Kim Stanley Robinson
|Kim Stanley Robinson|
Robinson at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, August 2005
March 23, 1952 |
Waukegan, Illinois, US
Kim Stanley Robinson (born March 23, 1952) is an American writer of speculative science-fiction. He has published nineteen novels and numerous short stories but is best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural and political themes running through them and often feature scientists as heroes. Robinson has won numerous awards including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award. Robinson's work has been labeled by the Atlantic as "the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing". According to an article in the New Yorker, Robinson is "generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers."
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Major themes
- 4 Awards
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In 1978 Robinson moved to Davis, California to take a break from his graduate studies at UC San Diego. During this time he worked as a bookseller for Orpheus Books. He also taught freshman composition and other courses at University of California, Davis. 
In 1982 Robinson earned a Ph.D. in English from the UC San Diego. His initial Ph.D. advisor was literary critic Fredric Jameson, who told Robinson to read works by Philip K. Dick. Jameson described Dick to Robinson as "the greatest living American writer." Robinson's doctoral thesis, The Novels of Philip K. Dick, was published in 1984 and a hardcover version was published by UMI Research Press.
In 2008, Time Magazine named Robinson a "Hero of the Environment" for his optimistic focus on the future.
In 2009, Robinson was an instructor at the Clarion Workshop in 2009. In 2010, he was the guest of honor at the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Melbourne, Australia. In April 2011, Robinson presented at the second annual Rethinking Capitalism conference, held at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among other points made, his talk addressed the cyclical nature of capitalism.
Nature and Culture
Sheldon Brown described Robinson's novels as ways to explore how nature and our culture continuously reformulate one another: The Southern California trilogy as California in the future; Washington DC undergoing the impact of climate change in the Science in the Capitol series; or Mars as a stand-in for Earth in the Mars Trilogy to think about re-engineering on a global scale—both social and natural conditions.
Virtually all of Robinson's novels have an ecological component; sustainability is one of his primary themes. (A strong contender for the primary theme would be the nature of a plausible utopia.) The Orange County trilogy is about the way in which the technological intersects with the natural, highlighting the importance of keeping the two in balance. In the Mars trilogy, one of the principal divisions among the population of Mars is based on dissenting views on terraforming; it is heavily debated whether or not the seemingly barren Martian landscape has a similar ecological or spiritual value to a living ecosphere like Earth's. Forty Signs of Rain has an entirely ecological thrust, taking global warming for its principal subject.
Robinson's work often explores alternatives to modern capitalism. In the Mars trilogy, it is argued that capitalism is an outgrowth of feudalism, which could be replaced in the future by a more democratic economic system. Worker ownership and cooperatives figure prominently in Green Mars and Blue Mars as a replacement for traditional corporations. The Orange County trilogy explores similar arrangements; Pacific Edge includes the idea of attacking the legal framework behind corporate domination to promote social egalitarianism. Tim Kreider writes in the New Yorker that Robinson may be our greatest political novelist and describes how Robinson uses the Mars trilogy as a template for a credible utopia.
Robinson's work often portrays characters struggling to preserve and enhance the world around them in an environment characterized by individualism and entrepreneurialism, often facing the political and economic authoritarianism of corporate power acting within this environment. Robinson has been described as anti-capitalist, and his work often portrays a form of frontier capitalism that promotes equalitarian ideals that closely resemble socialist systems, and faced with a capitalism that is staunched by entrenched hegemonic corporations. In particular, his Martian Constitution draws upon social democratic ideals explicitly emphasizing a community-participation element in political and economic life.
Robinson's works often portray the worlds of tomorrow as in a similar way to the mythologized American Western frontier, showing a sentimental affection for the freedom and wildness of the frontier. This aesthetic includes a preoccupation with competing models of political and economic organization.
The environmental, economic, and social themes in Robinson's oeuvre stand in marked contrast to the libertarian science fiction prevalent in much of science fiction (Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle being prominent examples), and his work has been called the most successful attempt to reach a mass audience with a left-wing libertarian and anti-capitalist utopian vision since Ursula K. Le Guin's 1974 novel, The Dispossessed.
