2009 Prometheus Winners Announced
by Libertarian Futurist Society Press Release
Review by Charles Mohapel
Libertarian Futurist Society News ISBN/ITEM#: CM090707LFSPWA
Date: 07 July 2009
The winner of the Best Novel award is "Little Brother", by Cory Doctorow (TOR Books). The Hall of Fame award was won by "The Lord of the Rings", a 3-volume novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, written in 1955. Doctorow will receive a plaque and a one-ounce gold coin, while a smaller gold coin and a plaque will be presented to Tolkien's estate.
At its award ceremony to be held at the WorldCon in Montreal, the Libertarian Futurist Society will present its annual Prometheus Award for Best Novel to Cory Doctorow and the award for Best Classic Fiction (the "Hall of Fame" award) to "Lord of the Rings", a 1955 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. The specific time and location will be available in the convention program.
This was Doctorow's first nomination for a Prometheus award. "Little Brother" is a powerful cautionary tale about a high-school student and his friends who are rounded up in the hysteria following a terrorist attack. Doctorow focuses on the consequences and costs of the repression by government agencies in the aftermath of the attack. Marcus Yallow and some of his friends are rounded up and imprisoned in a general sweep, and Marcus' attempt to assert his rights earns him harsh treatment. After they are released, he works to undermine the terrorist state and build tools that make it possible for private citizens to communicate privately and to organize out of the government's sight. The emphasis is on how people find the courage to respond to oppression.
"The Lord of the Rings" has been nominated several times in the past. Tolkien's novel evokes the struggle between freedom and absolute tyranny and the dangerous temptations of power over others. His heroes (the hobbits) are everymen, but they rise above their humble station and struggle to ensure that their world will not be dominated by an absolute dictator. This classic work has delighted many readers of all ages for several decades, and has become the standard model for a quest novel. The struggle to escape oppression is central to the action, though it's taken for granted by the protagonists who just want to be left alone, but willingly shoulder the burden so others can be free.
The other finalists for Best Novel were "Matter", by Iain Banks (Orbit Books), "The January Dancer", by Michael Flynn (TOR Books), "Saturn's Children", by Charles Stross (Ace Books), "Opening Atlantis", by Harry Turtledove (Penguin/Roc Books), and "Half a Crown", by Jo Walton (TOR Books). Twelve novels published in 2008 were nominated for the 2009 award.
The other finalists for the Hall of Fame award were "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 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).
Historically, the LFS followed conventional practice and attempted to keep our winners a surprise for attendees at the awards ceremony, while giving the press advance notice so they could publish announcements in their earliest issue after the event. Before the rise of the Internet this generally worked well; however news travels much faster these days. Last year, for the first time, the LFS changed our practice in order to give fans of the winners the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony and hear the authors' remarks, and this year we continue that new approach. Cory Doctorow and representatives of J. R. R. Tolkien's estate have been invited to attend the ceremony to accept their awards. Fans of Doctorow and "The Lord of the Rings" are welcome to join us in honoring these awards.
The Prometheus awards for Best Novel, Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) and (occasional) Special 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.
The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (lfs.org), 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 each of the winners.
The Hall of Fame, established in 1983, focuses on older classic fiction, including novels, novellas, short stories, poems and plays. Past Hall of Fame award winners range from Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand to Ray Bradbury and Ursula LeGuin.
Publishers who wish to submit novels published in 2009 for the 2010 Best Novel award should contact Michael Grossberg, Chair of the LFS Prometheus Awards Best Novel Finalist judging committee online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on paper at 3164 Plymouth Place, Columbus OH 43213.
Founded in 1982, the Libertarian Futurist Society sponsors the annual Prometheus Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame; publishes reviews, news and columns in the quarterly "Prometheus"; arranges annual awards ceremonies at the WorldCon; debates libertarian futurist issues (such as private space exploration); and provides fun and fellowship for libertarian SF fans.
A list of past winners of LFS awards can be found on the LFS web site at www.lfs.org.
For more information, contact LFS President Chris Hibbert (email@example.com).