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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Prometheus Award finalists announced

The finalists for the Prometheus Award have been announced. (I am a judge on the nominating committee).

With the understanding that I am only speaking for myself, and not for anyone else or for the award, I want to offer a couple of comments. The list of finalists is quite strong this year. I'm particularly pleased by the nomination of Delia Sherman's The Freedom Maze, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One and Ken MacLeod's The Restoration Game. If the Hugo Award this year goes to a novel as strong as any of those three, it will be a good year for the Hugos. (Hugo nominations will be announced Saturday.)

Ken MacLeod's blog posting about making the Prometheus ballot is here. If you haven't read MacLeod, you are in for a treat. MacLeod, Iain Banks and Charles Stross are all talented Scottish SF writers; I love Banks' SF novels.

Official press release follows:


The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced finalists for this year's Prometheus Awards, which will be presented during the 70th World Science Fiction Convention over Labor Day weekend in Chicago.

The Prometheus finalists for Best Novel recognize pro-freedom novels published last year:

  * */The Children of the Sky/* (TOR Books) - A sequel to Vernor Vinge's *A Fire Upon the Deep* and in the same universe as Prometheus-winning *A Deepness in the Sky*, this novel focuses on advanced humans, stranded and struggling to survive on a low-tech planet populated by Tines, dog-like creatures who are only intelligent when organized in packs. The most libertarian of the three human factions and their local allies must cope with the world's authoritarian factions to advance peaceful trade over war and coercion.

 * */The Freedom Maze/* (Small Beer Press) - Delia Sherman's young-adult fantasy novel focuses on an adolescent girl of 1960 who is magically sent back in time to 1860 when her family owned slaves on a Louisiana plantation. With her summer tan, she's mistaken for a slave herself, and she learns the hard way what life was like.  In the process, she comes to appreciate the values of honor, respect, courage, and personal responsibility.

  * */In the Shadow of Ares/* (Amazon Kindle edition)- This young-adult first novel by Thomas L. James and Carl C. Carlsson focuses on a Mars-born female teenager in a near-future, small civilization on Mars,
where hardworking citizens are constantly and unjustly constrained by a growing, centralized authority whose excessive power has led to corruption and conflict.

  * */Ready Player One/* (Random House) - Ernest Cline's genre-busting blend of science fiction, romance, suspense, and adventure describes a virtual world that has managed to evolve an order without a state and where entrepreneurial gamers must solve virtual puzzles and battle real-life enemies to save their virtual world from domination and corruption. The novel also stresses the importance of allowing open access to the Internet for everyone.

  * */The Restoration Game/* (Pyr Books) - Set in a world whose true nature is a deeper mystery, this philosophical and political thriller by Ken MacLeod (winner of Prometheus awards for *Learning the World*, *The Star Fraction*, and  *The Stone Canal*) explores the dark legacy of communism and the primacy of information in shaping what is "reality" amid Eastern European intrigue, online gaming, romance and mystery.

  * */Snuff/* (Harper Collins) - A Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett (winner of a Prometheus Award for *Night Watch*, also set in Discworld),  *Snuff* blends comedy, drama, satire, suspense and mystery as a police chief investigates the murder of a goblin and finds himself battling discrimination. The mystery broadens into a powerful drama to extend the world's recognition of rights to include these long-oppressed and disdained people with a sophisticated culture of their own.

Thirteen novels were nominated this past year and read and voted on by 10 judges, selected from LFS members. The other nominees:  */Cowboy Angels/*, by Paul McAuley (Pyr Books);  */The Hot Gate: Troy Rising III/*, by John Ringo (Baen Books);  */REAMDE/*, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow);  */Revolution World/*, by Katy Stauber (Night Shade Books);  */Sweeter Than Wine/*, by L. Neil Smith (Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick);  */Temporary Duty/*, by Ric Locke (Amazon; Kindle edition, Ric's Rulez blog); and  */The Unincorporated Woman/*, by Dani and Eytan Kollin (TOR Books).

For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that stress the importance of liberty as the foundation for civilization, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.


The 2012 Prometheus finalists for Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) were announced earlier.  This category honors novels, novellas, stories, graphic novels, anthologies, films, TV shows/series, plays, poems, music recordings and other works of fiction first published or broadcast more than five years ago:

  * */Falling Free/*, a novel by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988);

  * /"'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman,"/ a story by Harlan Ellison (1965)

  * /"The Machine Stops,"/ a story by E. M. Forster (1909)

  * /"As Easy as A.B.C.,"/ a story by Rudyard Kipling (1912)

The Worldcon's Prometheus Awards ceremony most likely will take place, as in previous years, on the Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend (to be confirmed this summer at a Chicago Worldcon hotel and meeting room to
be announced).

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