Scientists as citizens
Robinson's work often features scientists as heroes. They are portrayed in a mundane way compared to most work featuring scientists: rather than being adventurers or action heroes, Robinson's scientists become critically important because of research discoveries, networking and collaboration with other scientists, political lobbying, or becoming public figures. Robinson captures the joy of scientists as they work at something they care about.The Mars trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt rely heavily on the idea that scientists must take responsibility for ensuring public understanding and responsible use of their discoveries. Robinson's scientists often emerge as the best people to direct public policy on important environmental and technological questions, on which politicians are often ignorant.
In 1982, Robinson married Lisa Howland Nowell, an environmental chemist. They have two sons. Robinson has lived in Washington, D.C., California, and during some of the 1980s, in Switzerland. He now lives in Davis, California.
The Mars trilogy
- Red Mars (1993) - Colonization
- Green Mars (1994) - Terraforming
- Blue Mars (1996) - Long-term results
- The Martians (1999) - Short stories
Science in the Capital series
Collected and condensed omnibus edition released as Green Earth (2015)
- Icehenge (1984)
- The Memory of Whiteness (1985)
- A Short, Sharp Shock (1990) (short novel)
- Antarctica (1997)
- The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
- Galileo's Dream (2009)
- 2312 (2012)
- Shaman: A Novel of the Ice Age (2013)
- Aurora (2015)
Short story collections
- Orbit 18 (1976)
- The Planet on the Table (1986)
- Venice Drowned (Universe 11, 1981)
- Mercurial (Universe 15, 1985)
- Ridge Running (F&SF 1984)
- The Disguise (Orbit 19, 1977) Originally published in Orbit 19, 1977, ed. Damon Knight, ISBN 0-06012-431-8.
- The Lucky Strike (Universe 14, 1984) Originally published in Universe 14, 1984, ed. Terry Carr, ISBN 0-385-19134-0. (nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novelette, Nebula Award for Best Novelette) (frequently anthologized, as in Alternative Histories, 1986, ed. Charles G. Waugh, Martin H. Greenberg, ISBN 0-8240-8659-7, There Won't Be War, 1991, ed. Harry Harrison, Bruce McAllister, ISBN 0-812-51941-8)
- Coming Back to Dixieland (Orbit 18, 1976)
- Stone Eggs (Universe 13, 1983) Originally published in Universe 13, ed. Terry Carr, ISBN 0-385-18288-0.
- Black Air (F&SF 1983)
- Escape from Kathmandu (1989)
- "Escape from Kathmandu" Originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, September, 1986. (nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novella, Nebula Award for Best Novella) (subsequently anthologized)
- "Mother Goddess Of The World" Originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, October, 1987. (nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novella) (subsequently anthologized)
- "The True Nature of Shangri-La" Appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, December, 1989.
- "The Kingdom Underground"
- Remaking History (1991)
- "A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations" (in: Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April, 1991, revised for Remaking History. (subsequently anthologized: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection, 1992, ed. Gardner Dozois, ISBN 0-312-07891-9; Best New SF 6, 1992, ed. Gardner Dozois, ISBN 1-85487-131-5; The Giant Book of Fantastic SF, 1995, ed. Gardner Dozois, ISBN 1-85487-607-4; The Savage Humanists, 2008, ed. Fiona Kelleghan, ISBN 978-0-88995-425-0.)* Down and Out in the Year 2000 (1992)
- "Before I Wake" (in Remaking History) Originally published in Interzone #27, 1989; Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April, 1990) (nominated for Nebula Award for Best Short Story)
- "Glacier" (in Remaking History) Originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, September, 1988. (subsequently anthologized)
- "Remaking History" (in Remaking History and Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Other Edens II, 1988, ed. Robert Holdstock, Christopher Evans, ISBN 0-04-440154-X; then Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, March, 1989; and What Might Have Been? Volume 1: Alternate Empires, edited by Gregory Benford and Martin H. Greenberg, 1989, ISBN 0-553-27845-2. (nominated for Hugo Award for Best Short Story but withdrawn as ineligible)
- "The Part of Us That Loves" (in Remaking History) Originally published in Full Spectrum 2, 1989, ed. Lou Aronica, Shawna McCarthy, Amy Stout, Pat LoBrutto, ISBN 0-385-26019-9.
