Pixel Scroll 5/11/17 I Got Two Pixels When I Scrolled The Bones

(1) THE ROARING 20. James Davis Nicoll continues his series of “core” lists with “Twenty Core Trader Speculative Fiction Works Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”.

(2) PRIME TIME LE GUIN. Rare video of Ursula K. LeGuin’s Guest of Honor Speech at Aussiecon (1975) has been uploaded to YouTube by Fanac.org.

AussieCon, the 33rd Worldcon, was held in Melbourne, Australia in 1975. Guest of Honor Ursula K. Le Guin gave an insightful and entertaining speech about the state of science fiction, and her part in it. There’s a real sense of community evident here, as well as a delightful sense of humor (look for the propeller beanie). Le Guin’s comments on the place of women in the field are particularly interesting. The bearded gentleman who introduces her is Robin Johnson, chairman of Aussiecon. Thanks to S.C.I.F.I. for digitizing, and to Elayne Pelz for providing us the footage.

 

(3) I FOUGHT THE LAW. Litigation begins: “Bookseller Suing California Over ‘Autograph Law'”. {Publishers Weekly has the story.

Last year, the California legislature broadened a set of civil code regulations focused on autographed collectibles to include “all autographed items” with a value over $5. Assembly Bill 1570 requires anyone selling autographed books to provide an extremely detailed “certificate of authenticity” with each book, describing the book, identifying the signer, noting witnesses of the book signing, insurance information, and other details. Per the new law, booksellers must keep the certificates for seven years or risk substantial damages, court fees, and a civil penalty if the autographed book gets questioned in court.

These new regulations took effect in January, prompting protests from around the state—including a Change.org petition with over 1,700 signatures urging the state legislature to repeal the bill. Petrocelli’s suit marks the first time a California bookseller has challenged the law in court.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a non-profit law firm defending “private property rights, individual liberty, free enterprise, [and] limited government,” mounted Petrocelli’s lawsuit free of charge, as it does for all its clients. “We spoke to booksellers up and down the coast,” said Anastasia Boden, one of the PLF attorneys representing Book Passage in the suit. “But Bill was the only one so far brave enough to join a constitutional lawsuit and act as a civil rights plaintiff.”

The lawsuit argues that common bookstore practices like guest author lectures and book signings “are fundamental to First Amendment freedoms.” By that argument, the regulations Assembly Bil 1570 places on booksellers violates a basic freedom accorded to all Americans by the Constitution.

According to the lawsuit, the new paperwork and penalties “significantly burdened and seriously threatened” Petrocelli’s efforts to sell books autographed by their authors. Book Passage hosts around 700 author events every year, as well as a “Signed First Editions Club” for dedicated members. These programs, under the new law, would generate thousands of pages of paperwork, as well as the potential for massive liabilities.

(4) POPCORN V. PROTEIN BARS. Yahoo! Beauty finds “Wonder Woman Fans Angry Over ‘ThinkThin’ Movie Promotion Deal”.

Wonder Woman is viewed as a strong and fearless female character in popular culture — and one would think that the production company about to debut a major feature film based on the character would align its marketing tools with the same profile.

Instead, Warner Bros. has partnered with the protein-focused nutrition company ThinkThin to promote the upcoming flick, and it’s causing quite a stir, as many users believe it sends the wrong message.

“We wanted to celebrate a hero film featuring a woman in the leading role,” Michele Kessler, the president of ThinkThin, said in a press release on the partnership. “We love that Wonder Woman has super strength, and we’re proud to offer delicious products that give women the everyday strength they need to power through their day.”

But despite ThinkThin’s belief that its variety of protein smoothie mixes and bars are fit for powerful women — the primary target the upcoming film is celebrating — fans still have a lot to say about the partnership. Many believe teaming up with the company sends the wrong message from the film.

There have proven to be two sides to the controversy — as this pair of tweets shows:

(5) OPEN DOORS. Bryan Thao Worra, President of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, told Specpo readers — “’Science Fiction is for Everyone’ Panel at LA Harbor College a success”.

