Volume 1, Number 2, Spring, 1983

Thoughts On the Awards

I hope the following may be of some help in your worthy undertaking, the Prometheus Hall of Fame. Actually, I never, or almost never, have any “message” in my work; I’m a storyteller, not a preacher. However, some themes are interesting to examine more than once, being infinitely varied and very little understood by anyone (including me, of course). Among them are the questions of what the rest of the universe is like and how we might get out there to see for ourselves; on the more human side the relationships between man and woman, and those conundrums of social organization which the philosophers have been chewing on at least since Socrates.

Thus it’s understandable that freedom, and the attempt to define it in various contexts, is a recurrent motif. Probably my most explicitly pro-capitalist novel—in that an unabashed capitalist turns out to be the hero—is The Man Who Counts. The one published so far which makes the most effort to go into the theory of libertarianism is perhaps The Winter of the World. To be sure, a number of libertarian readers have taken exception to the suggestion that perhaps Homo sapiens is constitutionally incapable of maintaining free institutions for any length of time.

You might want to wait a while and take a look at Orion Shall Rise, which Timescape plans to publish in March. Therein various social questions are looked at from the viewpoints of four distinct civilizations, one of which is quite libertarian.

As for shorter pieces I confess to some puzzlement as to why “No Truce With Kings” is so often called a libertarian tract. Granted, it—or, rather, some of the characters in it—speak out against planned societies, and in favor of organic ones; however, their organic society is feudal, and the suggestion is made that feudalism is the form to which civilized societies always revert. An old novelette “License,” actually depicts a far freer world.

Poul Anderson

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