General

News and general discussion on KSR; discussion of short stories and novellas

While I enjoyed "The Lucky Strike" as a written work of fiction, it is sadly typical leftist (which Kim Stanley Robinson freely admits he is) revisionism that the nuclear attacks on Japan at the end of World War 2 were unjustified, and that a demonstration of some sort would have sufficed to convince the Japanese to surrender.

This seriously misreads the Japanese character at the time of the attacks. They still had millions of men under arms in the home islands as well as thousands of aircraft for use in kamikaze operations, and their analysis of intelligence resources available to them at the time indicated that the United States was unlikely to be willing to sustain the sort of casualty rate expected to occur during a successfully prosecuted invasion. They were therefore perfectly prepared to engage in a battle of attrition in the home islands that would have killed many more people on both sides than the combined total killed in the nuclear strikes, because they believed, wrongly, that the United States would flinch from the bloodletting and would agree to a negotiated settlement that would at least preserve the core Empire. Of course, the United States would have been aghast at the bloodletting, but there was a determination to defeat the Japanese at any cost which the Japanese themselves did not correctly understand and which would have continued the fighting regardless of the human toll.

It was only the sudden, mass casualties at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the realization that they had occurred due to the actions of only one aircraft and one weapon, that gave Japanese moderates within the Imperial Cabinet, such as there were, an opening to force the militarists to agree to an Imperial proclamation that would end the war. Even so, it was a closely run thing, and there was very nearly a coup to topple the Emperor and continue the war regardless. Luckily, this did not happen.

The atomic attacks were horrific events at the end of a horrific war. However, it is highly probable given the circumstances of the time that they in fact did save many more lives than they cost. This is no comfort to those killed and injured during the strikes, but it is a serious misinterpretation of history from the distance of sixty-four years to presume to think they were not necessary.

Hello!

Je dois dire que j'ai eu du mal, mais terminer la Trilogie Martienne m'a vraiment fait beaucoup de bien. Une petite pause en passant par d'autres auteurs, mais vivement "Les Martiens", "Chroniques des Années Noires", et, malheureusement, bien d'autres sont très mal distribués en Belgique.

Malgré un style parfois soporifique, la richesse de contenu submerge le lecteur féru de sciences humaines, de géographie, de physique, d'astronomie, de génétique, ou encore de biologie.

Impossible bien sûr de tout retenir, de tout assimiler... Et on ne résume pas 15 ans de travail en 2000 pages.

J'ignore dans quelle mesure les Martiens approfondissent les rapprochements avec d'authentiques disciplines scientifiques (la sociologie par exemple), mais ce qui est sûr c'est que lire KSR est une expérience unique pour tout féru de SF... Certes un futur incontournable! Déjà que là... 8)

Watching Bill Moyers talk with Jim Hightower, Hightower while discussing the revolution, so to speak, gets into the co-op movement a bit, talking about how widespread and under-reported the movement is. I just re-read Antarctica a week or so ago, and KSR also went into some detail about how that movement is growing. Other than food co-ops, which I've belonged to for decades, and credit unions (ditto), I'm hard-pressed to find other co-ops. Would love to find a health plan co-op, for example. I've done a little searching for a co-op directory of some sort but with very little luck. Anyone know of such a thing?

Sun Symbiosis – by Forrest Sol

The following review of my unpublished first novel was written by the best-selling science fiction author Piers Anthony. It can be found in the June, 2010 newsletter on his website:

www.hipiers.com

“I read Sun Symbiosis, by Forrest Sol, a pen name for a PhD in environmental science. This is presented as a novel, but is actually a book-length essay phrased as an extended interview. I had to tell the author that it really didn't work for me as a novel, because there is no human interaction other than between the interviewer and his subject, both male. A novel does better with a rich background of science or fantasy and a telling human story, preferably a romantic one, and perhaps a moral theme. An example is the movie Avatar. I'm not sure whether that was a novel first, but if so, it was surely a good one. Sun Symbiosis has the background, and is in fact a work of formidable imagination, and a moral theme: saving the environment. The author clearly knows what he is talking about; I am judging not by his doctorate but by my own awareness of the issues. For example he has a major project to reverse global warming by flooding deserts with sea water and letting it evaporate. Ah, I thought, but that would load the land with salt. Then he addressed that aspect too, so it was factored in. He addresses the arguments made by the naysayers, those who prefer to pretend that there is no warming, and if there is, it is not by human hand. There is an impassioned speech made by the female president of the USA invoking God, I think not really as a religious concept, but as a common belief most of the world shares, so that there can be a way to unify diverse people in the effort to save the planet. "You are right to believe in God. I know that some of you become very uncomfortable when I speak this way. If it is any consolation to the skeptics, I have great respect for science, and I defer to the advice of scientists in all technical matters. But it is also science that informs my faith. And it is my joy to affirm the miracle that nature and the natural world are more clear than any ancient text written by human hands in the search for consciousness greater than our own." As a lifelong agnostic I find this a worthy statement.
But this is only part of it. Much of the story centers around a special project to study dark energy. This president fully supported that, and it seemed to be on the verge of a phenomenal breakthrough, when she abruptly canceled it, erased the records, and arranged to have laws passed to prevent any continuation of the study made for three generations. What happened? That is the mystery of this story. Because as it turns out, they discovered a universe of dark energy beings who might be considered alive but not at all in the manner we think of life. One inhabits the sun, and is a significant component of it. Others travel across the universe to tune in on the flickering consciousnesses that we know as people. It seems the dark energy beings are addicted to consciousness; it's like a drug or perhaps pornography. We are not aware of them, and they do not harm us; they are part of that other, overlapping realm we can barely fathom even conceptually. But with this dark energy project we could become aware of them, and just possibly interact with them. Are we as a species mature enough to safely do that? Maybe in three generations.
So I deem this book not to be a proper novel, and I suspect the average reader would not understand or appreciate it. But it ranges into territory that not much science fiction does, and I think it should be worth the while of the intelligent, motivated, moral (in the sense of doing what is best for the world) reader. If it can find a publisher.”

