 1994 and his third for The Forge of the Elders in 2001.

TWO-TIME BEST NOVEL WINNERS

Two-time Prometheus winner Michael Flynn (Creative Commons license)

Three other of these authors won twice for Best Novel:

Michael Flynn, who died in September 2023, won for In the Country of the Blind in 1991, and for Fallen Angel sin 1992.)

Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge, who died in March 2024, won for Marooned in Realtime in 1987 and for A Deepness in the Sky in 2000.

(Vinge also had two stories inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame: “The Ungoverned,” in 2004, and “True Names,” in 2007.)

F. Paul Wilson (Creative Commons license)

F. Paul Wilson won the first Prometheus Award in 1979 for Wheels Within Wheels. He won his second Best Novel award for Sims in 2004.

(Wilson also has had three works inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame: the novels Healer and An Enemy of the State, part of his LaNague Federation trilogy along with Wheels Within Wheels, inducted respectively in 1990 and 1991; and his satirical story “Lipidleggin’,” inducted in 2021.)

J. Neil Schulman in the 1990s. (Creative Commons license)

J. Neil Schulman won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel for The Rainbow Cadenza in 1984. (Schulman’s acclaimed libertarian sf juvenile novel Alongside Night was an early inductee of the Prometheus Hall of Fame in 1989.)

Brad Linaweaver (Photo provided by author)

Brad Linaweaver won for Best Novel for Moon of Ice in 1989.

Victor Milan won for Best Novel for The Cybernetic Samurai in 1986.

Victor Milan

Of the above writers, sadly only Koman and Wilson remain with us.

We’ve had the pleasure and honor several times over the years by F. Paul Wilson presenting a Prometheus Awards category during our annual ceremonies, but this will be the first time that Koman joins us as a celebrity presenter.

OTHER AWARDS CEREMONY SPEAKERS

Meanwhile, awards committee chairs William H. Stoddard and Michael Grossberg will introduce the Best Classic Fiction (Prometheus Hall of Fame) and Best Novel categories and discuss the distinguished track records of the two annual Prometheus categories.

After the winners of the 2024 Prometheus Awards are determined and notified after the July 4 voting deadline, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the Prometheus Blog will confirm and announce the time and date of the hour-long awards ceremony, which will be open to viewing by the public.

Stay tuned for updates on the awards ceremony.

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE PROMETHEUS AWARDS:

* Prometheus winners: For the full list of Prometheus winners, finalists and nominees – including 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 essay-reviews in our Appreciation series explaining why each of more than 100 past winners since 1979 fits the awards’ distinctive dual focus on both quality and liberty.

* 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.

Watch videos of past Prometheus Awards ceremonies (including the recent 2023 ceremonywith inspiring and amusing speeches by Prometheus-winning authors Dave Freerand Sarah Hoyt), Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussions with noted sf authors and leading libertarian writers, and other LFS programs on the Prometheus Blog’s Video page.

* Check out the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Facebook pagefor comments, updates and links to Prometheus Blog posts.

Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards and support a cultural and literary strategy to appreciate and honor freedom-loving fiction,  jointhe Libertarian Futurist Society, a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.

Libertarian futurists believe that culture matters! We understand that the arts and literature can be vital in envisioning a freer and better future – and in some ways can be even more powerful than politics in the long run, by imagining better visions of the future incorporating peace, prosperity, progress, tolerance, justice, positive social change, and mutual respect for each other’s rights, individuality and human dignity.

Published by

Michael Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been an arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Michael has won Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio and Best Arts Reporting (seven times). He's written for Reason, Libertarian Review and Backstage weekly; helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades; and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword for J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among books he recommends from a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist & How Innovation Works, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

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