About a year ago, I joined the Libertarian Futurist Society, a group that exists mainly to present two annual literary awards for science fiction works concerned with liberty: The Prometheus Award, for the best novel published the year before, and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, for a classic.
During last year's awards, I simply voted for the nominees in each category, but for 2009, I've been allowed to serve on the two judging committees. The Prometheus Award nominees won't be announced until next spring, but the Hall of Fame panel has finished its work and come up with six nominees.
- Falling Free, a novel by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988);
- Courtship Rite, a novel by Donald M. Kingsbury (1982);
- "As Easy as A.B.C.," a short story by Rudyard Kipling (1912);
- The Lord of the Rings, a three-volume novel by J. R. R. Tolkien (1955);
- The Once and Future King, including The Book of Merlyn, a novel by T. H. White (1977); and
- The Golden Age, a novel by John C. Wright (2002).
There are three works that weren't on the ballot last year, and I really like two of them, including Courtship Rite, about a planet with few natural resources that practices cannibalism and group marriage. Sounds off-putting, I know, but it's a very interesting and original novel. The John Wright is a kind of far-future libertarian utopia; the conflict comes from a struggle by the hero to build and pilot an interstellar spaceship. His peaceful society believes establishing colonies on other star systems could reintroduce war. Wright is a very philosophical writer, with a style obviously influenced by Jack Vance. The Bujold, also new to the "Hall of Fame" ballot, isn't terrible, but it's not particularly interesting, either.
Official announcement is here.