I am trying to track down a story about a geographer in ancient Egypt who met a feathered alien spaceperson, all of which led to the Egyptians' religious part man part animal gods, and also in it was the pharos of Alexandria. I think it was by KSR. Does anyone know?

Thank you Adam! Will add them up to the list at the wiki shortly!

Kim Stanley Robinson Short Speech Accepting Thankyou Gifts:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjYZKumE3VM

Bioethics of Terraforming panel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2eSC9Xbexw

That definitely doesn't sound like anything by KSR; you might want to try posting at http://whatsthatbook.com/.

A couple of decades ago I read KSR's story "A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations". Much of it consists of a travelogue around Orkney, and in particular the neolithic village of Skara Brae. Ever since I've had this desire to visit the place, and now I finally did it.

It is hard to describe why I feel such a strong connection to those neolithic sites, but in a way it was like half-seeing the invention of civilization, a cultural revolution that brought about technological and ideological concepts that we now take for granted.

In any case, I'm not sure this is the proper forum for this, and I apologize if it is not, but I wanted to share this. I've put some pictures up (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ml42/tags/orkney/), and a blog post (n Portuguese) http://ml42.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/queen-mary-university-of-london-londr..., so people can have some idea of what I've seen and why it affected me this way.

A newly-published book on California becoming an independent nation is available on Amazon.com, called "California's Next Century."
I saw while researching this book that you had already written on topics about the future welfare of this great state.
I was hoping that you might be interested in this book, and would consider posting a comment about it on the Amazon.com site.
I am more than willing to send you free copies of the book at any time.
For more information on the book visit at: www.californiasnextcentury.com/

j'aime beaucoup vos livres,
depuis plusieurs années
merci
vraiment
je vous souhaite d'être heureux, empli de bonheurs
bien sincèrement
françoise

[url][/url]thefreeonline.wordpress.com

Hi there Kim from a big fan.
Here's some ideas for a future novel, it's a story I wrote, mostly unknown, a successful anarcha-feminist revolution set in the near future amid climate chaos and the collapse of capitalism.. also funny, tragic.... :idea: :idea:
You can read it online or download at the above site.
Great to see you still going strong, we're almost the same age!
all the best... salud... mike gilliland

Not knowing what the above may portend I humbly abstain. First I am not a writer I am a muse. That is I freely give great ideas to writers for what it's worth. For example, RAH wrote the "Puppet masters" wonderful science fiction satire. Just imagine though if the slugs returned with a proposal that would allow humans to voluntarily accept symbionts for the benefits accrued from suddenly acquiring a super intellect and body control possible only with 4 pounds of additional
functioning grey matter. If the slugs agreed to a partnership rather than total control wouldn't some adventuresome people try it? Think of the possibilities as well as the risks. This is just one example of the myriad ideas I have to offer. I always wanted to try expanding on some of Heinleins stories. Or write an ode titled "TANSTAAFL". Catchy right? In the proper hands the commercial possibilities of continuing to right tales in the universe of Oscar Gorden or Lazarus Long. Of course my lockerful of original concept material is equally bountiful. I hope this note may find it's way to an interested or even an interesting writer. Your servant sir.

How does he do his research for the science in his books? They re so well researched, I;d love to know how.

I ve been a voracious reader of fiction for years and nothing has spoken to me the way your writing has.

I just want to say thank you. Thank you for writing novels that allow me to escape and dream. Thank you for making characters that I care and fear for. Thank you for using your novels as a means to prompt discussions about some of humanitys biggest issues.

