7 Nov 2010

A very belated final news post on material that surfaced the internet after Kim Stanley Robinson's visit to Australia in late August-early September!

In the Melbourne Writers Festival, writer and editor Lucy Sussex interviewed Kim Stanley Robinson as part of Australian Brodcasting Corporation's Big Ideas series. Stan discusses his novels, his ideas, his politics, his child love of Francis Drake's exloprations that inspired the award-winning short story "Black Air", his love of the Sierras that inspired the Mars novels, his love of Virginia Woolf and Olaf Stapledon, Galileo's character and time-travelling as a storytelling device that can stand in for psychology and memory, and much more. This excellent interview is available in video (mp4 & wmv) and audio, and is embedded below.

And some last Aussiecon 4 articles:

AusLit, as part of their series of articles on the Worldcon, also did a review article with all the technical issues discussed on the panel The Race To The Red Planet, with Kim Stanley Robinson, David D. Levine and Jim Benford. A video featuring part of the panel (atomic-powered rockets to Mars and space elevators) surfaced on YouTube; audio quality is very bad, but you can see it here (originated from this blog).

Blogger and SF writer Graham Clements posted reviews on all the Climate Change panels of the convention -- Stan of course participated in nearly all of them. Blog posts part 1 and part 2 (which includes an account of Gregory Benford's panel with some very interesting technical details on geoengineering). Excerpts:

He disagreed with the concept of sustainable development, which he thought was humanity saying: let’s just continue to live like we have, but get away with it.
He has a garden and solar panels.
He wishes they had a preferential voting system in the
US so environmental parties would get a look in at the elections.

He mentioned that one-third of humanity's food comes from the oceans, but greenhouse gases are raising its PH level which might kill the bottom of the food chain.

He believes it is still possible to get to a carbon neutral state, but it would take some severe action. Nuclear power has to be used as a bridging technology. Genetic engineering might also be part of the solution, for example, rice that can survive two month floods instead of the previous two week floods. He's against notions of purity, i.e., that the solution has to be pure and contain no nuclear power, no genetic engineering.

Keep checking the Calendar on the left -- next event with KSR is a NASA-sponsored talk on November 9th (in two days!) in Irvine, California, on human space flight and the public.

(Photo from ABC.)

25 Oct 2010

On October 21, 2010, Ursula K. Le Guin's 81st birthday, was published 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin by Aqueduct Press. Assembled for her 80th birthday from an idea of Kim Stanley Robinson, the book contains contributions by a great many people, including a piece written by Robinson.

A private gift to Ursula K. Le Guin becomes a gift to all readers, an exciting chance to enjoy someone else's birthday present. In 2009, for the momentous occasion of Ursula K. Le Guin's 80th birthday, Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin put together a volume of tributes and appreciations, as a birthday present. The project, known in academic circles as a ''festschrift,'' or ''celebration book,'' resulted in a single copy, handbound in green leather, which Karen presented to Ursula a few days after her birthday in October. The original idea came from Kim Stanley Robinson, who also contributed an essay to the book. With Ms. Le Guin's kind agreement, Aqueduct Press is delighted to share this unique celebration with Le Guin's readers and fans. The book contains poetry, personal essays, academic essays, biographical information about Le Guin, as well as fiction, including previously unpublished fiction by Andrea Hairston and John Kessel. Publication will coincide with Le Guin's 81st birthday. Contributors include Eleanor Arnason, Brian Attebery, Richard Chwedyk, Karen Joy Fowler, Molly Gloss, Eileen Gunn, Andrea Hairston, Jed Hartman, Gwyneth Jones, John Kessel, Ellen Kushner, Nancy Kress, Sarah LeFanu, Vonda N. McIntyre, Pat Murphy, Julie Phillips, Paul Preuss, Kim Stanley Robinson, Nisi Shawl, Lisa Tuttle, Elisabeth Vonarburg, and Jo Walton, among others.

Stan is a long-time friend of Le Guin and an admirer of her work; she has been cited as an influence on him -- in particular in the utopian approach of his work.

Happy birthday Ursula!

