14 Sep 2009

Art corner: Ludovic Celle

Submitted by Kimon


KSR's novels are very inspiring for both the intellectual and the adventurer. The Mars novels certainly give a lot of weight to majestic landscapes, virgin vistas and never-before-seen world-building. Who has read the novels and hasn't spent time wondering what would Ann watching a copper-violet sunset over the Tharsis Buldge would look like? One who has is French KSR fan Ludovic Celle, who has dedicated an entire blog to Mars visuals which I urge you to visit (don't be intimidated by the French, the focus here is the visuals): the aptly named Da Vinci Mars Design.

More after the jump.


Apart from collecting imagery from every film and documentary on Mars in existence, Ludovic shows a simple and efficient way to produce Mars imagery: by photoshopping (well, GIMPifying) images taken from elsewhere. A red filter over an image from James Cameron's The Abyss takes you to Red Mars (see above).

A silver line over a red sky gives you the space elevator:


There are many artists who have taken a pencil and drawn what Man on Mars would look like. Apart from Don Dixon (the Mars trilogy US cover artist), there's John Harris, Peter Elson, Manchu, Carlos NCT and many others... Like T.E. Williams and his Ares model, Ludovic has gone from drawing to 3D model. Here's a rover:


Here's an imressive view of Hiroko's bamboo city of Zygote:


And finally, some pen-drawn sketches or storyboards for some Mars trilogy scenes:


No more of the blood-red sky of Ghosts of Mars. No more tents freely dangling in the toxic martian wind of Mission to Mars. Until we see the real thing. Any visual adaptation of KSR's Mars novels would need to be very careful with photography and design in order to keep with the realism of his vision.

2 Sep 2009

Den of Geek has a new interview with K S Robinson, over here. Stan discusses Galileo's Dream and gives some thoughts on his writing and what's going on with the announced Red Mars TV series. Highlight:

Is your work an expression of your credo or a place where you try to define your beliefs? In the Mars Trilogy, I sensed (in the characters of Ann and Michel particularly) that some of the characters were trying to resolve questions that remain issues for you personally.

I think this is true for me, and I would hope it is true for all novelists. In the Mars trilogy I felt the appeal of both the Green and Red positions, and this was a big help in the writing of the novel, as I see-sawed back and forth from one position to the other, following the characters' beliefs; I could believe them all while I wrote them, which gave them a certain conviction.

Then the eventual Blue Mars synthesis was a kind of reconciliation in my own feelings as well as the projected situation.

Glad you also mentioned Michel, whose homesickness and nostalgia is I think a pretty common condition, especially among those of us who for various reasons cannot ever get back home. In my case, Orange County California has been destroyed by an overlay of car-centered development that means the place I knew is no longer there. This is not an uncommon experience, especially since as years pass you can't get back no matter what has happened to the home place itself.

The people at Den of Geek are very keen to see a Red Mars TV mini-series and have written some articles on that in the recent past. But more on that from KSR.info shortly!

1 Sep 2009

The Marsdreamers

Submitted by Kimon

The Marsdreamers is a new documentary on the efforts and dreams various people on Earth make about humanity's future journey to the planet Mars, by veteran film-maker Richard Dindo (pictured right). And Kim Stanley Robinson, whose image is now indissociable with Mars, makes an appearance.



More after the jump.



A Swiss, Dindo has been operating from Switzerland and France and making documentaries since the 1970s, with titles such as Wer war Kafka? on the Austro-Hungarian writer, Ernesto Che Guevara, le journal de Bolivie on the popular revolutionary, Arthur Rimbaud, une biographie on the French poet, or on more local subjects such as Grüningers Fall on a Swiss policeman who helped Jews during World War Two or L'Exécution d'Ernst S., traître à la patrie on Switzerland's relation with the Nazis during World War Two.

The Marsdreamers (poster on the right) was mainly shot in the USA, showing scientists, engineers and architects presenting their view on Mars colonization, but it also focuses on common people with big dreams, people for whom that faraway place holds a special place in their lives, the whole presented not without a bit of humor and irony. The likes of science fiction writers Gentry Lee (Rama II with Arthur C. Clarke, also a NASA engineer), Gregory Benford (Timescape, also astronomy professor) and, well, Stan.