On April 25th, the Cultural Equity Workgroup invited five science fiction authors and fans to LA Harbor College to discuss the subject “Science Fiction Is For Everyone,” for a room that was at times standing room only.

Held in Tech 110, I was presenting with Stephanie Brown, Michael Paul Gonzalez, Jaymee Goh, Gregg Castro and Steven Barnes. It was a great line-up with some touching comments that drew on diverse fields of knowledge and experience, from the work and influence of Nnedi Okorafor and Octavia Butler, to the way readers and writers have been brought into the world of science fiction not only in the US but around the world. There was a strong highlight on the appeal of steampunk and afrofuturism.

During my portion of the panel, I focused on a discussion of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, and had the honor of previous SFPA president Deborah Kolodji in attendance as well as fellow SFPA member and community builder Denise Dumars facilitating the conversation. Overall, our audience was very engaged with our varied approaches to the speculative arts. I demonstrated that speculative poetry draws on a very extensive tradition back to the very roots of poetry itself. The work of Edgar Allan Poe was cited as one of the key efforts to develop a distinctive American voice in poetry that was distinct from what was found in Europe at the time.

(6) PROMETHEUS ONLINE. The Libertarian Futurist Society has launched a new blog devoted to science fiction, Prometheus Blog which replaces the society newsletter.

The new blog complements our main mission of awarding annual literary awards, the Prometheus Award and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, along with periodic special awards and Hall of Fame awards for notable authors.

..We will be offering news about our organization’s awards and actions, and we’ll be publishing reviews of science fiction books and other artistic works of genre interest, and essays on science fiction.

The blog’s introductory post is “Freedom in the Future Tense: A Political History of SF” by Eric S. Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar and a longtime SF fan.

One: people whose basic political philosophy is flatly incompatible with libertarianism will continue to find the SF mainstream an uncomfortable place to be. Therefore, sporadic ideological revolts against the Campbellian model of SF will continue, probably about the established rate of one per decade. The Futurians, the New Wave, the cyberpunks, and “Radical Hard SF” were not the end of that story, because the larger political questions that motivated those insurrections are not yet resolved.

Two: all these revolts will fail in pretty much the same way. The genre will absorb or routinize their literary features and discard their political agendas. And SF will continue to puzzle observers who mistake its anti-political DNA for conservatism while missing its underlying radicalism.

And the blog’s coming attractions:

In the next few weeks, we will publish book reviews of all of the current nominees for the 2017 Prometheus Award. A survey of the works of Jack Vance will soon by published. Many other articles are in the pipeline.

(9) STATION INFESTATION. Here’s a rare opportunity to watch a monster movie within a stone’s throw of the locale they terrorized — “Off-Ramp Recommendation: Scientists needed! Giant ants invade Union Station Friday night!”

Let’s face it. Ants are nobody’s favorite. They ruin summer picnics, sneak under the door to steal your crumbs, and are… HUGE?! In 1954 sci-fi film “Them!” ants are gigantic, radioactive, flesh-eating, and coming directly for you!

Friday night, as part of the Metro Art series, Union Station is screening the second film in its “Sci-Fi at Union Station” series. It’s the 1954 sci-fi classic “Them!” LA Times entertainment reporter and classic Hollywood expert Susan King will provide a background on the film and its historical significance to both the sci-fi genre and LA.

Director Gordon Douglas helped created the nuclear monster genre with “Them!” and due to its campy horror, the movie has become a cult-classic. “Them!” follows the creation and subsequent terror of carnivorous insects and their pursuit of film stars James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, and Joan Weldon. The film culminates in a battle scene set in our very own city, featuring shots of beautiful Union Station, LA’s neighborhoods, and storm drains.

And if that’s not enough – young Leonard Nimoy appears in the film (in a very minor role)!

(10) MORE FROM WJW. Flyover Fandom has Part 2 of its interview with Walter Jon Williams.

DAF: The Praxis is a very stratified society. What did you look at for inspiration, because at times you will have Peers engaged in almost comedy of manners escapades. At other times they engage in white collar crime. What did you pull from?

