2016 Prometheus Award Finalists

libertycoinThe Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the Best Novel finalists for the 36th annual Prometheus Awards.

  • Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey)
  • Apex, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
  • Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • The Just City, by Jo Walton (TOR Books)
  • A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe (TOR Books)

This is the first Prometheus nomination for Pierce Brown and Gene Wolfe. Naam previously won the 2014 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Nexus, part of a trilogy that continued with Crux and ends with Apex. Stephenson won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2005 for The System of the World. Walton won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2008 for Ha’penny

The award will be presented during MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, August 17-21 in Kansas City. The Prometheus Award includes a gold coin and plaque for the winner.

The award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979. It has been presented during the Worldcon since 1982.

Fourteen novels were on the longlist. In addition to the finalists, the other titles were: Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald (TOR Books), Squirrel Days, by Dustin Costa (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), The Turing Exception by William Hertling (Liquididea Press), InterstellarNet: Enigma, by Edward M. Lerner (FoxAcre Press) , Annihilation Score by Charles Stross (Ace Books),  The Miskatonic Manuscript, by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), The Testament of James by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), Joe Steele, by Harry Turtledove (ROC) and  Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

The full press release follows the jump.

PROMETHEUS AWARD FINALISTS CHOSEN FOR BEST NOVEL

Brown, Naam, Stephenson, Walton and Wolfe recognized for 2015 novels for 2016 award to be presented at Worldcon

The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced finalists for the best Novel category of the 36th annual Prometheus Awards.

The 2016 awards will be presented during the 74th annual World Science Fiction Convention Aug. 17-21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The five Best Novel finalists (in alphabetical order by author) for this year’s Prometheus Award for best novel of 2015:

Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey) – Slavery versus freedom is a central theme of the intriguing second novel in “The Red Rising Trilogy,” set on a future Mars inhabited by the idle-rich Golds and slave-miner Reds. Questions about trade-offs between chaos and control and whether the ends justify the means are explored as the libertarian protagonist strives to help the Reds revolt and create an equal-rights society only to learn that some slaves actually don’t want to be free. (This is Brown’s first recognition as a Prometheus nominee and Best Novel finalist.)

Apex, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot) –Set in a future where a substance called Nexus allows humans to connect through their minds, the gripping finale of the “Nexus Arc” trilogy dramatizes a conflict between major world governments, controlled by deceitful and corrupt men who censor truth and spread disinformation, and rebels who seek to bring down these governments by improving communication and enlisting the support of free individuals (both human and human-derived AI). A central question explored is whether it’s better for governments to contain technology, in the name of protecting the people, or to allow technological advancements, even with big risks. (Naam won the 2014 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Nexus, part of a trilogy that continued with Crux and ends with Apex.)

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow) – This epic hard-science fiction novel, about a cataclysmic event that threatens human civilization and the planet Earth, avoids ideology but still dramatizes how a lust for power almost wipes out humanity, while also showing how voluntary cooperation, individual initiative and the courage to face reality and tackle overwhelming problems through reason and private enterprise helps tip the balance towards survival, as a small group – including some of Earth’s bravest and richest entrepreneurs – risk their lives to save mankind. (Stephenson won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2005 for The System of the World.)

The Just City, by Jo Walton (TOR Books) – Recognizing that utopian works are one of the sources for science fiction as a literary form, Jo Walton returns to one of the founding utopian works, Plato’s Republic, and enters into a critical dialogue with it. The process she envisions is science fictional — admirers of Plato from across many centuries are gathered together to raise children as citizens of Plato’s ideal city — but the underlying premise is fantasy: the project is initiated by Athena, and taken up by Apollo. Walton’s political themes – including issues of “equal significance” and the difference between genuine and manipulated political consent – are dramatized through a series of striking incidents and well-drawn characters. (Walton won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2008 for Ha’penny)

A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe (TOR Books) –This intriguing sci-fi murder mystery – which also works as an old-fashioned detective novel and a writer’s meditation on mortality and the desire to produce a body of work that will be remembered – offers a deeply sympathetic portrait of a human clone/slave “book” struggling for his basic existence and humanity in a diminished future Earth where such “books” are treated like pieces of property that can be checked out and ultimately burned. (This is the first Prometheus finalist by Gene Wolfe, one of the most admired sf writers in the field.)

