The Top 6 Libertarian Science Fiction Novels of the Year

this one should win, probablyStep right up and get yer dose of new libertarian
science fiction right here, folks. The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced
this year’s Prometheus Award finalists. They include some old
standbys—Vernon Vinge, Ken MacLeod, and Terry Pratchett—and some
new names publishing in new venues—Thomas L. James and Carl C.

The Children of the Sky
(TOR Books) – A sequel to Vernor
Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep and in the same universe as
Prometheus-winning A Deepness in the Sky, this novel
focuses on advanced humans, stranded and struggling to survive on a
low-tech planet populated by Tines, dog-like creatures who are only
intelligent when organized in packs. The most libertarian of the
three human factions and their local allies must cope with the
world’s authoritarian factions to advance peaceful trade over war
and coercion.

The Freedom Maze
(Small Beer Press) – Delia Sherman’s
young-adult fantasy novel focuses on an adolescent girl of 1960 who
is magically sent back in time to 1860 when her family owned slaves
on a Louisiana plantation. With her summer tan, she’s mistaken for
a slave herself, and she learns the hard way what life was like.
 In the process, she comes to appreciate the values of honor,
respect, courage, and personal responsibility.

In the Shadow of Ares
(Amazon Kindle edition)- This
young-adult first novel by Thomas L. James and Carl C. Carlsson
focuses on a Mars-born female teenager in a near-future, small
civilization on Mars, where hardworking citizens are
constantly and unjustly constrained by a growing, centralized
authority whose excessive power has led to corruption and

Ready Player One
(Random House) – Ernest Cline’s
genre-busting blend of science fiction, romance, suspense, and
adventure describes a virtual world that has managed to evolve an
order without a state and where entrepreneurial gamers must solve
virtual puzzles and battle real-life enemies to save their virtual
world from domination and corruption. The novel also stresses the
importance of allowing open access to the Internet for

The Restoration Game
(Pyr Books) – Set in a world whose
true nature is a deeper mystery, this philosophical and political
thriller by Ken MacLeod (winner of Prometheus awards for
Learning the World, The Star Fraction,
and The Stone Canal) explores the dark legacy of
communism and the primacy of information in shaping what is
“reality” amid Eastern European intrigue, online gaming, romance
and mystery.

(Harper Collins) – A Discworld novel by Terry
Pratchett (winner of a Prometheus Award for *Night Watch*, also set
in Discworld),  *Snuff* blends comedy, drama, satire, suspense
and mystery as a police chief investigates the murder of a goblin
and finds himself battling discrimination. The mystery broadens
into a powerful drama to extend the world’s recognition of rights
to include these long-oppressed and disdained people with a
sophisticated culture of their own.

For more on the wide world of libertarian SF, check out my 2008
story hooked to that year’s award, “Tor’s
Worlds Without Death or Taxes

Jesse Walker
wrote about Ken Macleod in 2000
. Peter Suderman
briefly reviewed
Children of the Sky in the April issue

And check out
Reason TV’s chat with Vernon Vinge