The following three letters which we received since our last publication date, are from authors whose novels were nominated for last year’s Prometheus Awards.
Only yesterday did I receive your correspondence informing me that The Watcher had been selected as a finalist for the Prometheus Award. (Obviously my publisher is not in any hurry to forward author’s mail.) I wanted to explain why I hadn’t answered your letter and to thank the Society for having made my book one of the finalists.
As it happens, someone had told me about the book’s nomination and had also passed on the name of the winner, so I wasn’t totally in the dark.
I can’t resist mentioning that my second novel, Catching Fire, published in 1982. is about an actor-producer who plays Prometheus in a new version of that legend. [Since this letter was written, in late 1982, Catching Fire has been nominated for the 1983 award—Editor]
Thank you very much for your letter informing me of the nomination of Star Driver, for the 1982 Prometheus Award. I am both honored and flattered by the nomination.’s science-fiction novel,
May I suggest the consideration of Space Doctor, for the next award? The book was published by Ballantine Del Rey in 1981 and is perhaps an even stronger Libertarian and free enterprise work than Star Driver.’s science-fiction novel,
In 1983, MacMillan will be publishing my non-fiction book, The Hopeful Future and DAW Books will bring out ’s science-fiction novel, Manna. Both are extremely strong libertarian works. In The Hopeful Future I project that a hopeful future can only be achieved by private initiatives. Manna is the story of a fictional Third World country totally based on Libertarian free enterprise philosophies in which the hero causes a major change in world politics in 2050 A.D.
As a final note, the “hypothetical” scientific background in Star Driver may be more fact than fiction. It turns out that three government research laboratories have confirmed critical elements of it. The publication of Star Driver got a number of people interested in the possibility that the “fictional” scientific hypotheses therein might be true after all, and this resulted in a “star driver underground” that uncovered the government work. So the good news is that we’re going to have star ships. The bad news is that they may be classified because official spokesmen for the laboratories refuse to confirm or deny that the work is going on!
Thank you for your very encouraging letter about The Star Sailors. I am pleased that others saw in it the essential “connection between freedom and progress, on the one hand, and statism and stagnation, on the other,” I tried in The Star Sailors to encompass adventure, science, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and politics with an emphasis on self-realization.
Personally, I believe very strongly in freedom and progress. But I am also concerned with the hive mind because in addition to the goodness there I believe one can also find a negative emotional force. This force must be tamed by each individual or it will become self-or civilization-destroying (see Forbidden Planet and Five Million Years to Earth which I believe are the two most profound science fiction movies ever made). Despite our best intentions to preserve freedom, ultimately each of us must reach that precarious balance between self-expression and self-control. And that is why I have never forgotten the words of Reinhold Neiebuhr (who is not thought of as a libertarian): “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” We must defend freedoms.
My second novel, which is being circulated for consideration for publication, looks at the issue of freedom from the point of view of those who do not have it. (If you know of any publishers who can handle a rather blunt, often brutal, exposition of the evils of statism, please let me know.)
Thanks again for nominating The Star Sailors for the Prometheus Award, and keep up the good work.
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