WJW: There are almost too many to mention. But certainly the books reflect class and class resentment in the 19th century British empire. Which became more class-based as the century went on, but in addition to the diehard imperialists out to conquer the world, they also produced Bertie Wooster and Oscar Wilde.

The social setting is based on Republican Rome, as that experience came down through Spain and the colonial experience in New Mexico where I live. There are certain practices common in Rome that are still common in New Mexico, such as the patron-client relationship exercised by the leading Spanish families and their descendants.

The underground movements of World War II are another great inspiration. At one point Sula is leading the an underground movement against an occupying army, and I gave her an alias taken from a real-life French resistance heroine, Lucie Aubrac.

(11) TODAY’S DAY

Twilight Zone Day

The Twilight Zone was created by acclaimed television producer Rod Serling in 1959, with the first episode premiering on October 2nd. At the time of its release, it was vastly different from anything else on TV, and it struggled a bit to carve out a niche for itself at the very beginning. In fact, Serling himself, though respected and adored by many, was famous for being one of Hollywood’s most controversial characters and was often call the “angry young man” of Hollywood for his numerous clashes with television executives and sponsors over issues such as censorship, racism, and war. However, his show soon gained a large, devoted audience. Terry Turner of the Chicago Daily News gave it a rave review, saying, “Twilight Zone is about the only show on the air that I actually look forward to seeing. It’s the one series that I will let interfere with other plans.” The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964.

(12) EXOPLANET STUDY. James Davis Nicoll calls this “more evidence we live in a Hal Clement universe” — “Primitive atmosphere discovered around ‘Warm Neptune'”.

A pioneering new study uncovering the ‘primitive atmosphere’ surrounding a distant world could provide a pivotal breakthrough in the search to how planets form and develop in far-flung galaxies.

A team of international researchers, co-lead by Hannah Wakeford from NASA and Professor David Sing from the University of Exeter, has carried out one of the most detailed studies to date of a ‘Warm Neptune’ – a planet that is similar in size to our own Neptune, but which orbits its sun more closely.

The study revealed that the exoplanet – found around 430 light years from Earth – has an atmosphere that composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, with a relatively cloudless sky.

This primitive atmosphere suggests the planet most likely formed closer to its host star or later in its solar system development, or both, compared to the Ice Giants Neptune or Uranus.

Crucially, the discovery could also have wide implications for how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems in distant galaxies.

(13) CRY ME A RIVER. Break out your tissues – ScreenRant is ready to show you “Doctor Who: 15 Most Heartbreaking Moments”. (Boo Who!)

  1. River is saved in The Library

Entire books could be written on The Doctor and River Song and how their relationship is a mess of mixed up timelines. The Doctor’s first moment with her is River’s last with him and wrapping your head around that is a sadder thing than most. As the audience, our relationship with their story begins from The Doctor’s perspective and it’s not until later seasons do we realize just how lovely it really is.

River’s first appearance coincides with her death and it’s tough for us to watch, let alone for The Doctor to experience. She knows his true name, has his screwdriver, and is aware of every moment of their future together but–for the sake of spoilers–knows she can’t divulge too much.

In her dying moments, she talks about her last night with him and how beautiful it was before saying goodbye to the man she’s loved for years, knowing that he’s only just met her.

In a final and also first act of love–The Doctor realizes his future self had a plan and is able to restore River’s mind (saved in the sonic screwdriver) to a computer where she can, in a way, live on for eternity.

(14) MY VOTE. Is it too late to pick Hayley Atwell as the next Doctor Who? ScreenRant sells the idea.

If the series does decide to go for a female Doctor in season eleven, we’re looking pointedly in the direction of Marvel star Hayley Atwell. The British actress shot to fame as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, a role that eventually led to her own spin-off series, Marvel’s Agent Carter. Agent Carter was cancelled after two seasons, to the disappointment of its huge fan base, and Atwell went on to work on Conviction, which was cancelled after only a single season. Although we would have loved to see Atwell find success with the show, this leaves her in need of a new project – and what better than Doctor Who?