The 83-minute documentary was presented recently at the 62nd film festival at Locarno, Switzerland (August 5-15). The French or German speakers among you can read the following reviews:
- les francophones ici
- die deutschen Sprecher hier

The documentary should now make its way to a limited release, or potentially a television broadcast before a video release. The film's press release can be read here.

22 Aug 2009

The first (professional) reviews of the recently released Galileo's Dream have started to appear: Adam Roberts for The Guardian (with much more spoiler-loaded material here) and Roz Kaveney for The Independent.

Kim Stanley Robinson will be present at the London store of the genre chain Forbidden Planet, on September 17th, for a signing . If, like me, you are unable to attend, it is possible to order a signed copy online.

Details can be found here.

Forbidden Planet - London Megastore
179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR, UK
Thursday September 17, 2009, 18:00-19:00

The UK being the first to release Galileo, it is possible that KSR will be involved in other promotional events in his journey to the Old Continent. Stay tuned for more.

Also, what appears to be the cover for the US edition of Galileo's Dream has made its appearance on the internets, see right. Galileo, his telescopes, and a picture of Jupiter in a frame with a Renaissance décor, quite sober. The release det is December 29, 2009. No news on the paperback release yet, UK or US, but it's fair to assume it will not be before 2010.


10 Aug 2009

KSR in Second Life

Submitted by Kimon

Galileo's Dream has now been released in the UK and Australia and potentially all territories that have postal service (I guess that would exclude Antarctica this time of the year). You can even read through the first sixty pages (!) over here. First thoughts?


In a blast from the recent past, back in January KSR had been invited in Extropia, a technocratic minded community in the virtual world Second Life, to have a chat.


More after the jump.


The event was organized by Events in Extropia and occurred on January 17, 2009. KSR appeared as Stan Shackleton, in a coyote avatar. Some highlights of the discussion:


On Galileo's Dream:

Sophrosyne Stenvaag: So what drew you to that person, and that time?
Stan Shackleton: Birth of science. Can there be such a thing? Scientific revolution? I made up an alternate scientific revolution in Years of Rice and Salt. Researching that I saw how interesting the real one was, and Galileo was central.

On Olaf Stapledon (to whom I had already referred to as a possible inspiration for Galileo's Dream!):

Extropia DaSilva: Stan, as well as your own books, if you had to name one science fiction novel everyone should read before they die, what would it be?
Stan Shackleton: Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon. Then a list of about a hundred novels. All very good. It’s so big. Every paragraph is a full novel condensed.

On Sax Russell:

Stan Shackleton: Sax is somewhat modeled on my wife. It’s true. I love Sax
IYan Writer: I like the Sax character, too – but is she the Red Mars Sax or the Blue Mars Sax? :)
Kim Anubis: Sax made me look at lichen in a new way :)
Stan Shackleton: She is the Blue Mars Sax I think. Lichen are great!

On Sixty Days And Counting (and Obama beginning his presidency):

Galena Qi: The final book in your trilogy was barely ahead of current events
Stan Shackleton: Yes, my book becomes historical alternative fiction in about six months

On revolution:

Sophrosyne Stenvaag: Stan, do we need that kind of blank slate?
Stan Shackleton: No, we need the long revolution. We have to do it here and out of the current conditions. This is what we are transferring now in our ideas of Obama. We are in this situation, can’t get out of it, have to start in it; but want great things.
Galena Qi: We’ll drag our “monkey mind” along with us everywhere we go. Societies are mutable but human nature doesn’t change.
Stan Shackleton: Yes Galena, but the monkey mind is very utopian! Ideas of justice, adequacy, all there before us in primates. oooooooooop! I’m going to jump now!
[his avatar actually jumps!]

It's original to see KSR appear in a medium like an online virtual world, a concept that has been so much influenced by a literary movement as contrary to his writings, cyberpunk! But the internet is becoming more and more relevant as a powerful world-wide social tool and offers new and amazing opportunites. I still prefer the hi-res of real life though.

The transcript of the entire discussion can be found here. You can find a more readable account of the discussion here and plenty of images of the event here.


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