Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars

Throughout my years of stalking the science fiction shelves of bookstores and libraries, there’s been a trilogy of books that’s always caught my eyes, but which I never quite picked up to read. They were Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, with its distinctive covers which matched the titles of the books. I had attempted to get into Red Mars over the years, but never got very far.

A couple of years ago, I picked up 2312 and found myself engrossed in Robinson’s world and vision of the future. At some point after that, I actually met him when he attended a conference in Massachusetts, where he kindly signed a couple of his books for me. Since then, I’ve started re-reading Red Mars, and actually getting into it a bit more.

Robinson’s works fly in the face of what a lot of science fiction seems to revel in: it’s optimistic, and isn’t extrapolatory; that is, taking a darker version of the present day and transplanting it into the future. He’s built fantastic worlds that feel all the more plausible and relevant today than that of most of his colleagues.

Go read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars over on Kirkus Reviews.

Sources:

  • The History of Science Fiction, Adam Roberts. Roberts has a short section on Robinson’s works, particularly related to the Mars trilogy.
  • The Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy’s Greatest Science Fiction, edited by Guy Haley. Haley has a page devoted to the Mars trilogy in this book.
  • Science Fiction Writers, Second Edition, Richard Bleiler. There is a fantastic critical examination of Robinson’s life and works in this book.

Web:

Additionally, many thanks to Kim Stanley Robinson himself for agreeing to answer my questions. We had an excellent discussion, which I’ll post up later. I can attest that he’s probably the nicest guy in the solar system.

 

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3 thoughts on “Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars

  1. I have often looked at these, and thought of all the praise I’ve read about them, and wanted to pick them up. I like hearing that there is an optimistic viewpoint here. It isn’t that I don’t, and haven’t, enjoyed some darker works, but I like and get more excited about optimistic science fiction.

    • It’s nice to see that the outlook isn’t all bad. I saw Robinson on stage with Paolo Bacigalupi a while back, and it was a nice balance between pessimism and optimism.

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