Atwell has everything that we are looking for in a new Doctor. She’s British, which is something of a requirement (it’s easier to envision a female Doctor than an American one, for most fans!), and she’s very used to dealing with a major role in a huge franchise, thanks to Marvel. Her role as Agent Carter also proved her ability to work with a sci-fi/fantasy role, and to get physical with a part. Peggy Carter is not afraid to do things her own way, or to get her hands dirty; and while the doctor isn’t as violent as Peggy has been, he certainly does his fair share of physical adventuring. She’s got a genius for comedy, which is a vital part of the show, and she’s mature enough and experienced enough to handle a character as complicated as the Doctor. She’s also much younger than Capaldi – and we’ve seen from past Doctors that the current fandom seems to connect more with younger regenerations. Although longtime fans loved Capaldi’s take on the character, there is no denying that some viewers did find him less appealing than the more boyishly charming Smith and David Tennant.

In addition to all of this, Atwell herself has said that she would like to take on the role. In a Twitter Q&A, the actress said “I’d like to BE Doctor Who”, setting the fandom alight when it happened in 2015. At the time, she was busy with Agent Carter, but now that she’s looking for a new project, we would be surprised if she doesn’t throw her hat in the ring with the BBC. Having a longtime fan join the franchise is always a good thing, as it means that the new star is approaching the role with an in-depth understanding of who, exactly, the Doctor really is.

(15) SCI-FI ORIGINS. This is as exciting as paleontologists finding a record-setting homonid fossil. Yesterday in comments, Bill pointed to a 2014 post by Fred Shapiro claiming an earlier origin for the term “sci-fi” than previously known:

There has been a fair amount of attention given to the question of what is the earliest use of the term “sci-fi.”  The OED’s first use is dated 1955.  The OED web site of science fiction citations has a December 1954 usage by Forrest J. Ackerman, who is often said to be the coiner.  A supposed usage by Robert A. Heinlein in 1949 has been shown to be erroneous.  The term looks very much like a Varietyism, and in fact I have now found an earlier occurrence in Variety:

1954 _Variety_ 17 Feb. 38 (ProQuest)  New Telepix Shows … The commercial possibilities are there as well since “Junior Science,” aside from its positive qualities, is a rewarding change of pace from the more thunderous sci-fi and spaceship packages.

(16) GRAPHIC STORY. Deadline: Hollywood displays the new SyFy logo.

For the first time since the NBCUniversal cable network changed its name from Sci Fi to Syfy in 2009, it is changing its logo, introducing a new identity brand refresh ahead of the channel’s 25th anniversary in September.

(17) SYFY REBOOT. io9 says the logo is a minor change in comparison to what will be happening to Syfy programming: “Syfy’s Plan to Save Itself: Harry Potter, Comic Books, and George R.R. Martin”.

Of course, all of that is window dressing compared what Syfy will actually put up on screens. McCumber said the goal was to go back to high-end, scripted television, with four focuses: space and scifi, fantasy, paranormal and supernatural, and superheroes and comics.

The Expanse and The Magicians are clearly the network’s flagship returning shows, mentioned many times and with pictures all over the presentations. For new projects, it was announced Tuesday night that Happy!, the adaptation of a Grant Morrison comic starring Christopher Meloni that was announced last year, will get a full season. Similarly, the Superman prequel Krypton has a full series order.

The only new project announced was the development of George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers, a scifi-horror novella he wrote in 1980, which was actually adapted into a movie in 1987.

(18) NEW GRRM TV PROJECT. The Hollywood Reporter says “George R.R. Martin Novella ‘Nightflyers’ Headed for TV on Syfy”.

The ‘Game of Thrones’ creator is teaming with writer Jeff Buhler to develop the drama for the small screen.

Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin is expanding his TV footprint.

The author and exec producer of HBO’s fantasy drama is teaming with Syfy to adapt his 1980 novella Nightflyers for the small screen, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Set in the future on the eve of Earth’s destruction, a crew of explorers journey on the most advanced ship in the galaxy, The Nightflyer, to intercept a mysterious alien spacecraft that might hold the key to their survival. As the crew nears their destination, they discover that the ship’s artificial intelligence and never-seen captain may be steering them into deadly and unspeakable horrors deep in the dark reaches of space.

