Much of my free time the last couple of years has been spent reading books that are being considered for the Prometheus Award, a science fiction award that honors books concerned with liberty. I'm a judge on two committees, one that nominates books for the main award and another that nominates for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.
The nomination committee for the main award has finished its work and put five books on the ballot, which I call to the attention of libertarian sf bookworms.
Here is the official press release:
The Libertarian Futurist Society will present its Prometheus Awards ceremony in September at the World Science Fiction Convention, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia from September 2nd to September 6th, 2010. We are happy to announce the finalists for the Best Novel award. The finalists for the Prometheus Hall of Fame award were announced in January.
The finalists in the Best Novel category of this year's Prometheus Award, for the best pro-freedom novel of 2009, are:
* Hidden Empire, by Orson Scott Card (TOR Books)
The sequel to Card's "Empire" (also a Prometheus finalist) covers the emergence of an imperial president and the role of voluntary action in saving human lives. Card has had three previous novels nominated for the Prometheus.
* Makers, by Cory Doctorow (TOR Books)
An inspiring story of entrepreneurial competition in the near future. The story makes Schumpeter's creative destruction visible, and shows how even the poorest can be helped by competition and invention. Doctorow's "Little Brother" (TOR Books) won last year's Prometheus award.
* The Unincorporated Man, by Dani and Eytan Kollin (TOR Books)
This novel explores the idea that education and personal development could be funded by allowing investors to take a share of one's future income. The story takes a strong position that liberty is important and worth fighting for, and the characters spend their time pushing for different conceptions of what freedom is. This is the first nomination for the Kollin brothers.
* Liberating Atlantis, by Harry Turtledove (ROC/Penguin Books)
The third book in Turtledove's Atlantis trilogy illustrates why people of all colors should be treated equally, and shows slaves in an alternate history demonstrating their humanity by fighting for their rights. Turtledove's "The Gladiator" was a Prometheus co-winner in 2008. The first book in the trilogy was a finalist in 2009, and he had one other novel nominated for the award in 1999.
* The United States of Atlantis, by Harry Turtledove (ROC/Penguin Books)
The second book in Turtledove's Atlantis trilogy covers his alternate colonies' revolution to free themselves from the British crown. This is the first time an author has had two books as Prometheus finalists in a single year.
Eleven novels published in 2009 were nominated for this year's Best Novel category. The other nominees were The Prisoner, by Carlos Cortes (Bantam Spectra);The Good Humor Man, by Andrew Fox (Tachyon Publications); The Iron Web, by Larken Rose (Larken Rose); The Revolution Business: Book Five of the Merchant Princes by Charles Stross (TOR Books); Prophets: Apotheosis, by S. Andrew Swann (DAW); Ground Zero, by F. Paul Wilson (TOR Books).
The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), 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 the winners.
The Prometheus awards honor outstanding science fiction/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.
For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in three categories, visit www.lfs.org. 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.