I would love nothing more than to buy you a beer. I ll likely never have such a pleasure so I ll hope you ll read this comment one day.

Is there any way to get in touch with Mr. Robinson? Id like to share with him an idea I have for a book about our first contact with a different civilization and see what he thinks. The novel would cover 250 years, but the events that happen in the book are based on real events just changed from the past into the future to give a different perspective.

In some ways I think this is a book that I would like to read and would like to know if KSR is interested in lunch to hear me out. Im in Mountain View area.

Im a fan and got many of KSRs books. Mars Trilogy, Martian, The Years of Salt and Rice (perhaps my 2nd favorite), and 2312 and Shaman. (Aurora is on the way)

I was also at the conference about terraforming Mars at Moffatt Field and talked to the Mr. Robinson then, and when ask to read an excerpt from Green Mars he borrowed my book from the audience. Afterwards we talked about the fate of Hiroko at the end of the Blue Mars book.

I am very terrible about remembering titles but get a feel for authors. There was a story i read that was an extremely slow downfall of "the grid". Two children that had educated parents that had moved them into the country because of what they believed to be danger in the cities oncoming. Together they learned gardening and other obvious self sufficientcy living.  What struck me about this story was how in the first part of the book, the young girl character said something to effect of no-one noticed the fall because it happend so slowly. Everyone just got used to the power going out every once in a while. But slowly it increased until there was no "grid" ETC. anyone have a clue?

what do you think about the"The Man in the High Castle'? being filmed.

No, I can't think of any that fits with that. There's "Glacier", with a teenage boy and teacher parents moving around while North America seems to be invaded by cold and glaciers. And there's "Down and Out in the Year 2000", a kind of urban post-apocalyptic setting with insecurity and covert weed growers...

Technically it looks very impressive and sleek, like most TV productions the quality is really high. I have only seen the pilot. There is enough worldbuilding potential to sustain a series, however this is rather off the point the book tries to make. I don't know how they'll handle the whole forgery / "fakeness of reality" aspect, which is the core of the book, and which sounds like a recipe for disaster for a TV show if they base a whole mystery around it for years on end and build expectations towards "that" reveal.

After a few years of thinking through the concept of The Long Emergency, as a way to communicate and a way to act, I went and registered the primary domains. Now I'm thinking about how to put them to good use. Not as a "scare the people straight" but as a positive tool for collaboration around the issues from the level of policy down to adaption and global accomodation. 

While I have a bunch of concrete thoughts, I would like to see what others think. I'm not a social media person, be gentle :-)

Kim Stanley Robinson will be giving the keynote lecture at the April 15th event sponsored by Columbia's Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture. More information can be found here and here. Free and open to the public. We hope you can make it!

"Power and the Space of the Planet"

Friday, April 15th, 2PM

Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall, Columbia University

I wonder what KSR thinks about these private corporations readying to go into space (like Elon Musk's Space X, etc.). Sorry, I haven't had time to read all the comments to see if this has already been discussed. My qualm is, will there be any utopians on board as in the Mars Trilogy? I somwhow doubt it!

Fantastic interview in High Country News! As a fellow resident of Davis who has worked for decades to protect the Sierra Nevada, thank you.

Hi Kim,

I'm Jordi Bruno, your neigbourgh at Zurichberg when your wife and I were young postdocs at Eawag

I saw you today on a Spanish newspaper and I thought I'll send you a big hug to both of you

Take care

Jordi

Hi Kim,
I love your writing! I just finished Aurora, Shaman and New York 2140. (Reverse order of reading). I am in awe of your writing. Did I say I love your writing? I wish I could articulate my thoughts to you about your characters, stories, research, science and most of all connections to nature. You are brilliant!
I am telling everyone to read your books and will be gifting several. Thanks for your amazing stories.
Barbara

I kust now heard only 5 minutes of an interview with Mr Robinson where he spoke of the fundamnetal issue of law reform. I am not familiar with his work but learned within that 5 minutes that he is visionary and clearly grounded in his analysis. I teach a course at a law school where I address the necessity of altering our concepts of what is "property", property law and use, and the extention of natural "personhood" to ecosystems and wildlife (to protect them under law). I would like two things - 1) recommendations for me on his essays, etc., and 2) to contact him for possible contribution to my law course. 

Matthew Stanton

taolawyer@gmail.com

Chicago

From Slate "Space isn't a void"

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2017/12/space_isn_...

"In an interview for the book, renowned science fiction author and longtime space watcher Kim Stanley Robinson elegantly summarized the problem: “We don’t need space. We need sustainability in this biosphere. Space is a luxury problem and a luxury opportunity. It’s what we get to explore in some detail, in the centuries after we succeed in inventing permaculture here, if we do.” 