(19) DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THIS. The editor of Rabid Puppy Hugo nominee Cirsova apparently is getting it from both sides.

Here’s an example from “his side.”

And I guess this is what provoked Cirsova’s comment. (Waves hello!)

(20) NODDING OFF. Did any SF writers think getting a good night’s sleep in space would be this difficult? “The quest to help astronauts sleep better”.

But getting a good night’s sleep in space is not easy. There are no beds or pillows – astronauts sleep strapped to the wall in sleeping bags. And that’s not all. “There’re probably several reasons they don’t sleep properly,” says Elmenhorst. “Isolation, a sunrise every 90 minutes and [with the ventilation system] it’s quite noisy in the ISS.” Often, astronauts have to work shifts to monitor experiments or capture visiting supply ships.

To investigate how this lack of sleep affects astronauts’ performance, Elmenhorst’s team has been subjecting groups of paid volunteers to sleep deprivation experiments. “We want to show how sleep loss affects cognitive function,” she says, “and how some people cope better than others.”

(21) SEE-THRU. “Scientists 3D-print transparent glass” – a video report. Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment, “It will be interesting to see whether they ever make their goal of printing photographic lenses, which would require very fine control.”

(22) BUDDHISM AND SCIENCE. How did the religion gain its reputation for being less incompatible with science than many others? At NPR: “Buddhism, Science And The Western World”.

Of course, by its very nature religion, all religions, are changed by their encounters with new cultures. This is particularly true of Buddhism and its steady march eastward from its birth in India 2,500 years ago. Religions always have a way of outgrowing their own scriptural and ritual basis, while simultaneously holding on to them. As author Karen Armstrong has shown, practitioners in any age are always selecting out those parts of their religions that are meaningful to them while ignoring the parts that seem dated. She called the process “creative misreading.”

[Robert] Sharf has no problem with the creative misreading that allows Buddhist Modernism to share space with scientific worldviews. “My concern,” he told Tricycle, “is not with the selectivity of those who read Buddhism as a rationalist and scientific religion — it is perfectly understandable given the world in which we live. It is really not a question of misreading. It is a question of what gets lost in the process.”

(23) SITH REALITY. Cédric Delsaux has put an interesting spin on Star Wars by incorporating its imagery into real photos.

“Over the years, many artists have interpreted Star Wars in ways that extend well beyond anything we saw in the films. One of the most unique and intriguing interpretations that I have seen is in the work of Cedric Delsaux, who has cleverly integrated Star Wars characters and vehicles into stark urban, industrial – but unmistakably earthbound – environments. As novel and disruptive as his images are, they are also completely plausible.”

George Lucas

(24) WRITE A BIG CHECK. An early visualization of the idea for Disneyland will be auctioned soon, and it won’t go cheap — “Original Disneyland concept art shows park origins, growth”.

Tomorrowland was originally going to be called World of Tomorrow. Frontierland was Frontier Country. Lilliputian Land never became a reality at Disneyland. And no one could have foreseen a “Star Wars” land opening in 2019.

Walt Disney spent a marathon weekend in 1953 brainstorming ideas for the new family amusement park he envisioned called Disneyland. There would be a train station and an old-fashioned Main Street square. The park would have a princess castle and a pirate ship, maybe even a rocket. Disney wanted to get investors on board, so he described the various elements he imagined to artist Herb Ryman, who translated them into a hand-drawn map — Disneyland’s first.

That original concept art could fetch as much as $1 million when it goes up for auction next month, auctioneer Mike Van Eaton said.

(25) ANIMATION ROUNDUP. Financial Times writer James Mottram, in “Are animation movies growing up?”, gives an overview of current arthouse animation projects, including Tehran Taboo, Your Name, and the Oscar-nominated film which is My Life As A Zucchini in the US and My Life As A Courgette in the Uk.  He includes an interview with Michael Dudok de Wit, director of the Oscar-nomnated, Studio Ghibli-backedThe Red Turtle. (The link is to the Google cache file, which worked for me – I hope it will work for you!)

