It's been a while, but I'm back with the usual list of links about everything KSR! On the program: MORE discussion of Ministry for the Future and some love for The High Sierra.
KSR wrote an essay on Noema: Paying Ourselves To Decarbonize
The people fighting to burn fossil fuels in this coming decade may be thinking they are doing their best to save their fellow citizens from ruin.
The petro-states will have to be compensated, or they will become desperate and turn into such a force of disruption that efforts to avoid a mass extinction event will fail.
We need to employ a kind of eco-realpolitik that refrains from too much righteous judgment, acknowledging that all nation-states are obliged to keep their citizens free from disruption, unemployment and starvation.
Some KSR quotes in this Grist article: The summer that reality caught up to climate fiction
KSR on Bloomberg CityLab Environment: Author Kim Stanley Robinson Has a Utopian Climate Solution: Cities
California’s housing crisis right now is terrible. Suburbia is the culprit, cities are the solution.
You need a space you can call your own. It needs to be functional. It doesn’t need to be a mini-mansion, as with the idea that a suburban house on a quarter-acre is like an English castle and you are a lord. It’s not just the carbon footprint. It’s the isolation of it into the nuclear family, the lack of collegiality and sociability.
See also Bloomberg Green Climate Politics: How a Utopian Sci-Fi Author Writes Toward a Low-Carbon Future and Bloomberg Zero: A Sci-Fi Writer’s Guide to a Low-Carbon Future (podcast)
KSR interview on Republik.ch: «Ich wollte schon immer erzählen, wie wir trotz Klimakrise eine bessere Welt erschaffen können» [in German; quote translated back into English, about Silicon Valley tech boys:]
We would all like a simple solution to complex problems. But the world is not easy. I have met several of these people. These Silicon Valley types often come from engineering backgrounds and are poorly educated in history, political theory and economics. Almost all men. That alone is suspicious. The combination of patriarchal masculinity, wealth and arrogance makes such people believe that they can solve all the world's problems themselves. But what's actually more interesting than these guys is their idea that everything is technology. But that is only true and correct if you also view culture or laws as technology. Language, for example, is nothing more than software. Ultimately, these are the really powerful technologies.
Some video interviews:
At a certain point, dystopia has run its course of what it can do usefully. So then you need the positive stories. I’ve been writing utopias since about 1987, so that’s adding up to a lot of years of just trying to do the positive because I think we need it more. And it’s harder, technically — it’s less dramatic. But it’s interesting because you get new stories that haven’t been told before.
UC San Diego TV: A Conversation with Author Kim Stanley Robinson
Green Change: Hope Meetup (Facebook video)
A discussion for the SciFri Book Club: The Ministry for the Future: A Global (and Fictional) Response to Climate Change (book club announcement - Q&A livestream - YouTube link) + an excerpt from Ministry (Chapter 3)
On to podcast interviews with KSR, of which there are many:
- A recording of a 7/Dec/2022 event at San Francisco's City Arts & Lectures: KSR in conversation with Eric Rodenbeck
- Everyday Anarchism on the Three Californias trilogy: The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast and on Pacific Edge
- Futureverse Part 1 (Unveiling Climate Denial and the Power of Community) and Part 2 (Surviving the 21st Century: Unraveling Utopia)
- CarbonSmart: on Ministry for the Future
- Book Club with Jeffrey Sachs : on Ministry for the Future
- Seldon Crisis: Future Visions
- A Skeptic's Path to Enlightenment: Kim Stanley Robinson and Robert Thurman: Climate, Politics, and the Dalai Lama
- Tales From The Bridge: A chat with Kim Stanley Robinson
- An Ordinary Disaster: Wayfinding with Kim Stanley Robinson
- Obvious Ideas: Kim Stanley Robinson On Our Climate Future
- Pitchfork Economics: Sci-Fi Economics (including transcript)
- The New Humanitarian: Rethinking Humanitarianism | What science fiction teaches us about imagining a better world
- Unknown Worlds of the Merril Collection: Climate Fiction
- Radio New Zealand: Imagining the future and finding hope
- Create Tomorrow: Scenarios of the Future
Some news about The High Sierra: A Love Story:
- Alta's recommendation list
- Review: Tina Winstead for the Daily Star
- The High Sierra won the Glenn Goldman Award: California Lifestyle, in the 2022 Golden Poppy Awards from the California Independent Booksellers Alliance
How about some academic works about the novels of KSR?
- 10,000 signs: Structures of Feeling, Technocratic Policy, and Violence: On the Nature of Historical Change in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future (an extensive essay -- part of that author's dissertation on ecological SF!)
- Mikes, A. and New, S. (2023). How to Create an Optopia? – Kim Stanley Robinson's “Ministry for the Future” and the Politics of Hope. Journal of Management Inquiry.
- Malm, A. (!) (2022/2023). The Future Is the Termination Shock: On the Antinomies and Psychopathologies of Geoengineering. Part One. Part Two. Historical Materialism.
There's still a lot of discussion going on about The Ministry for the Future:
The Only Sky Humanist Book Club did a series of articles discussing Ministry for the Future:
- How do we talk about impending doom so that people will listen?
- Is real carbon sequestration possible under capitalism?
- How do we make protests work for climate change reform?
- Do we have the technology to ease our melting ice sheets?
- Eco-friendly transportation? The good, the bad, and the pipe dreams
- The struggle for a more global response to climate change
- Can we ever truly combat climate change in a world at war?
- How to spare billionaires from terrorist attack
Some more Ministry reviews:
- Amy Brady for Orion Magazine (includes an excerpt)
- Tim Middleton for the William Temple Foundation
- John Towner for the Ilkley Quakers
- J.R. Burgmann for Climate Action Australia
- Ministry in recommendation lists: Los Angeles Times
- Ministry in the Science Friday Book Club
- Ministry in Grist's Looking Forward Book Club
Articles inspired by or mentioning Ministry:
- The Progressive Magazine: Triage and Transformation Strategies for the Climate Emergency
- Los Angeles Times: California is working on solutions to worsening climate change. Will they be enough?
- The Conversation: Telling stories of our climate futures is essential to thinking through the net-zero choices of today
- The Spinoff: The secret reading history of James Shaw
- New Scientist: The truth behind how to reduce your energy use and still live well
- The Progressive Magazine: The Climate Catastrophe Is Already Here
- OODA Loop: Macron’s Recent Paris Summit Remarks Read Like a Charter Statement for the Ministry of the Future
- University of Oxford Said Business School: Our Ministry for the Future – Reshaping capitalism to help solve the climate crisis
- Himal Southasian: Southasia’s place in contemporary climate fiction
- Noema: ‘Burn Carbon, Get Taxed. Sequester Carbon, Get Paid.’
- The Washington Post: A ‘climate solution’ that spies worry could trigger war
- OODA Loop: Saudi Arabia and the Future of Money
- Grist: From fiction to reality: Could airships be the key to greener travel?
- BBC Future: To avert climate disaster, what if one rogue nation dimmed the Sun?
And finally, some odds and ends:
- Meanwhile! Marooned! on Mars, the podcast, is on to tackling Galileo's Dream!
- Three Californias recommendation on the Los Angeles Times
- Tormod Johansen on psychogeology and an appreciation of KSR's works
- Red Moon review: Duncan Lunan for the Orkney News
- Don't Bank On It! KSR was a signatory in a letter to banks to stop fossil fuels expansion.
Be sure to check out the events calendar -- some European and US dates will appear!
Until next time --
(Top photo: by Carsten Snejbjerg, from Republik's article)