27 Feb 2010

The Los Angeles Times interview Kim Stanley Robinson and offer many insights on his writing, his influences and his personal life in Davis, California. Excerpts:

It wasn't until he started reading Isaac Asimov, and later Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany and Gene Wolfe, that he discovered a genre to express what he'd witnessed. "When I started reading science fiction, I thought, 'This is me. This is about going from a human world to a machine world and becoming a cyborg,' " he has said. "I think of science fiction as the realism of California."

Over the years, Robinson has tilted away from the absolutism of the 1960s and tried to "reimagine what revolution" can be. In his novels, he posits a scientific, gradualist, nonviolent view of how progress can occur. [...] "The problem is that dealing with climate change is a Big Government issue, and ever since Reagan-Thatcher there's been this strong move to demonize government," he says. Climate-change rejecters and free-market ideologues "have done just what the Catholic Church did with Galileo. They've made the wrong choice and are going to have to crawl away from it, but the damage will have been done."

Robinson reckons that he knows about 200 of his roughly 1,000 neighbors, and has even served on the community's board of directors. He's fond of citing a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde: "Socialism will never succeed. It takes too many evenings."

I continue to gather reviews of Galileo's Dream here, be they professional like the magnificent piece by John Clute, or from casual readers -- now (with those from Amazon) numbering well over 60!

For more reading:

Stan's talk at Duke University last month sparked quite a discussion thanks to a post by biologist PZ Myers here.

Also, a review of The Lucky Strike by Cory Doctorow has sparked an interesting debate here.

Finally, the collection The Best Of Kim Stanley Robinson looks like it's headed to an Augut 15 2010 release.

12 Feb 2010

Acclaimed writer Ursula Kroeber LeGuin (read her!) has launched a petition calling US writers and publishers to join her in preventing Google from digitizing works without consent. Kim Stanley Robinson is one among 367 other writers who has joined her. The petition was submitted to a US judge for consideration on January 26, 2010, in view of a Fairness Hearing on February 18, 2010.

The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control.

Ursula K. LeGuin resigned from the (US) Authors Guild over this issue in December 2009 after the Guild settled legal dispute with Google Books in October 2008 (the "Google Book Search Settlement Agreement"). Copyright issues and Google Book digitization has been a matter of public debate all over the world throughout 2009.

Ireland, India, South Africa, and New Zealand (countries with active publication in English) protested the settlement and have been exempted from it. The governments of Germany and France protested unregulated digitization and have been exempted from the Settlement (and the French Government is suing Google for illegal digitization of copyrighted property.) We ask that the United States also be exempted from the settlement.

The news has been relayed by several media and the UKL petition continues to be discussed at Book View Cafe Blog.

(photo of Ursula K. LeGuin by Marian Wood Kolisch)

Also, two more KSR appearances in California have been listed, for February and March:

A reading with Kim Stanley Robinson and Terry Bisson
Pegasus Books Downtown, on Thursday Feb-25-2010, 7:30pm
2349 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, California 94704, USA

Appearance of Kim Stanley Robinson and many other interesting speakers
15th Annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair
Mar-13-2010, 5pm
SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way
San Francisco, California, USA

6 Feb 2010

Last week, as we announced previously, Kim Stanley Robinson was part of the "Science, Religion, and Ideology" event at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Event co-organizer Gerry Canavan has put Stan's speech on youtube (one hour's worth of material) and blogged extensively about it. Like all of Stan's interventions, this is stuff you have to watch!

"one of them said “Enough is a bad word. That’s a bad word in America. Enough sounds like not enough. You should change it to Goldilocks, where there’s too little, there’s too much, and then there’s just right. And what you want is just right. And you can easily have too much.” So I thought, okay, Goldilocks. I’ll change it always and mention that it’s not only that enough is as good as a feast, but enough is just right."

"we’ll be looking back at the 2010s and thinking “They had just discovered the laptop and lost their minds.” It’s like in the discovery of the telephone; for a while there there was the euphoria of the telephone, and everyone had to call everyone, and we’re in that kind of moment for the Internet—but eventually you get past these technologies and we’re just back to people doing things."

I invite you to head over to Gerry's post and read, and watch, and think.

A complete list of interviews with Kim Stanley Robinson can be found here.

UPDATE 08/02/10: Gerry Canavan has now posted more material (video and transcript) of the event preceding the "Science, Religion, and Ideology", again at Duke University.

1 Feb 2010

The contents of the upcoming "The Best Of Kim Stanley Robinson" have been released. It contains short stories and novellas from the entirety of Stan's career, from the 1980s throughout the 2000s. It is edited by Jonathan Strahan and is expected to be released mid-2010 in the USA by Night Shade Books, in hardcover.

The 300-page volume includes 23 stories: 5 from The Planet On The Table, the novella The Blind Geometer, one novella from Escape From Kathmandu, 10 from Remaking History, 3 from The Martians, and 3 previously uncollected stories (including one never before published):

  • Venice Drowned
  • Black Air
  • Ridge Running
  • The Lucky Strike
  • Our Town
  • The Blind Geometer (previously uncollected)
  • Mother Goddess Of The World
  • Glacier
  • Remaking History
  • The Lunatics
  • Before I Wake
  • The Translator
  • Zurich
  • A History Of The Twentieth Century, With Illustrations
  • A Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions
  • Muir On Shasta
  • Vinland The Dream
  • Arthur Sternbach Brings The Curveball To Mars
  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • Discovering Life
  • How Science Saved The World (previously uncollected)
  • Prometheus Unbound, At Last (previously uncollected)
  • The Timpanist Of The Berlin Philharmonic, 1942 (previously unpublished)
  • Afterword by Kim Stanley Robinson

Night Shade Books page

28 Jan 2010

Popular science fiction and science blog io9 has published an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, focusing mainly on Galileo's Dream.

Meanwhile, reviews for Galileo's Dream continue to pop up and I add them for your reading and commenting pleasure in the site.

Don't forget to check out the calendar on the left for readings and discussions involving Robinson (event tonight and tomorrow at North Carolina's Duke University)!


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