11 Apr 2010

KSR in Australia

Submitted by Kimon

Kim Stanley Robinson will be a guest of honor at the 68th World Science Fiction Society Convention in Melbourne, Australia: the Aussiecon Four. The event will be taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in just under five months, in September 2-6, 2010, so for those not living Down Under start planning early! Other guests of honor will be artist Shaun Tan and organization veteran Robin Johnson. At the Convention will also be awarded the 2010 Hugo Awards, one of the best known awards in the science fiction and fantasy field; Galileo's Dream is not among the nominees, however they are: Cherie Priest, China Miéville, Robert Charles Wilson, Catherynne M. Valente, Robert J. Sawyer and Paolo Bacigalupi. Voters are supporting and attending members of the Convention.

Right before Aussiecon will also be taking place a conference at the Monash University of Melbourne titled "Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe" -- a very topical title for Robinson readers -- and it is actually the Fourth Australian Conference on Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction. It will take place from August 30th to September 1st, 2010. Mr. Robinson will be one of the keynote speakers, along with writer and critic John Clute and utopian studies scholar Tom Moyan and many others. There is also a Call For Papers in case you'd like to weigh in.


In other news, the first multi-cellular organisms living in an oxygen-free environment have been discovered not in Mars, Europa or elsewhere but no further than in the Mediterranean Sea! (Nature article, BMC abstract) Life without oxygen: another environment previously considered too extreme for life has been proven otherwise!


1 Apr 2010

Kim Stanley Robinson's Galileo's Dream has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for 2010, was announced yesterday!

The Clarke Award is awarded yearly for the best science fiction novel since 1987. The winner was initially chosen by representatives from the British Science Fiction Association; now, the panel of judges is "made up of a voluntary body of distinguished writers, critics and fans". For 2010, the judges are: Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Chris Hill (BSFA),Rhiannon Lassiter and Francis Spufford (Science Fiction Foundation), and Paul Skevington (Science Fiction Crowsnest).

    The six nominees, established from an initial submissions list of 41 novels, are:

    Reactions and bets have started already! The winner will be announced on April 28, 2010.

    Robinson had been previously nominated for The Years Of Rice And Salt, in 2003.

    21 Mar 2010

    BookBanter interviews KSR

    Submitted by Kimon

    The BookBanter blog has now posted a new audio interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, available here!

    Says Alex C. Telander (who runs BookBanter):

    On January 23rd I was given the opportunity to interview Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning Mars trilogy, as well as other bestselling books such as The Year of Rice and Salt and Forty Signs of Rain, in person at the Avid Reader Bookstore, in the city of Davis where Robinson resides. The interview was conducted a little while before his reading and signing for his latest book, Galileo’s Dream, which is a science fiction novel, but is also a biography of Galileo’s life, as well as his problems in dealing with the Church. During the interview, Robinson talked a lot about how he came up with Galileo’s Dream, how much work and research the book took. He also talked about what got him into writing, what he thinks readers will get out of reading his books, and what he’s working on next.

    Thanks go to Sunny Baadkar and the Avid Reader in Davis for helping to organize and provide a very comfortable space to do the interview (and that’s classical music in the background from Capital Public Radio).

    And just because I felt like posting it, here is a video with Carl Sagan talking about the "Pale Blue Dot":

    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


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