Mostly agree with this. But I think it misses the historical evidence that frontiers spur innovation, and the best of that innovation flows back to improve lives in the home country which is sending people to the frontier.

Definitely we need sustainability in our biosphere, and space dev is very costly and risky compared to similar efforts on Earth. But look at the USA frontier's effect on Europe - monarchies over, all the cars, skyscrapers and modern tech, the internet.

This is a simplistic example, but I'm sure a strong case could be made for frontiers sending back innovations which improve lives in the origin culture.

Hi all - does anyone know of any speaking engagements by KSR anywhere in California between May 12th and 27th this year?  I'm in the area, I've never had the chance to see him talk live, and I'm holding out hope that he might have something on.

Nate Hagens is doing some great work that forward thinking KSR readers may find interesting. His program works to provide a synthesis view of energy, economy, ecology, and psychology, to help us understand how to progress as we exceed to the limits to growth. Check out the lecture to get ready for his upcoming free books.                                                                           https://youtu.be/YUSpsT6Oqrg

KSR recently penned an essay for the Sierra club, referring to the environmental crisis that may very well overwhelm us all and titled: The is no plan B. Well that is no longer the case! And for those who are rightly convinced by hard experience, that mankind is unable to change direction sufficiently to avoid an eco apocalypse, and even human extinction, the only plan B able to do the job is already getting underway at http://www.energon.org.uk

Robinson likes EO Wilson's concept of confining humans to a portion of Earth's surface so other species have a better chance to survive. I wonder if he knows of Alan Savory's (controversial) work reclaiming land through cattle grazing management. I wonder what KSR thinks of it.

Do alternative history authors have a desire to change history? While every author places characters in motion, alternative history writers change events in a timeline.

Does this come from a yearning to be a decision maker? From a drive beyond escapism to being a participant? A quilt for not fulfilling a lost chance?

Let’s look at some possible scenarios. Born in 1947, Stephen King might have watched the TV in 1963 as Jack Ruby killed Oswald. Did  the young King think of a cover up, a potential for a change that could have occurred if someone had stepped in to prevent JFK’s assassination? Was that the genesis of his alternative history novel 11/22/23?

When Eric Flint wrote 1632, did the origin arrive from a desire to think of another chance for Germany other than the one chosen through our timeline? Did he foresee a different course had King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden lived longer? Maybe the finances of that era posed other outcomes he saw. Did a different Germany aided by Sweden offer a stability not seen then?

Alan Smale’s world of a Native American league standing up to ancient Rome played with two areas with the series Clash of Eagles. Could a Native league have formed? What if Rome survived into the 1200s? While Smale’s fascination may have come from his aerodynamic skills, he showed the Native strength coming from powerful Thunderbird gliders. But was Smale drawn into the concept of a Native league from discovering the history of Tecumseh’s dream of a Native union? Or the knowledge of the Iroquois Confederation? Was the novel a glimpse of Smale seeing decisions that could have led to another timeline?

Do alternative history writers seek to change history? Correct a wrong? Most writers start with the “What if” of a character development or a question about a plot twist. Science fiction writers like to speculate about how an element of science affects people. But these examples don’t require the author to enter the fictional world as a player. Using existing timeline facts that lead to different decisions makes the writer a participant — does it not? 

Thanks to Antifada and KSR for a wonderful interview, and to Kimon for bringing it to me/us.

By reflecting away 30% of the incoming solar energy the albedo, created and maintained by the atmosphere, cools the earth much like that reflective panel behind a car's windshield.

Remove the atmosphere and the albedo goes with it, i.e. no water vapor, no clouds, no snow and ice, no vegetation, no oceans - the earth becomes a desolate barren rock much like the moon, blazing hot lit side, bitter cold dark.

The terrestrial surface without an atmosphere would receive 30% more kJ/h of solar energy and become warmer.

These observations are supported by lunar studies performed by Nikolov and Kramm (Univ of AK) and data collected by the UCLA Diviner lunar mission.

Radiative Green House Effect theory postulates exactly the opposite incorrectly claiming that a naked earth would become a -430 F ball of ice.

No greenhouse theory means there are no greenhouse gases, no carbon dioxide warming and no man caused climate change or global warming.

Contemplate the consequences if the statements above are correct.

Dear Kim,
I have read many of your books, with very high level of sociological, scientifics and search for empowering vision. These experiences are mainly in closed areas ( mars, spaceship, earth..).
Is possible to support/reboost humankind vision, after this today Covid-19 experience, with aiming at spreading humankind more widely in universe (solar system for starting) to guarantee that we could not disappear through one microbe (like prion on Aurora)?
What political/social trend or industrial leader to convict ?
What financial added value to support their decision (iron in comet, deutherium on moon, gold on mercure...)?

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