The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the winners of the Prometheus Award, and I'm pleased to report that the award was a tie, and is being to given to two really good books: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (which I nominated, as one of the nominating judges) and The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman.
The Hall of Fame award went to E.M. Forster for his long short story, "The Machine Stops." Not a bad name to set up alongside Wilson and Shea. (When I told my wife about the awards yesterday, she commented that we should have given a Hall of Fame award to Ray Bradbury. He died after the awards process had been pretty much wrapped up, but in fact the LFS gave a Hall of Fame Award to Fahrenheit 451 back in 1984.)
Official press release follows:
* The Libertarian Futurist Society will hold its annual awards ceremony for the Prometheus Award during Chicon, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held August 30-September 3 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
* For the second time in its history, there's a tie for the Best Novel award. The two winners are The Freedom Maze (Small Beer Press) by Delia Sherman and Ready Player One (Random House) by Ernest Cline.
The award for Best Classic Fiction (the "Hall of Fame" award) goes to "The Machine Stops", a short story by E. M. Forster, written in 1909.
* At its award ceremony to be held at the WorldCon in Chicago, the Libertarian Futurist Society will present plaques and one-ounce gold coins to Delia Sherman and Ernest Cline. A smaller gold coin and a plaque will be presented to "The Machine Stops". The specific time and location will be available in the convention program.
This was the first Prometheus nomination for both Sherman and Cline. Sherman's credits include five fantasy novels and editing two collections. Ready Player One is Cline's first novel; his official bio includes a variety of odd jobs, poetry slams and writing screenplays.
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. She's mistaken for a light-skinned slave fathered by a plantation owner. She endures great hardships, commiserates with others suffering worse, works in the household and the fields, and sees the other slaves demonstrating their humanity in the face of incredible adversity. In the process, she comes to appreciate the values of honor, respect, courage, and personal responsibility.
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 in which entrepreneurial gamers must solve virtual puzzles and battle real-life enemies to save their virtual world from domination and corruption. The main characters work together without meeting in the real world until near the end of the story. The novel stresses the importance of allowing open access to the Internet for everyone.
"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster was published in 1909. Forster described it as a reaction to H.G. Wells's fiction. The story describes a future in which most people never leave their rooms and interact only through the Machine's video and text facilities. People in this dystopia depend on the Machine for all their needs. When the Machine falls into disrepair and fails, the people are isolated from one another and many die, though Forster depicts it as a hopeful ending with a few wild humans on the surface likely to carry on and learn to be self-sufficient again.
The other finalists for the Best Novel award were The Children of the Sky (TOR Books) by Vernor Vinge, In the Shadow of Ares (Amazon Kindle edition) by Thomas L. James and Carl C. Carlsson, The Restoration Game (Pyr Books) by Ken MacLeod, and Snuff (Harper Collins) by Terry Pratchett. MacLeod has won three Best Novel awards, Vinge has won twice, and Pratchett has one previous winner.
The other finalists for the Hall of Fame award were "As Easy as A.B.C.," a story by Rudyard Kipling (1912); "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," a story by Harlan Ellison (1965); and Falling Free, a novel by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988).
The LFS is announcing the winning works so that fans of the works and the writers can begin to make plans for attending the awards ceremonies. Anyone interested in more information about the awards ceremony or other LFS activities at ChiCon can send email to email@example.com.
The Prometheus awards for Best Novel, Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame), and (occasional) Special Awards honor outstanding science fiction and fantasy that explores the possibilities of a free future, champions human rights (including personal and economic liberty), dramatizes the perennial conflict between individuals and coercive governments, or critiques the tragic consequences of abuse of power--especially by the State.
The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (lfs.org), was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Prometheus Awards include a gold coin and plaque for each of the winners.
Publishers who wish to submit novels published in 2011 for the 2012 Best Novel award should contact Michael Grossberg, Chair of the LFS Prometheus Awards Best Novel Finalist judging committee online at BestNovelChair@lfs.org domain or via postal mail at 3164 Plymouth Place, Columbus OH 43213.
The Hall of Fame, established in 1983, focuses on older classic fiction, including novels, novellas, short stories, poems and plays. Past Hall of Fame award winners range from Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand to Ray Bradbury and Ursula LeGuin.
Founded in 1982, the Libertarian Futurist Society sponsors the annual Prometheus Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame; publishes reviews, news and columns in the quarterly "Prometheus"; arranges annual awards ceremonies at the WorldCon; debates libertarian futurist issues (such as private space exploration); and provides fun and fellowship for libertarian SF fans. All members of the LFS are eligible to nominate eligible works for its awards, and to vote on the Hall of Fame. Full members are eligible to vote on the Best Novel.
A list of past winners of LFS awards can be found on the LFS web site at www.lfs.org