About Us - Membership Guide

(First edition, June 2003)
Approved by the LFS Board of Directors


This is the Libertarian Futurist Society's first members handbook. It also will be posted on the LFS website and periodically updated. Our purpose in preparing this handbook is to help members understand what the LFS does, how we do it with an all-volunteer division of labor, how you can get involved and who you should contact if you have any questions. The LFS is your group. So if you have suggestions about changing or expanding an LFS program, including our awards or newsletter, please share them.


Founded in 1982, the LFS is a tax-exempt nonprofit group with an international membership of libertarians and freedom-loving science fiction fans who believe cultural change is as vital as political change in achieving freedom. By recognizing libertarian fiction through our annual Prometheus Awards for Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) and occasional Special Awards , we are promoting a vision of a future in which respect for individual rights will become universal. Each year's award nominees and other libertarian fiction are reviewed in our quarterly journal Prometheus. All LFS members nominate works for our awards. Eligibility to vote in different awards categories is dependent on membership level. Our LFS website-- www.lfs.org-- lists past awardwinners, selected reviews, links to awardwinning authors' websites, and includes PayPal credit-card options for joining us or making tax-deductible donations.


Much LFS business is conducted via email. LFS leaders and committee chairs send out periodic news updates about our awards, nominating deadlines, newsletter mailings, etc. If you have an email address, we want to know it so we can include you in our mailings. The LFS email policy is to send out general emails by blind copy only and we keep email addresses confidential to respect our members' privacy.


The Libertarian Futurist Society offers memberships at four levels to give people more options and opportunities for participation:


All members are eligible to attend and vote in the LFS's annual meeting, usually held in conjunction with the World Science Fiction Convention. Between meetings, please make suggestions and motions via the board of directors.


The board of directors meets three times a year (usually by email) to approve the annual budget, plan outreach campaigns and events and supervise LFS activities. The Executive Committee, drawn from the board, meets to discuss issues that arise between quarterly board meetings, and to explore possibilities that may later be presented to the full board for discussion. Occasional board vacancies are filled by volunteers who have demonstrated leadership and effectiveness from previous volunteer work on various LFS committees and projects.


All members may submit comments, reviews, news notes, letters, columns, and articles to the editor of Prometheus for consideration for future issues of our quarterly newsletter. Please contact the editor before each quarterly deadline. Members who write regularly for the newsletter can receive recognition in the newsletter as contributors, contributing editors or senior editors. Selected back issues of Prometheus are available to members, a good way to fill in the gaps of your collection or read issues published before you became a member. Cost is $3/issue plus $1 postage. Bulk discount offer: Buy 10 issues (our choice, not yours) for only $15 (postage included). Visit the website for a list of available issues.


The Prometheus Awards recognize works of fiction that champion individual freedom, dramatize the perennial tension between liberty and power, imagine how a fully free society might operate or otherwise dramatize the value of libertarian themes. A wide variety of works has been nominated over the years, from satirical critiques of authoritarianism and explicit dramatizations of libertarian futures to more narrow portrayals of a particular issue and more general struggles for freedom. Only LFS members have nominating privileges, although it is helpful when publishers and authors send review copies to our newsletter editor for review and awards consideration. All categories of LFS awards are presented under the umbrella name of the Prometheus Awards, with each category name distinguishing it from other categories. The Best Novel category is limited to novels published during the previous year or so. (There is a loophole rule, permitting the nomination of a work previously overlooked from the preceding year if it was published in the final months of that year.) The Hall of Fame category (for Best Classic Fiction) is broadly inclusive: Novels, novellas, short stories, poems, plays, films, TV shows (individual episodes or an entire series), series and trilogies are all eligible for nomination. Works are eligible five years after first publication or broadcast. While the Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction categories are presented annually, Special Awards are occasional and not necessarily presented every year. Special Awards focus on outstanding pro-freedom achievements that fall outside the realm of the Best Novel category. Such achievements can include lifetime achievement awards; or anthologies, outstanding short fiction, film and TV dramatizations during the previous calendar year. So far, the LFS has presented two Special Awards, one for the first explicitly libertarian sf anthology (Free Space) and one for lifetime achievement (Poul Anderson). If you aren't sure whether something is eligible for nomination, please let us know about it as soon as possible. Awards committee chairs can help members determine eligibility and the appropriate category for nominations.


Prometheus Awards nominations can be made by any LFS member throughout the year. Please let us know as soon as possible if something worthwhile becomes eligible. Final deadline for nominations for Best Novel is March 1 for works published during the previous calendar year. Deadline for Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) nominations is Oct. 1 for the award presented the following year. Special Award nominations deadline is Feb. 1 for works released the previous year.


Except for our awards committees, which must confirm their judges before the awards season begins, all the LFS committees welcome new volunteers throughout the year. With one exception, all seven committees welcome additional volunteers without limit. The exception is the Best Novel finalist judging committee, which is limited to a maximum of 10 members (Sponsors or Benefactors, each of whom must pay an additional $25/yr in Best Novel judging dues). This committee has a waiting list.


All LFS activities are conducted by volunteers and despite our best efforts, sometimes letters, emails and checks go astray. The LFS mailing list also occasionally needs to be updated or corrected. We want to correct any oversights or problems immediately, but we can only do so if you let us know about it. Please contact us immediately-- and accept our apologies-- if you fail to receive your quarterly newsletter or receive an expiration/renewal letter after you've already sent in your dues. Visit the website for a current list of officers, board members and committee chairs. The LFS mailing list also needs to be updated or corrected as individuals move, so please remember to notify us immediately of any change in postal or email address.

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