Free Space



Free space can refer to many things. A rent-free park. Elbow room. A sign on a kid's room saying PARENTS KEEP OUT. In this book, it refers to the life mankind will make for itself in outer space. Free space raises the question: free to do what, and with what? A free human being must have some kind of property as a condition for making and keeping contracts. In libertarian circles, the debate always comes around to the land question. Political radicals of every variety have wrestled with this problem as far back as anyone cares to go. Free space is a science fiction answer to the historical problem. Is it possible to own the scenery? Well, no one should object if the land you occupy was created by you! With access to energy and resources on a scale that inspires exaggeration, the frontier of the future is something very different from frontiers past. There are no native peoples in the asteroid belt. No aborigines on Mars. No troublesome animal species grazing on the moon. This time, there's nothing to get in the way. The solar system is easy pickings. Free space is a state of mind, and a metaphor, and lots more. Humans who live in space will have a different perspective from what Heinlein called the groundhogs. The Firesign Theater used to say the opposite of gravity was comedy. Let's take the joke seriously. I think that people who don't live at the bottom of gravity wells may be healthier and happier and smarter. Dare we commit the unpardonable thought crime of imagining they might be better than we are? This book suggests that the kind of person who prefers living under tyranny is more at home at the bottom of a gravity well. But if people with this kind of mentality ever manage to function in space, we have a ready made term for them: the Federation.


libertarian SF anthology with several Prometheus Award winners.


  • 1998. Free Space Prometheus, Special Award Winners (Win)



    Page rendered in 0.0131 seconds