The 1997 Prometheus Awards presentation took place in a small but crowded room in the main convention hall at the Worldcon in San Antonio, Texas. I guess to some people it felt like old times.
The convention's programming committee (the same people who pissed off Harlan Ellison so that he cancelled his trip to the Worldcon) failed to return an answering machine tape's worth of calls, and never responded to email. Two weeks before the convention started we did not have a set date and place. An emergency email to the chair of the convention gave us a contact in special events programming a week before the con started, but we wouldn't have a date until we actually arrived there on Friday. Luckily, the con people gave us a time that didn't conflict with other events, or with Toastmaster Gregory Benford's very busy schedule.
As luck would have it, the one panel at the Worldcon where you count on most of the libertarians to be present—The Future of Liberty—occurred late Friday afternoon. Brad Linaweaver, one of two Prometheus Award winners on the panel (the other being Victor Milán) announced the date and time of the Prometheus Award presentation. I contacted Benford the following day and the show was on.
Fred Moulton, who came through last year with some of the pictures from the award presentation in Los Angeles, came through again. He took photos throughout the presentation, and even audiotaped the event.
Although the room was relatively small, it was packed with libertarian sf fans and writers. The mood was jovial, relaxed, and much more comfortable than any at any other major award ceremony. In contrast, the Hugo Awards was embarrassingly slow and tortuous.
Benford opened by stating his libertarian views. These rarely appear in his novels, he said, because they are not political. He then handed over to Linaweaver, who presented the Prometheus Award to Victor Koman. Koman's passionate acceptance speech (see p. 3) drew repeated applause. Benford then presented the Hall of Fame Award to J. Neil Schulman, who accepted on behalf of the winner, Robert Heinlein. Due to lack of space we can't include Schulman's speech in this issue.
After the 30 minute Award ceremony, an impromptu Free Space panel assembled on the stage. Co-editor Ed Kramer and contributor (and former Prometheus editor) Bill Ritch joined Schulman, co-editor Linaweaver, and Benford, to discuss this important libertarian anthology.
Ed Kramer gave the listeners some of the history behind the struggle to get this book into print as a libertarian sf anthology. It's really remarkable that the book survived the pressure from some of the editors. If you still haven't bought this book, head to your nearest bookstore. If it isn't on the shelves ask them to order it. Only this way can we ensure reprints and possible sequels.
Next year the Prometheus Awards will take place in early August at the Baltimore Worldcon.
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