25 Oct 2010

Outspoken Authors panel

Submitted by Kimon

On October 13, 2010, Kim Stanley Robinson, Terry Bisson and Gary Philips, three writers in PM Press's Outspoken Authors series (Robinson's The Lucky Strike), met up in a panel in CounterPULSE in San Francisco, and had a chat on politics in fiction:

It’s only a story; or is it? Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Noir conspire as three of PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series discuss the problems, pitfalls and possibilities of writing fiction from a revolutionary perspective. Kim Stanley Robinson is the Hugo-winning author of Red Mars and Galileo’s Dream. Terry Bisson is an award winning short story writer and the biographer of Mumia Abu Jamal and Nat Turner. And LA’s own Gary Phillips “combines politics and storytelling as well as any writer of crime fiction” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine). Co-Presented by PM Press.

KSR spoke on H G Wells, cyberpunk, science and utopia, Calvin and Hobbes and other topics. Terry Bisson moderated the panel, and the entire panel was uploaded on YouTube:


2 Oct 2010

KSR Down Under, Part IV

Submitted by Kimon

Continuing the series of articles on Kim Stanley Robinson's series of talks and panels in Australia last month, as more material surfaces in the new Big Brother entity that records everything called the Internet...

Rjurik Davidson, who interviewed Robinson a few years ago, wrote a new article for the Australian cultural magazine Overland, on Robinson's panel for the Melbourne Writers Festival on August 29th:

Robinson was a critic of cyberpunk. ‘I didn’t like It,’ he explained, because it was the literary equivalent of the neoliberal dogma that ‘There is No Alternative’. Cyberpunk sought to celebrate and revel in a free market future. For Robinson, optimism is not optional. We need an ‘optimism of the will’ he explains (paraphrasing Gramsci), because ‘to be pessimistic now is to let down our children and generations to come.’

In his latest novel, Galileo’s Dream, Robinson examines the relationship between science and capitalism and, as he explained, relied on Raymond Williams’ concept of a ‘structure of feeling’ to capturing a sense of sixteenth-century consciousness. In this novel, Robinson examines the nature of science as a project to liberate humanity. For him, the traditional left critique of science is a ‘category error.’

Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci's quote is: "I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will."

Monash University, which organized the conference on "Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe", August 30th to September 1st, has now posted online podcasts of its panels:

PhD student Zachary Kendal has written passionate reports on the three days of the conference:

  • Day one: Clute & Robinson colloquially discuss Gene Wolfe
  • Day two: Stan's panels
  • Day three: More panels and more Wolfe fannishness

A final Oz-related report should follow on KSRi, stay tuned...

30 Sep 2010

R.I.P. Ralph Vicinanza

Submitted by Kimon

Raplh Vicinanza, literary agent based at New York with nearly four decades of work in his field, died suddenly at his home last Saturday the 25th of September of a brain aneurysm, at age 60. He has been the agent and a close friend of Kim Stanley Robinson for over two decades and played a significant role in launching his career -- Stan has praised him repeatedly. He represented other big names in science fiction and fantasy and worked in making US authors known overseas in particular.

Quoting Locus:

Born August 8, 1950 and raised in the Bronx, Vincinanza graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and later studied at Fordham University, graduating from City College of New York. He started out in publishing at the Scott Meredith Agency, working with authors including Norman Mailer, Carl Sagan, and Philip K. Dick, and quickly became known as “Mr. Foreign Rights” for his work in creating a global marketplace for American books. He opened the Ralph M. Vicinanza Ltd. agency in 1987, and was soon working with an ever-expanding roster of names: Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg, Connie Willis, Robin Hobb, to name a few. The agency grew in the 1990s, as longtime foreign rights associate Christopher Lotts began handling his own clients and Christopher Schelling joined as full agent.

Vicinanza was a much-loved and respected friend and colleague. He is survived by his mother Louise Manganiello, sister Louise Billie, partner Terrance Rooney, and many nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles. A memorial service is planned for Friday, October 1.

Associated Press obituary.

Our sympathy and condolences go with his family, friends and coworkers.

(photo from Locus, Worldcon 2000)


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