- "The Return from Rainbow Bridge" (in Remaking History) Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August, 1987.
- "The Translator" (in Remaking History) Originally published in Universe 1, 1990, ed. Robert Silverberg, Karen Haber, ISBN 0-385-26771-1.
- "Vinland the Dream" (in Remaking History, later in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction, November, 1991. (nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story) (frequently anthologized)
- "Zürich" (in Remaking History) Originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March, 1990.
- Vinland the Dream (2001)
- "A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Author's Choice Monthly #20, Pulphouse Publishing, May, 1991.
- "Black Air" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March, 1983. (won 1984 World Fantasy Award, 1984 Science Fiction Chronicle Award; nominated for Nebula Award for Best Novelette) (subsequently anthologized)
- "Coming Back to Dixieland" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Orbit 18, 1976.
- "Mercurial" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Universe 15, 1985, ed. Terry Carr, ISBN 0-385-19890-6. Later in Future Crimes, 2003, ed. Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, ISBN 0-441-01118-7.
- "Muir on Shasta" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions, Author's Choice Monthly #20, Pulphouse Publishing, 1991.
- "Ridge Running" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January, 1984. (nominated for Hugo Award for Best Short Story)
- "Venice Drowned" (in Vinland the Dream) Originally published in Universe 11, 1981, ed. Terry Carr, ISBN 0-385-17226-5. (nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story)
- The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson (2010)
- "The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, 1942" (in The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson)
- "A Martian Childhood" - Asimov's Science Fiction, February, 1994.
- "A Transect" - The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May, 1986. (anthologized: Future Earths: Under African Skies, 1993, ed. Gardner Dozois, Mike Resnick, ISBN 0-88677-544-2)
- "Down and Out in the Year 2000" - Originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April, 1986. (subsequently anthologized)
- "Festival Night" (from Red Mars) In: Nebula Awards 29, 1995, ed. Pamela Sargent, ISBN 0-15-600119-5.
- "From 2312 (excerpt)" - Lightspeed Magazine, May, 2012.
- "How Science Saved the World" - Nature, January 6, 2000. Also published under the title: "Review: Science in the Third Millennium", which appeared in Envisioning the Future: Science Fiction and the Next Millennium, 2003, ed. Marleen S. Barr, ISBN 0-8195-6652-7. This is a facetious review of two fictional books.
- "In Pierson's Orchestra" - Orbit 18, 1976, ed. Damon Knight, ISBN 0-06-012433-4.
- "Me in a Mirror" - Foundation – The International Review of Science Fiction, #38 Winter 1986/87, 1987, ed. Edward James.
- "On the North Pole of Pluto" - After some reworking, this novella became the third part of Icehenge; also in Orbit 21, 1980, ed. Damon Knight, ISBN 0-06-012426-1.
- "Our Town" - Originally published in Omni, November, 1986; later in Lightspeed Magazine, April, 2012.
- "Primate in Forest" - Future Washington, 2005, ed. Ernest Lilley, ISBN 0-9621725-4-5. Excerpt from Chapter One of Fifty Degrees Below.
- "Prometheus Unbound, At Last" - Nature, August 11, 2005.
- "Red Mars" - Interzone, #63 September 1992.
- "Sacred Space" - I'm With the Bears, 2011, ed. Mark Martin, ISBN 978-1-84467-744-3. This excerpt is from chapter 6 of the novel Sixty Days and Counting.
