20 Oct 2023

Catching up with Robinson

Submitted by Kimon

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:

A discussion for Grist's Looking Forward Book Club‘At least zombies aren’t eating my face’ (vimeo)

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.


Into the Impossible With Brian Keating: on The High Sierra: A Love Story (YouTube) -- also as a podcast

UC San Diego TV: A Conversation with Author Kim Stanley Robinson

About the Authors TV S04:E18 - Kim Stanley Robinson (also on Locus Mag and YouTube twice)

Green Change: Hope Meetup (Facebook video)

Planet: Critical: How Things Could Go Right (YouTube) -- also available as a podcast

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 livestreamYouTube link) + an excerpt from Ministry (Chapter 3)

A classy video made for KSR's visit in Denmark for Bloom 2022Science Fiction is the Realism of Our Time (YouTube/vimeo)


On to podcast interviews with KSR, of which there are many:


Some news about The High Sierra: A Love Story:


How about some academic works about the novels of KSR?


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:

Some more Ministry reviews:

Articles inspired by or mentioning Ministry:


And finally, some odds and ends:

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)