Volume 08, Number 04, Fall, 1990

Prometheus Award Acceptance Speech

Delivered at NASFiC, 25 August, 1990 by Victor Koman for Solomon’s Knife

It was a great honor to receive this award in 1988 for The Jehovah Contract. It is an even greater honor to receive this award a second time, for a novel that I consider more relevant to the human condition. And it is a great honor to receive this award from my friend, editor, mentor, and unindicted co-conspirator Samuel Edward Konkin III, since it was an off-hand comment of his that started me thinking about technological solutions to the abortion controversy. And it was my friend, fellow author, and co-conspirator J. Neil Schulman who encouraged me to write my research in the form of a novel.

The primary force, though, in the creation of this book has been a person who stood by me the entire time, offering her patient insight and perceptive observations…and standing guard at the door against the wolves. My lovely wife, Veronica, aided and abetted by our youthful and enthusiastic assistant, Vanessa.

I’m going to spare you any discussion of abortion here, pro or con. You can read the book and know at least where my characters stand. But I would like to mention something I discovered in my research on this book.

I discovered that it is feasible to remove a fetus from one woman and implant it in another. It is even possible to build artificial wombs, as Corning is apparently trying to do, but with an eye only toward emergency applications—the broader concept of embryo transfer as a new reproductive choice is relegated to transsexual sensationalism on the Joan Rivers Show. I discovered, in my interviews, the power of the purse string and the power of fear.

Scientists are cautious people. They seldom make a statement or propound a theory unless it is backed by a lot of experimentation. People who are scared are even more cautious. And scientists are scared.

They’re scared of firebomb fundamentalists. They’re scared of litigious liberals. They’re scared of a schizoid NIH-FDA axis that rewards and punishes on the tide of election cycles and the wind of opinion polls.

Science—and particularly medicine—no longer serves the interests of the suffering individual, but the perceived interests of the body politic. The AMA has become the Ministry of State Health.

I could lay the blame on the carrot-and-stick nature of federal funding for research, where money is stolen from productive people to enrich those who study that which bureaucrats decide is this week’s Official Science.

Or I could blame the numbing explosion of liability cases instigated by lawyers, a gang not coincidentally sharing the same profession as fifty percent of the politicians who write liability legislation.

Or I could blame religious busybodies who see God as a rubber stamp for their prejudicial mysticism.

Or I could blame the neo-Luddites of the Left, Right, and Center who view any technological progress as a step away from some Golden Age of Collective Purity that exists only between their ears.

But I won’t.

I blame instead the doctors and scientists themselves.

By refusing to take a consistent stand for scientific freedom, they have sold their mantle of objectivity. By failing to Just Say No to government blood money and the strings—the nooses—attached, they have chosen to join the enemy. By voluntarily censoring themselves, by choosing to avoid or ignore certain avenues of research out of fear of how socalled Society would react, they have thrown in their lot with other moral cowards to become the heirs of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko.

Solomon’s Knife is a work of fiction. Dr. Evelyn Fletcher is the vision of an ideal—a surgeon so dedicated to science that she ignores all the restrictions with which the State and the self-appointed spokesmen for Society would shackle her. Her belief in the ability of medicine to solve a tragic dilemma is her glory and her undoing, but ultimately it is the only power that can save her. Those of you in all the fields of science—if you labor grudgingly under the control of inferior minds and meddling bureaucrats; if you accept hesitantly funding from a corrupt institution that perverts your research into weapons of oppression; if you toil reluctantly on officially sanctioned research while ignoring more fruitful fields, know that you have friends and allies in the free world.

Break the chains forged by Force and Violence in the guise of Policy and Regulation. Lash out at the imperial eagle that tears out your liver. Climb down from the white mountains of Death and join us—your true brothers and sisters—in the quest for truth and the battle against evil.

Prometheus was the bringer of fire and the savior of humanity. His name means “forward thinker.” I thank all you new Prometheans for this great honor.

All trademarks and copyrights property of their owners.
Creative Commons License
Prometheus, the newsletter of the Libertarian Futurists Society, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.