The Libertarian Futurist Society gives an annual award to the year's best pro-freedom novel. This year's Prometheus finalists for Best Novel are:
- Matter, by Iain Banks (Orbit Books)—Part of Banks' series of far-future space operas about the Culture, a utopia which reflects Banks' interest in anarchism through its avoidance of the use of force except when necessary for protection and defense. The novel focuses on an agent in Special Circumstances, the Culture's special forces unit, who returns to her home planet, a "shellworld" with multiple layers of habitation, after her father has been killed in a coup.
- Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow (TOR Books)—A cautionary tale about a high-school student and his friends who are rounded up in the hysteria following a terrorist attack, the novel focuses on how people find the courage to respond to oppression.
- The January Dancer, by Michael Flynn (TOR Books)—The classic space opera, set in an interstellar civilization created by a wide-ranging human diaspora, revolves around how discovery of a an alien relic sends agents of a multisystem federation on a quest that exposes them to political and economic institutions of many different cultures and requires them to deal with threats to freedom, from piracy to political corruption.
- Saturn's Children, by Charles Stross (Ace Books)—A robot's adventures after all the humans in a society have died raises complex issues of ethics, duty, family and struggle in this Heinlenesque novel.
- Opening Atlantis, by Harry Turtledove (Penguin/Roc Books)—Set in a world where medieval Europeans discover an island continent in the Atlantic Ocean, this first novel in a new atternate-history series explores the politics of colonization and the struggle for self-determination while offering parallels and contrasts with development of the Americas.
- Half a Crown, by Jo Walton (TOR Books) -The sequel to Walton's Prometheus Award-winning Ha'penny concludes her alternative-history trilogy, set two decades after Britain reached accommodation with Hitler's Germany in the 1940s, with a chilling portrait of people all too willing to trade freedom for security.
We at Reason are especially excited about Cory Doctorow's nomination, since we've been keeping tabs on his young adult novel, Little Brother, for a while now. Ron Bailey reviewed it here. Doctorow listed three political books for young adults in our pages here.
And I interviewed Doctorow for an article on the love affair between libertarians and science fiction here. In fact, four of the six nominees above make appearances in my article. The fifth is Michael Flynn, who just happens to share a name with the Reason Foundation director of government affairs. Mike, is there something you're not telling us?