Matthew Alexander

Emphyrio by Jack Vance

Emphyrio by Jack Vance

For the month of September we are reading and discussing Emphyrio by Jack Vance:

“The plot revolves around a young man, Ghyl Tarvoke, who hails from from the city of Ambroy located on the planet Halma. Halma’s ruled by unseen, mysterious Lords who run the planet as a giant welfare state. Workers are paid a stipend for their labor and all forms of mass production or duplication (including printing) are strictly, and I mean strictly, prohibited.” When Ghyl’s father, a wood-carver, is executed for processing old documents with a camera, Ghyl rebels and decides to bring down the system.

A recent edition of the book can be purchased for Kindle at Amazon.com. Your purchase via our affiliate links will help support our work here at Prometheus Unbound. If you prefer, Barnes & Noble has the book as an epub. There don’t appear to be any dead-tree editions in print, but new and used copies of old editions can be found.

Join us as we read and discuss Emphyrio. I’ve already started a thread on Vance’s idiosyncratic prose style.

You need not have voted on this month’s selection to join in the discussion, but you do need to be registered and logged in on this site to access the book club’s dedicated forums.

August Recap

Everyone enjoyed Matthew Alexander’s libertarian science fiction novel Wĭthûr Wē, both for its writing quality and for its uncompromising Austro-Libertarian content. The general consensus seems to be that Matthew did a very good job at the difficult task of incorporating the philosophical, political, and economic elements into the plot without coming across as too preachy. The novel rivals some epic fantasies in length, however, so it does take some courage to begin reading and perseverance to get through.

A couple of forum participants compared Wĭthûr Wē favorably to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. One observed that Matthew presented the other side’s arguments more fairly. Another liked that, unlike Rand, Matthew illustrated how our ideals could be realized and that the main protagonist in Wĭthûr Wē is a more fully realized human being than Rand’s concretized ideals, such as John Galt.

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Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

This month we’ve been reading and discussing Matthew Alexander’s libertarian science fiction novel Wĭthûr Wē in our book club. Over the weekend, on Sunday, we held our first Lightmonthly Read Author Chat with Matthew. The turnout wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for, but it was our first event — a successful proof of concept that we will build on. Matthew read a couple of early chapters from the new novel he’s working on, The Preferred Observer, and then we had a nice, long conversation with Mike DiBaggio and Michel Santos. Thanks, guys, for joining us.

If you missed the Google+ Hangout for whatever reason, you can watch the YouTube recording below:
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Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

The next installment takes us into a new phase of the book, about a year forward in time. The project is coming together, with The Island being developed at a break-neck pace. Trouble looms, however, as the project’s enemies have not given up.

The first chapter gets us up to speed on the various aspects of the project. More investors have been found, the right island chosen, and many of the financiers have their own sub-projects under way. The chapter ends with an ominous conversation from a group we have seen before.

Right before we are privy to this meeting, there is a nice passage when Petur takes a moment to relax, stares into the night sky and ponders the heavens. It is a nice moment of thoughtfulness, and a view into an aspect of the character, between episodes in the plot. I quite liked it.

The next chapter gives us a tour of the island. It is shaping up to be a marvelous setting, perfect for a science fiction/epic adventure story. And the end shows us one of the the machinations of the enemy.

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Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

For the month of August we are reading and discussing Wĭthûr Wē, a science fiction novel influenced by anarcho-capitalism and Austrian School economics, written by our own Matthew Alexander.

Centuries hence, Man, seemingly alone in the universe, slowly spreads his civilizations across his corner of the galaxy. Tyrants vie for power, and in their fierce grip the colonies of the Milky Way are suffocating. In this society of many billions, a young marine, a highly trained war hero, returns home from his tour of duty. Physically powerful yet shy, awkward and unable to sway the masses with pretty speeches, Alistair Ashley 3nn makes a decision to strike at the hierarchy the only way he can. His decision starts him on a grand adventure, and as he is carried along by forces beyond his control, he comes to confront an ancient secret, one which may reveal humanity’s future.

You can get a free PDF copy at the author’s website. The book can be purchased for Kindle or in trade paperback at Amazon.com. Your purchase via our affiliate links will help support both Matthew’s writing and our work here at Prometheus Unbound.

Join us as we read and discuss Wĭthûr Wē.

