17 Oct 2019

Unearthed! The Lost Mars Interview

Submitted by Kimon

(Pictured: a plan of Village Homes, Davis, California)

Sometimes there are surprises that come to you all the way from 1994! John J. Vester, long-time KSR reader and an acquaintance of his, contacted the website with an interview done in 1994 that never did find a home. At that time, Stan was fresh off of the publication of Green Mars and deep in writing Blue Mars, so we get a rare glimpse into his mindset at that time -- "a sort of time capsule of the time he was working on the trilogy" -- but also a retrospective on his early career, personal life events and interests that shaped him as an artist, and insights on novels such as The Gold Coast or The Memory of Whiteness. A lengthy and excellent piece altogether.

John was kind enough to provide a new introduction to his interview for its new home here at the KSR.info archival website. So, no less than 25 years later, here is this "lost interview": "The Mars/California Connection: Kim Stanley Robinson Off the Edge of the Map"!

An excerpt that could very well be from today:

Social thinker Robinson sees scientists as important to the work of improving our global situation. Science is very powerful in our society, he notes, elevated in some ways to god-like power—making the scientist god-like. What advice does he have for real scientists? "I think they ought to become much more politicized and try to seize control of their own work. Most scientists today are not in fact choosing their own goals, but goals are being chosen for them. And yet they are uniquely powerful. They could say 'That will go,' or 'That won't go,' or they could say, 'That might go but it's not worth doing,' or they could even say, 'That might go but it's completely trivial, and what is important to do is this and we're going to do this, and what are you going to do to me?' I think scientists could become a political activist force for good. I think they should all become utopians. That's what I would tell them: become utopians!"

Of course, reader and visitor, should you be in a similar situation and are trying to find a home for anything related to KSR, this website could be of help.

 

Meanwhile, the Marooned! on Mars podcast with Matt & Hilary soldiers on after having wrapped up its in-depth coverage of the Mars trilogy, and looks into the apocrypha of The Martians!

 

In other news:

  • Surely you have heard of the Green New Deal by now, a concept making waves in both USA and Europe? The Intercept brought together US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and writer/activist Naomi Klein to make this inspiring video blending historical fact, KSR-like fiction and visual art: "A Message From the Future". And, appropiately, in its promotion a quote from KSR is used! "The future isn’t cast into one inevitable course. On the contrary, we could cause the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth’s history, or we could create a prosperous civilization, sustainable over the long haul. Either is possible starting from now."
  • 50 years of Apollo 11! The short story The Lunatics was included in the Lunar SF short story collection "The Eagle Has Landed", by Night Shade Books.
  • Folio Society has published a beautiful illustrated deluxe edition of Philip K. Dick's UBIK, with an introduction by KSR.

 

Looking for something to read? Looking at blurbs, KSR recommends:

  • "Walkaway: A Novel" by Cory Doctorow. KSR said: "Cory Doctorow is one of our most important science fiction writers, because he’s also a public intellectual in the old style: he brings the news and explains it, making clearer the confusions of our wild current moment. His fiction is always the heart of his work, and this is his best book yet, describing vividly the revolutionary beginnings of a new way of being. In a world full of easy dystopias, he writes the hard utopia, and what do you know, his utopia is both more thought-provoking and more fun." (incidentally, I highly recommend it too!)
  • "The Girls With Kaleidoscope Eyes: Analog Stories for a Digital Age" by Howard V. Hendrix (cached). KSR said: "Howard Hendrix here demonstrates his imagination, versatility, and heart, in story after story. He has a gift for combining the latest news from the sciences with permanent truths of human nature to make fictions that are quirky and memorable. Highly recommended."
  • "Codename Prague" by D. Harlan Wilson. KSR said: "This novel is from the wild edge of science fiction, in the tradition of Philip K. Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch—fast, smart, funny, and full of a scarily plausible vision of just how weird things could get if we take our biological fate into our own hands."
  • "What’s the Worst That Could Happen? A rational response to the climate change debate" by Greg Craven. KSR said: "This is a tremendous book and well worth anyone’s time to read. It very clearly and concisely covers all the important points not only about the climate change situation in our moment, but how we think and decide about important issues. Anyone who enjoyed Craven’s YouTube triumph “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See” will enjoy unpacking that experience in this book, and for people running into Craven for the first time, you’re in for a treat-he is funny as well as well as exceptionally clear, and wise."

 

Some reviews, new or freshly discovered:

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