C.J. Cherryh in 2006
[The connection with this blog is that the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award is the only literary award, that I am aware of, that Robert Anton Wilson ever received (he and Robert Shea won it in 1986 for Illuminatus!) Robert Shea was a member of the Libertarian Futurist Society, which gives the Prometheus Award and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. Disclosure: I am a member of the board of the LFS. By the way, when some friends of mine and I formed a science fiction club at the University of Oklahoma in the 1970s, C. J. Cherryh was our first author guest. She had just published her first novel, Gate of Ivrel. Below is the official press release on this year's award. -- The Management.]
Prometheus Award for Best Novel
Alliance Rising, by C. J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher (DAW), has won the 2020 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for novels published in 2019. Set in C.J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union Universe (before her novel Downbelow Station), Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher's interstellar saga of technological upheaval, intrigue and romance explores the early days of the Merchanter Alliance. Independent spaceship families ally during complex, mult-isided political-economic rivalries to defend established rights and promote the common good through free trade.
In one of the better fictional treatments of a complex economy, characters maneuver to prevent statist regimes from dominating space lanes, resist Earth's centralized governance, and investigate the purpose of a mysterious ship, The Rights of Man, undergoing construction on an isolated space station. Classic libertarian themes emerge about what rights are and where they come from (often to resolve conflicts and avoid the initiation of force) and how commerce and property rights promote peace and prosperity as humanity spreads among the stars.
The other 2020 Best Novel finalists were The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood (Random House; Nan A. Talese); Ruin's Wake, by Patrick Edwards (Titan Books); Luna: Moon Rising, by Ian McDonald (TOR Books): and Ode to Defiance, by Marc Stiegler (LMBPN Publishing).
LFS members also nominated these 2019 works for this year's Best Novel category: They Will Drown in Their Mothers' Tears, by Johannes Anyuru (Two Lines Press); Monster Hunter Guardian, by Larry Correia and Sarah H. Hoyt (Baen Books); The Good Luck Girls, by Charlotte Nicole Davis (TOR Teen); Empire of Lies, by Raymond Khoury (Forge Books/TOR); The Year of Jublio!, by Joseph T. Major (Amazon); Atlas Alone, by Emma Newman (ACE Books/Penguin Group); Stealing Worlds, by Karl Schroeder (TOR Books); Fall, or Dodge in Hell, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow); and Delta-V, by Daniel Suarez (Dutton).
The Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction
"Sam Hall," Poul Anderson's short story, won the 2020 Best Classic Fiction award and will be inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.
First published in 1953 in Astounding Science Fiction, Anderson's story is set in a security-obsessed United States, where computerized record-keeping enables the creation of a panopticon society. The insertion of a false record into the system leads to unintended consequences.
Anderson (1926-2001), now a five-time Prometheus Award-winner and the first sf author to be honored with a Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement (in 2001), explored political implications of computer technology that now, decades later, are widely recognized.
The other Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists were "As Easy as A.B.C.," a 1912 story by Rudyard Kipling; "The Trees," a 1978 song by the rock group Rush; A Time of Changes, a 1971 novel by Robert Silverberg; and "Lipidleggin'," a 1978 story by F. Paul Wilson.
In addition to the finalists, the Hall of Fame Finalist Judging Committee considered four other works: The Winter of the World, by Poul Anderson; The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood; "The Pedestrian," by Ray Bradbury; and The Uplift War, by David Brin.
While the Best Novel category is limited to novels published in English for the first time during the previous calendar year (or so), Hall of Fame nominees may be in any narrative or dramatic form, including novels, novellas, stories, films, television series or episodes, plays, musicals, other video, graphic novels, song lyrics, or epic or narrative verse.
Prometheus Awards History
The Prometheus Awards, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established and first presented 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. All LFS members have the right to nominate eligible works for the Prometheus Awards.
The Prometheus Award have, for more than four decades, recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between Liberty and Power. Such works critique or satirize authoritarian trends, expose abuses of power by the institutionalized coercion of the State, champion cooperation over coercion as the roots of civility and social harmony, and uphold individual rights and freedom for all as the only moral and practical foundation for peace, prosperity, progress, justice, tolerance, mutual respect, universal human flourishing and civilization itself.
After separate judging committees select finalists in each annual awards category, LFS members read and rank the finalists to choose the annual Prometheus Award winners.
As always, the annual Best Novel winner will receive a plaque with a one-ounce gold coin; and the Hall of Fame winner, a plaque with a smaller gold coin.
LFS Prometheus Awards panel at New Zealand Worldcon
In honor of the recent 40th anniversary of the Prometheus Awards, the New Zealand Worldcon (ConZealand) has added to its virtual program a panel discussion on “Freedom in SF: Four Decades of the Prometheus Award.” That panel, with novelist F. Paul Wilson joining LFS board members and awards judges Michael Grossberg and Tom Jackson, is scheduled for 10-11 p.m. Saturday Aug. 1 EDT (i.e., 2 p.m. Sunday Aug. 2 NZST in New Zealand.)
The Worldcon will offer a full virtual convention schedule, available July 30 through Aug. 2 to Worldcon registered members.
LFS at North American Science Fiction Convention
The Prometheus Awards ceremony will take place in an online program via Zoom as part of the Columbus 2020 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC). Because of safety concerns during the pandemic, the NASFIC will offer selected virtual events Aug. 21-22, including the LFS's Prometheus Awards ceremony (set for Saturday Aug. 22 from 1pm to 2:30 EDT), to be immediately followed by a NASFiC/LFS panel discussion with Prometheus-winning writers F. Paul Wilson and Sarah Hoyt on "Visions of SF, Liberty, Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards over Four Decades, from F. Paul Wilson and Robert Heinlein to Today."
Prometheus blog: Awards Appreciation Series
On the 40th anniversary of the first Prometheus Award in 1979, the LFS began celebrating and remembering past winners with a weekly Appreciation series on the LFS's Prometheus Blog. With the initial Best Novel series completed, the Appreciation series is now continuing with review/essays in chronological order of each of the winners of the Hall of Fame category, first presented in 1983. Each review/essay is designed to remind readers of outstanding works of fiction that remain worth reading or rereading today while educating the public about the specific pro-liberty and/or antiauthoritarian themes or story elements that inspired LFS members to select each work as a Prometheus winner.
For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories, visit www.lfs.org. For reviews, news and commentary on these and other works of interest to the LFS, visit the Prometheus blog via the link at the top of our website (lfs.org/blog).
Membership in the Libertarian Futurist Society is open to any science fiction fan interested in how fiction can promote an appreciation of the value of liberty.