You need not have voted on this month’s selection to join in the discussion, but you do need to be registered and logged in on this site to access the book club’s dedicated forums.

Book Giveaway / Newsletter Signup Results

Last month we gave away free Kindle (mobi) copies of Wĭthûr Wē in exchange for signing up for our email newsletter. We think the campaign was a big success. We attracted more than 80 new subscribers, more than quintupling our mailing list, and gave away at least that many copies of Matthew’s novel.

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Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

I’m pleased to announce that we’re launching our first book giveaway on Prometheus Unbound. Our very own Matthew Alexander has been generous enough to agree to give away free copies of his libertarian science fiction novel Wĭthûr Wē.

We’ll be giving away ebook copies in Kindle (mobi) format during the entire month of July 2012.

One lucky winner will also receive a signed paperback copy of Wĭthûr Wē.

For more information, click on the link below:

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Please help us promote this book giveaway. Share the book giveaway page (linked above) far and wide.

And congratulations to Matthew whose Wĭthûr Wē recently won the 2012 Libertarian Fiction Book of the Year presented by the Libertarian, Agorist, Voluntaryist & Anarch Authors & Publishers Association (LAVA).

One judge described Wĭthûr Wē as “[a] beautifully written explanation of anarcho-capitalism, without being overly didactic or so steeped in philosophy that the plot suffers.”

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Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

Over at Ars Gratia Libertatis (Art for the Sake of Liberty), ADUCKNAMEDJOE has a list of what he considers to be the five best free libertarian novels. The first novel of our very own Matthew Alexander made the list.

  1. Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman
  2. Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Alexander (Help out the author and Prometheus Unbound by buying a copy.)
  3. Time Will Run Back by Henry Hazlitt (Help out the Mises Institute by buying a physical or digital copy.)
  4. And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russel
  5. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men by Paul A. Rosenberg

ADUCKNAMEDJOE also throws in as a bonus a free libertarian short story, “Lippidleggin’ by F. Paul Wilson, about circumventing food prohibition laws. Head on over to Ars Gratia Libertatis to read his descriptions of these stories.

What do you think of the items on the list? Is anything missing?

~*~

Also via Ars Gratia Libertatis, a couple of videos on the importance of art and culture for liberty:

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Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Alexander

[Warning: Contains some spoilers, mainly in the 6th and 7th paragraphs.]

Every so often a book comes along that truly makes you appreciate writing as a subject; one that truly captures the imagery that we see and feel in our lives when we so often lack the time for reflection.

Wĭthûr Wē is such a book. Yet, such a recommendation doesn’t quite do it justice because its beautiful imagery is only a backdrop for a rich libertarian narrative and struggle of ideas.

Wĭthûr Wē is set several centuries in the future.  We never learn the exact year but late in the book we discover that it must be the 28th century.  Humans have colonized a small portion of the galaxy — perhaps a thousand light years across — but have yet to discover any alien civilizations.  Only the three million year old Ruins on the planet Kaldis provide any proof that non-human intelligence exists, or at least existed once, in the universe.

Alistair Ashley 3nn, the main character of the tale and mouthpiece of Rothbardian philosophy, has just returned from his tour of duty on Kaldis, a human colony at war over their form of government.  His experiences have obviously marked him, because those who knew him before he left remark on how different he now is, both physically and emotionally.  Alistair has prepared well for his return to Aldra, his home planet, and its tightly regulated — and therefore wÄ­thà»ring — economy.  Through a clever, and very sci-fi, technique, he smuggles instructions for making black market medicine and sells them to black market merchants.  He demands gold, not the easily inflatable Aldran Credit which is nothing more than a bit of electronic information stored on a magnetic strip.

Alistair, who has disavowed the 3nn which the government tacked onto his name, was taught the principles of libertarianism by his grandfather who died while he was “off” on Kaldis.  He returns angry at the atrocities he has seen and his anger only grows when he sees how much further towards serfdom his home planet has travelled in the four cycles (years) since he has been off.  When his father’s home is stolen by the government in an Aldran version of eminent domain, he uses the money from his medicine sale to begin his own private rebellion.  He begins by burgling the house of the politician who stole his father’s home, bitterly noting as he leaves that most people would consider Alistair the thief, and not the politician.

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