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, James Davis Nicoll, rcade, Eli, Bill, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]

2017 Prometheus Hall of Fame Finalists

libertycoinThe Libertarian Futurist Society has chosen six finalists for the 2017 Hall of Fame Award, given in recognition of a classic work of science fiction or fantasy with libertarian themes. This year’s finalists are:

  • “As Easy as A.B.C.,” by Rudyard Kipling (first published 1912 in London Magazine), the second of his “airship utopia” stories, portrays a crisis in a twenty-first century society where an unpopular minority calls for the revival of democracy, and a largely hands-off world government is forced to step in and protect them.
  • “Conquest by Default,” by Vernor Vinge (first published 1968 in Analog) is his first exploration of the idea of anarchism, in which a stateless alien society visits an Earth recovering from nuclear war. The story combines a novel approach to the problem of avoiding the decay of anarchy into government with an evocation of the tragic impact of cultural change.
  • “Coventry,” by Robert A. Heinlein (first published 1940 in Astounding Science Fiction) envisions the Covenant, a social compact under which breaking the law, as such, cannot be punished unless actual harm to someone has been demonstrated. The story contrasts that society with a lawless “anarchy” into which those who break the covenant are sent.
  • “Harrison Bergeron,” by Kurt Vonnegut (first published 1971 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), satirizes the idea of radical egalitarianism with a portrayal of a society where all talented people are compulsorily brought down to average — until one gifted youth rebels against the system.
  • “Starfog,” by Poul Anderson (first published 1967 in Analog) envisions a widespread interstellar society millennia after the fall of a Galactic Empire, unified by the Commonality, a mutual aid organization. The story explores methods of carrying out large-scale projects through voluntary cooperation and market incentives under conditions where central control is unworkable.
  • “With Folded Hands …” by Jack Williamson (first published 1947 in Astounding Science Fiction), uses science fiction to satirize the modern “nanny state” and explore an ethical theme: the peril of unrestricted authority, even (or especially) when it is used totally altruistically to take care of those subjected to it.

In addition to the six finalists, the Hall of Fame Committee considered eight other works: “The End of the Line,” by James H. Schmitz; “The Exit Door Leads In,” by Philip K. Dick; The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood; The Island Worlds, by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts; Lord of the Flies, by William Golding; Manna, by Lee Correy; “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” by Ursula Le Guin; and A Time of Changes, by Robert Silverberg.

The Prometheus Awards, in the words of the LFS, 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.”

The final vote by LFS members will take place in mid-2017. The Prometheus Hall of Fame award will be presented at a major science fiction convention.

L. Neil Smith To Receive LFS Award at MileHiCon

L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith

In January, L. Neil Smith was announced as the next recipient of a Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society. The organization will present it to him at MileHiCon in Denver.

Smith will be presented with the Prometheus award, a gold coin mounted on a plaque, at 7 p.m. Friday October 28, during the opening night of the convention

Smith is the fourth author history to receive the LFS’ Lifetime Achievement Award. The previous recipients were Poul Anderson (2001), Vernor Vinge (2014) and F. Paul Wilson (2015).

Including their Lifetime Achievement awards, Anderson, Vinge, Wilson and now Smith have all been recognized five times with various Prometheus Awards. (The only author to receive more awards from the LFS was Robert Heinlein (1907-1988), with a grand total of six.)

Smith is the creator of the Prometheus Award, presenting it in 1979 to Wheels Within Wheels by F. Paul Wilson. In order to transform the one-time award into an annual program, the Libertarian Futurist Society was organized by Grossberg and other fans in 1982 to take over and sustain the awards program. Since the initial award to Wilson, Smith has not played a role in the LFS. Visit lfs.org to see a comprehensive list of Prometheus Award recipients and for more information about the Libertarian Futurist Society.

2016 Prometheus Novel and Hall of Fame Winners

The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the Best Novel and Hall of Fame winners of the 36th annual Prometheus Awards.

PROMETHEUS BEST NOVEL

  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

PROMETHEUS HAL OF FAME

  • Courtship Rite by Donald M. Kingsbury

A Special Award will also be presented, as announced earlier, to Alex + Ada, a graphic novel by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (Image Comics) that dramatizes conflict over the rights of artificial intelligences and explores the nature of personhood.

