looks at the Prometheus Award on its 40th anniversary

James Davis Nicoll, a recent nominee for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, writes about “40 Years of the Prometheus Award,” for  He concludes that “following this particular award can be rewarding for readers of all stripes. Probably not every work above will be to your taste, but certainly some will be.”

The comments, including back and forth between Nicoll and readers, also are interesting.

“The Prometheus Award is an interesting case,” Nicholl wrote.
“Founded by L. Neil Smith in 1979, the panel selected F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels Within Wheels as its inaugural winner. Then silence fell. 1980 and 1981 went by. It seemed that the first Prometheus Award would be the last. In 1982, the Libertarian Futurist Society took up the job of administering the award, and the Prometheus was given once more, to Smith’s The Probability Broach. Since then, the award has been granted once per year (with the notable exception of 1985, when no book was deemed worthy of the prize). Four decades is an impressive achievement.”

Nicholl also commented on how the Prometheus Awards and its 40-year track record challenges superficial and convention assumptions about libertarians and libertarianism.

“The current process is an interesting mixture of popular award (all members of the Society can nominate works for any category) and juried (committees for each category use ranked ballots to produce the finalist slate). The results are as remarkable as the award’s longevity. One might expect an award voted on and administered by people of a very specific political tendency to reflect that political tendency. Sometimes that’s true of the Prometheus Award, particularly in the early days. Quite often, however, the LFS ranges far outside the borders of conventional American libertarian thought—thus the presence of Stross, Doctorow, and MacLeod on the winners’ lists, as well as equally diverse selections on the nominee lists.”





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