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.
- 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.
- Our Greatest Political Novelist? by Tim Kreider. This article from the New Yorker is a neat look at Robinson’s political side and how he works it in with science fiction.
- Kim Stanley Robinson Sees Humans Colonizing the Solar System in 2312. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy has a great interview with Robinson here.
- In 300 Years, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science Fiction May Not Be Fiction, Scott Beauchamp. Another excellent article, this one from the Atlantic Monthly.
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.