The awards will be presented during MidAmeriCon II, August 17-21 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the awards includes 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.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Special Prometheus Award for “Alex + Ada”

The Libertarian Futurist Society has given a Special Award to Alex + Ada, a graphic novel by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn.

Alex + Ada was published by Image Comics. The collected edition appeared in three volumes from July 29, 2014 to August 25, 2015.

The LFS’ award citation explains —

Set in a near future United States, Alex + Ada explores the social and political impact of the creation of artificial intelligences through the personal story of a young man, Alex, who receives an android companion as a gift from his wealthy grandmother. He faces a series of increasingly challenging moral choices about his relationship with the android, which he names Ada. As the story progresses, Alex, Ada, and other characters are caught up in a moral panic over androids that inspires repressive legislation and outbreaks of mob violence—and are tested by how they respond.

Luna and Vaughn’s treatment of artificial intelligence and virtual reality is sophisticated and technologically plausible. They tie the ethical question of which beings have rights to deeper philosophical issues of the nature of conscious experience and selfhood. And in the end, they hold up personal integrity in the face of a repressive society as an example worth following. Their story gives us a look at issues that a future world might have to address.

The award ceremony will take place at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City, at a time to be announced. The award includes a gold coin and plaque for the winners. Also to be presented are the annual Best Novel and Hall of Fame Awards, finalists for which were previously announced.

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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.

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L. Neil Smith Wins LFS Lifetime Achievement Award

L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith

The Libertarian Futurist Society has selected L. Neil Smith to receive a Special Prometheus Award for lifetime achievement. Time and place of the ceremony to be announced.

Smith is the fourth author recognized by LFS for lifetime achievement. Previous winners were Poul Anderson (2001), Vernor Vinge (2014) and F. Paul Wilson (2015).

He has been recognized by the LFS many times during his career, winning four Prometheus Awards — for The Probability Broach (1982), part of his seven-book North American Confederacy series, Pallas (1994), The Forge of the Elders (2001), and a Special Award given to him and illustrator Scott Bieser for The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel in 2005.

Smith, was the creator of the Prometheus Award – originally conceived as a one-off award when it was given for the first time in 1979. In 1982, the Libertarian Futurist Society was organized by other fans to continue the Prometheus Awards program.

With 28 books to his credit, Smith may be most widely-known for three Star Wars novels featuring Lando Calrissian.

Including their Lifetime Achievement awards, Anderson, Vinge, Wilson and now Smith have all been recognized five times with various Prometheus Awards.  (The only author to receive more awards from the LFS was Robert Heinlein (1907-1988), with a grand total of six.) Visit LFS.org to see a comprehensive list of Prometheus Award recipients.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Shortlist Announced for Libertarian Futurist Society’s 2016 Hall of Fame Award

The Libertarian Futurist Society has selected five finalists for the 2016 Hall of Fame Award, given in recognition of a classic work of science fiction or fantasy with libertarian themes.

The descriptions of the works and their themes come from the Society’s press release.

  • Manna, by Lee Correy (published 1984)

A novel about the economic development of space in the twenty-first century, and about competing economic philosophies that shape it. One of its most interesting aspects is the setting: the United Mitanni Commonwealth, an imaginary small East African country founded on a distinctive vision of personal freedom of choice. Correy’s hero, a former American aerospace officer, is drawn into the Mitanni struggle both for a vision of the future and for simple survival, while discovering the customs of his new homeland.

  • Courtship Rite, by Donald M. Kingsbury (published 1982)

A novel set on a planet in a remote solar system, where human colonists struggle with a harsh environment. The author, a mathematician, explores the mathematical concept of optimization in biological evolution, in political institutions, in culture, and in personal ethics—through linked dramatic struggles over political ambition and the creation of a family.

  • “As Easy as A.B.C.,” by Rudyard Kipling (published 1912)

One of Kipling’s two “airship utopia” stories, set in the year 2065—but the utopia is an ambiguous one. Striking for its vision of a future that looks back in horror at the lynchings and racism of Kipling’s own time. Compact and evocatively written.

