Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 Prometheus Award Nominees

Location: MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City, Missouri.

Comments: Every so often, I wonder about the nature of the Prometheus Awards. Originally founded by L. Neil Smith to honor libertarian fiction by providing "encouragement to science fiction writers whose books examine the meaning of freedom", they seem to be so broadly defined that one is left wondering exactly what books would not be viable candidates for the Prometheus Award by reason of their subject matter. Dystopian fiction shows the consequences of a lack of freedom. Libertarian fiction shows the alleged utopia that would result from lots of freedom. Utopian fiction shows how people would behave if they were free from want. Ellison's stories show how men might fight the system. Heinlein's stories show how being armed is the way to ensure freedom. Tolkien's fiction shows how freedom comes from accepting divine grace. And so on and so forth. Almost any science fiction story can be couched in such a way that it is about "examining the meaning of freedom".

So the question one has to ask is what, exactly, does the Prometheus Award represent other than the reading tastes of the Libertarian Futurist Society? It is perfectly fine to have an award that does nothing more than represent the preferences of a particular groups: The Nebula Awards represent the preferences of the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the Hugo Awards represent the preferences of the members of the World Science Fiction Society. But the Prometheus Award seems like it is, theoretically, supposed to be more specific than simply a "best science fiction of the year in the opinion of this group of people" kind of award. But the Prometheus Award is defined so broadly, and seems to have been interpreted even more broadly, and as a result, it doesn't really seem to be much more than that.

Best Novel


Other Nominees:
Apex by Ramez Naam
A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
The Just City by Jo Walton

Hall of Fame

Courtship Rite by Donald M. Kingsbury

Other Nominees:
"As Easy as A.B.C." by Rudyard Kipling
The Island Worlds by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts
Manna by Lee Correy
A Mirror for Observers by Edgar Pangborn

Special Award

Alex + Ada (Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3)

Other Nominees:

Go to previous year's nominees: 2015
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2017

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