Fourteen novels were nominated for this year’s Best Novel award.

The other nominees: Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald (TOR Books), Squirrel Days, by Dustin Costa (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), The Turing Exception by William Hertling (Liquididea Press), InterstellarNet: Enigma, by Edward M. Lerner (FoxAcre Press) , Annihilation Score by Charles Stross (Ace Books),  The Miskatonic Manuscript, by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), The Testament of James by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), Joe Steele, by Harry Turtledove (ROC) and  Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky (http://hpmor.com/)

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. For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between Liberty and Power, expose the abuses and excesses of coercive government, critique or satirize authoritarian ideas, or champion individual rights and freedoms as the mutually respectful foundation for civilization, cooperation, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.

For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all 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.

For more information, contact LFS Publicity Chair Chris Hibbert (publicity@lfs.org)

15 thoughts on “2016 Prometheus Award Finalists

  1. A very good list, judging from those items on the short- and longlists I’ve read. I often find, even though I’m very far from libertarian, that the Prometheus reflects my tastes rather better than the Hugo. I’ll have to check out the ones I’ve not looked at yet.

  2. A bit of dissonance with that list, realizing there’s a Turtledove novel that I’ve never heard of.

  3. I remember reading a Turtledove short story called “Joe Steele” a long time ago, I guess he expanded it?

  4. I’m struck by the fact that The Mechanical – which is certainly very much about freedom – isn’t there at all. Perhaps they are waiting for the end of the series

  5. howloon – You shoot, you score! It was a 2003 short story.

    Still finding it odd that it would seem to be so very obscure as a novel

  6. wait what??? Isn’t that the “puppy” lovers award??? And no sign of JCW’s Somewhither anywhere … or LC or BT or etc etc. I mean this is the LIBERTARIAN award guys.

  7. @clif: It’s almost like real libertarians actually have decent taste in books, unlike Puppies.

    Except I think that Harry Potter fanfic is better work and more libertarian than “Seveneves”.

    One wonders if “Luna: New Moon” didn’t make the shortlist b/c a) it ends pretty cliffhanger-y or b) it shows how total libertarianism leads to a lot of terrible things for both poor and rich. The Moon is run completely by corporations, who are happy to cut off your air supply once your cash runs out — there isn’t any credit (legit or loanshark), and you can’t even be a slave. The rich assassinate each other on the regular.

  8. clif, the Prometheus award was started in 1979, quite a while before the puppies.

  9. Lois: I don’t think “Luna: New Moon” is any more unoriginal than the “Red Rising” books, but YMMV.

  10. Sarah Hoyt has won this award once, and been nominated several times, but in general I don’t think it is operating in the same area as the Puppy campaigns. It is explicitly ideological – for works that explore the meaning of freedom – while the SP promoters are at least in principle against ideology, arguing that it is SJW’s who have introduced this into what should be a genre of simple adventure. (The RP view is more complex, but I have lost track of what it is meant to be.)

  11. It is explicitly ideological – for works that explore the meaning of freedom

    Well, sort of. That’s a really broad definition, and the way it seems to have been interpreted is even broader. At this point, I’m not sure if there is any work of science fiction that could reasonably be construed to be beyond the scope of the Prometheus Award.

    while the SP promoters are at least in principle against ideology arguing that it is SJW’s who have introduced this into what should be a genre of simple adventure.

    Maybe. It depends on which SP you are listening to and which day of the week it is. Going by their actions and the selection of nominees they have promoted for the Hugos over the last couple of years, that’s not really a principle that they have adhered to in any meaningful sense.

  12. Charlie Stross once referred to the Prometheus as “the award Libertarians give to Scottish Socialists”, based on the number of times he and Ken MacLeod had won. 🙂

    (To be fair: when I first read MacLeod, he did such a good job of criticizing both the right and the left that I really had no idea what his own politics might be like. But I liked it.)

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