  • The Island Worlds, by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts (published 1987)

A novel of asteroidal rebellion against a corrupt and oligopolistic Earth. Unusual in its portrayal of an internally divided liberation movement with conflicting ethical and strategic beliefs.

  • A Mirror for Observers, by Edgar Pangborn (published 1954)

A novel of conflicting factions of Martian refugees working in secret to influence humanity toward enlightenment and self-destruction. Notable for its vision of a future United States with two entirely new leading political parties—a constitutionalist party and a fascistic Organic Unity Party—and of its reaction to an engineered plague. Pangborn offers no radical solutions; he focuses on personal ethics, and he shows reasons for despair and then turns back to hope.

Fourteen nominees were considered for the award. Those not making the shortlist were: Firesign Theater’s “I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus,” James P. Hogan’s The Mirror Maze, Murray Leinster’s “Exploration Team,” C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, O.T. Nelson’s The Girl Who Owned a City, Rush’s 2112, Robert Silverberg’s A Time of Changes, T.H. White’s The Book of Merlyn, and F. Paul Wilson’s Hosts.

Hall of Fame candidates are nominated by the members of the Libertarian Futurist Society. Any work first published more than five years ago is eligible. The finalists have been selected by a committee of judges. The winners will be determined by a vote of all members.

Last Year’s Hall of Fame Winner: Harlan Ellison recorded a short video accepting the 2015 LFS Hall of Fame award for “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman.”

2015 Prometheus Award Goes to Suarez

Daniel Suarez’ novel Influx has won the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus Award for Best Novel of 2014.

Influx, the fourth techno-thriller by Daniel Suarez (Dutton Adult, Feb. 20, 2014), dramatizes the evils of totalitarian government control over people’s lives by depicting a government so concerned about politically destabilizing and potentially dangerous innovations that it creates the Bureau of Technology Control to manage the introduction of new technologies. Inventors who don’t follow their edicts are sentenced to a high-tech prison with fiendishly oppressive use of new technology. To end the impending new dark age, the prisoners must fight ruthless individuals already living in our future and armed with mind-blowing genetic technology.

This was Suarez’s second Prometheus award nomination, following Kill Decision, which was a Prometheus Award finalist in 2013.

The award, which includes a gold coin and plaque, will be presented Friday, August 21 at Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington.

The full press release follows the jump.

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2015 Prometheus Award Novel Finalists

libertycoinThe Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the finalists in the Best Novel category of the Prometheus Awards, representing the best pro-freedom novel of 2014:

  • The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin (TOR Books, Nov. 2014) is a first contact novel by one of China’s best loved science fiction authors. Ye Wenjie, a young astrophysicist whose life is molded by experiences during China’s brutal Cultural Revolution, makes crucial decisions about the future of humanity. The struggle to make rational sense of the universe, using methods of logic and science, is essential to nearly all of the human and alien characters.
  • Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett (March 18, 2014, Knopf Doubleday) is the 40th Discworld novel and the last published in Pratchett’s lifetime.  further explores the theme of technological advances in communication and transportation and their liberating impact. Moist von Lipwig, the protagonist of Going Postal and Making Money, reappears as the key figure in the creation of the Discworld’s first railroad, and in the legal negotiations that make it possible.
  • A Better World, by Marcus Sakey (Amazon, Thomas & Mercer, June 2014) is a sequel to Brilliance, which explored a world populated by people with fantastic talents. In this story, some Brilliants are using terrorism to work toward separation, while others work to make a more civil, cooperative society.
  • Influx, the fourth techno-thriller by Daniel Suarez (Dutton Adult, Feb. 20, 2014), depicts a government so concerned about politically destabilizing and potentially dangerous innovations that it creates the Bureau of Technology Control to manage the introduction of new technologies. Inventors who don’t follow their edicts are sentenced to a high-tech prison. To end the impending new dark age, the prisoners must fight ruthless individuals already living in our future and armed with mind-blowing genetic technology.

The Prometheus Award was established in 1979 and is presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention. Winners received a gold coin and a plaque. For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories, visit www.lfs.org.

The full press release follows the jump.

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