2017 Prometheus Best Novel Award Finalists

The Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS) has announced five finalists in the Best Novel category of the 37th annual Prometheus Awards:

  • The Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
  • The Corporation Wars: Insurgence, by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
  • The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver (HarperCollins)
  • The Core of the Sun, by Johanna Sinisalo (translated by Lola Rogers) (Grove Press/Black Cat)
  • Blade of p’Na, by L. Neil Smith (Phoenix Pick)

The 2017 awards will be presented at Worldcon 75 (August 9-13) in Helsinki, Finland. The winner will receive a plaque and one-ounce gold coin.

Sixteen novels published in 2016 were nominated for this year’s award, among the largest slates of nominees in the past two decades.

The other Best Novel nominees: Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey); Speculator, by Doug Casey and John Hunt (HighGround Books); Dark Age, by Felix Hartmann (Hartmann Publishing); Kill Process, by William Hertling (Liquididea Press); Through Fire, by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books); Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (TOR Books); Written in Fire, by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer); Arkwright, by Allen Steele (TOR Books); On to the Asteroid, by Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson (Baen Books); Necessity, by Jo Walton (TOR Books); and Angeleyes by Michael Z. Williamson (Baen Books)

The finalists were chosen by a 10-member LFS judging committee.

Here is the short description of each finalist from the press release:

  • The Corporation Wars: Dissidence – Robots attain self-awareness and develop a pro-freedom philosophy while dead humans are revived in digital form to fight an interstellar virtual-reality war against the robot rebellion in the first novel in MacLeod’s projected trilogy, which raises intriguing questions about autonomy and free will.
  • The Corporation Wars: Insurgence – A ghost soldier and several new characters are introduced in the action-oriented second novel in MacLeod’s trilogy, which dramatizes a more complicated three-sided war between the freedom-fighting robots and two groups of humans.
  • The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 – Shriver’s cautionary dystopian drama, informed by an understanding of free-market economics and how coercive government can undermine civilization itself, is set in a 2029 debt-driven apocalypse in which a once-rich family and a once-powerful America have gone bust but the family’s least-successful members prove the most resilient in the face of disaster.
  • The Core of the Sun – This dystopian novel, written by well-known Finnish writer Sinisalo and translated by Rogers, is both libertarian and feminist in depicting an alternate eugenics-dominated Finland where the heroine battles an oppressive, manipulative and male-dominated regime that makes women subservient housewives and mothers and bans alcohol, mind-altering drugs, caffeine and hot peppers.
  • Blade of p’Na – A wide variety of intelligent alien creatures co-exist in a free and free-wheeling society on an alternative version of Earth – including a sapient dog and his human tracking down a missing bridegroom while investigating mysteries and trying to prevent an interdimensional invasion – in this action-adventure-oriented prequel to Smith’s Prometheus-winning The Forge of the Elders.

The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979, making it one of the oldest fan-based awards currently being given in the sf field. Since 1982, the annual award has been presented at the Worldcon.

In the words of the Libertarian Futurist Society, the Prometheus Awards “[recognize] 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.”

A full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories is available at the LFS website.

15 thoughts on “2017 Prometheus Best Novel Award Finalists

  1. Seriously?
    I HATED “The Mandibles”–it was a crime against humanity. It wasn’t funny enough to be a parody or serious enough to make a decent dystopic novel.
    Judge Judy on the Supreme Court?

    “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

  2. It looks like there’s a forty per cent chance of the Prometheus award continuing its tradition of being the Scottish socialist science fiction award.

    I have three of these (the two MacLeods and the Sinisalo) but haven’t gotten to them yet.

  3. where the heroine battles an oppressive, manipulative and male-dominated regime that makes women subservient housewives and mothers and bans alcohol, mind-altering drugs, caffeine and hot peppers.

    Really? Caffeine and hot peppers? Is that a not-so-subtle reference to the LDS church? (And do they even have Mormons in Finland?) That description kind of makes it hard to take the book seriously.

  4. [checks sample of The Core of the Sun on Amazon]

    Good heavens, that’s got to be a parody. The very first page has the protagonist testing the hotness of a pepper by sticking it in her ladybits.

    I think I’ll pass on this one, thank you.

  5. Having two books in one series be finalists seems a little strange. I wonder if this makes it harder for MacLeod to win because the two will split the votes?

  6. I wonder if this makes it harder for MacLeod to win because the two will split the votes?

    From what I can tell, the Prometheus Awards use a ranked ballot system to determine the final winner, so having two finalists shouldn’t work against MacLeod too much.

  7. Seriously?
    I HATED “The Mandibles”–it was a crime against humanity. It wasn’t funny enough to be a parody or serious enough to make a decent dystopic novel.
    Judge Judy on the Supreme Court?

    “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

    Lionel Shriver has never written a book I did not hate, so no surprise there.

    I have heard good things about Johanna Sinisalo, but the description sounds… off. And hot peppers are definitely not to be used as dildos or masturbation aids.

    As for the LDS church, the only members to be found in Europe are either missionaries or ex-missionaries who fell in love and stayed on. I can’t speak for Finland, but hardly anybody in Germany knows that LDS people are not allowed to drink coffee. And if hot peppers are banned as well, that’s news to me.

  8. @Cora: And hot peppers are definitely not to be used as dildos or masturbation aids. Although I haven’t read it yet, I think in Sinisalo’s novel the character is using the peppers in consequence of her addiction to pain. I don’t think the LDS church has anything to do with the novel.

  9. William H. Stoddard: For what it’s worth, the insertion of the hot pepper into the heroine’s vagina is not in any way a form of masturbation; it’s a method of testing its potency.

    There are just all kinds of things wrong with that, including the effects of highly-caustic substances on mucous membranes.

    This does not sound like a novel I would appreciate. 😐

  10. @William H. Stoddard

    Well, yeah, but couldn’t she just eat it?

    I mean, that’s how I usually find out a pepper is hot.

  11. ” (And do they even have Mormons in Finland?) “

    Yes, but very, very few.

    “For what it’s worth, the insertion of the hot pepper into the heroine’s vagina is not in any way a form of masturbation; it’s a method of testing its potency.”

    Trust me when I say that I have some knowledge about this, and it is incredibly stupid. Not knowing the strength before testing? Might put you screaming on the floor. There is also a risk for skin allergy which must be tested first.

  12. For what it’s worth, the insertion of the hot pepper into the heroine’s vagina is not in any way a form of masturbation; it’s a method of testing its potency.

    It’s not worth much, since that is an incredibly stupid way to test the potency of a hot pepper.

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