- "The Blind Geometer" - Originally published as a limited edition by Cheap Street Press in 1986, ISBN 0-941826-13-9, then Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, August, 1987. (subsequently anthologized, as in The Mammoth Book of Modern Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1980s, 1993, ed. Martin H. Greenberg, Isaac Asimov, Charles G. Waugh, ISBN 0-88184-959-6) (won the 1988 Nebula Award for Best Novella; nominated for the 1988 Hugo Award for Best Novella)
- "The Lunatics" - Originally published in Terry's Universe, 1988, ed. Beth Meacham, ISBN 0-312-93058-5. (frequently anthologized)
- "The Memorial" - In the Field of Fire, 1987, ed. Jack Dann, Jeanne Van Buren Dann, ISBN 0-312-93008-9.
- "The Thing Itself" - Clarion SF, 1977, ed. Kate Wilhelm, ISBN 0-425-03293-0.
- "To Leave a Mark" - The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November, 1982. (nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novella)
- "Green Mars" (in The Martians) Originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, September, 1985. (nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novella, Nebula Award for Best Novella) (subsequently anthologized)
- Robinson's doctoral thesis examined The Novels of Philip K. Dick (1984). A hardcover version was published by UMI Research Press.
- Future Primitive: The New Ecotopias (1994) Edited and wrote introduction of the anthology.
- Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction (Wesleyan University Press) with Marquette University professor Gerry Canavan. Co-edited collection of scholarly essays on the relationship between ecological science, environmentalist politics, and science fiction.
- State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? published by WorldWatch Institute (2013). Wrote chapter "is it too late?"
- Beauchamp, Scott (April 1, 2013). "In 300 Years, Kim Stanley Robinson's Science Fiction May Not Be Fiction". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-09-08.
- Kreider, Tim (December 13, 2013). "Our Greatest Political Novelist?". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Adams, John Joseph (June 6, 2012). "Sci-Fi Scribes on Ray Bradbury: ‘Storyteller, Showman and Alchemist'". Wired.com. Wired. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Potts, Stephen (July 11, 2000). "UCSD Guestbook: Kim Stanley Robinson". UCTV. University of California Television. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- Hudsen, Jeff (October 18, 2004). "Davis a perfect fit for a sci-fi novelist". The Davis Enterprise. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
- Morton, Oliver (September 24, 2008). "Heroes of the Environment 2008". Time Magazine. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Doctorow, Cory (December 8, 2008). "Clarion science fiction/fantasy workshop instructors announced". Boingboing. Boinboing. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Howell, John (May 18, 2009). "68th World Science Fiction Convention Australia 2010: Kim Stanley Robinson Guest". SFW. SFW. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Pittman, Jennifer (April 2, 2011). "Rethinking Capitalism conference at UCSC to examine the cost of sustaining a fragile system". Santa Cruz Sentinel News. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- "Bruce Initiative on Rethinking Capitalism | 2011 Conference". Archived from the original on August 26, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- Brown, Sheldon (July 1, 2013). "The Literary Imagination with Jonathan Lethem and Kim Stanley Robinson". UCTV. 5:00: University of California Television. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- Some Worknotes and Commentary on the Constitution by Charlotte Dorsa-Brevia, in The Martians pp. 233–239
- Smith, Jeremy (2001). "Utopic Fiction and the Mars Novels of Kim Stanley Robinson". Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "Science Fiction Awards Database". sfadb. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson cover art and synopsis
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Kim Stanley Robinson|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kim Stanley Robinson.|
- Kim Stanley Robinson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- KimStanleyRobinson.info – unofficial site
- Short descriptions of K.S. Robinson's novels
- All of Kim Stanley Robinson's audio interviews on the podcast The Future And You (in which he describes his expectations of the future)
- Robinson at the Internet Book List
- Guardian interview with K.S. Robinson (Wednesday 14 September 2005)
- "Comparative Planetology: an Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson" at BLDGBLOG
- Complete list of sci-fi award wins and nominations by novel
- Interview on the SciFiDimensions Podcast (original webpage down; link to archive.org version of page.)
- "Terraforming Earth", essay by KSR at Slate (magazine), Dec. 4, 2012
- Kim Stanley Robinson at Library of Congress Authorities, with 33 catalog records
- Worldwatch Institute State of the World - Kim Stanley Robinson, 04/16/2013 Washington, DC