Kim Stanley Robinson has an asteroid named after him. The reason for that is simple: Stan, as he’s often known among people who know him, is one of the best-known contemporary authors of classic [hard] science fiction. He has written 20 books that have been translated into 25 languages and has won pretty much all literary awards in his genre that you can think of. His latest novel is The Ministry for the Future and it deals with global warming – arguably the main challenge that humanity is facing today. I can keep going but I hope you agreed with me the moment you read his name – Stan is a perfect guest for my podcast.
During this 2 1/2-hour interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: how he fell in love with literature after reading Huckleberry Finn; being Mr. Mom as well as an avid hiker in the Sierra Nevada mountains; the biggest threat humanity is facing today; the literary image of non-human animals in his books; nuclear weapons and AI; the definition of science fiction; the Emeritus syndrome; why AI is science and why it needs philosophy; climate change, the anti-narrative and the importance of story; why the future discount rate is a philosophical and not a scientific argument; how we can still make a good Anthropocene; The Ministry for the Future as an example of resisting dystopia; Maria Farrel as a living prototype of his main protagonist; political violence and eco-terrorism; Steven Pinker and the narcissism of small differences; humanity’s Manifest Destiny and Transhumanism; futurism and Peter Turchin’s cliodynamics; veganism and rapid decarbonization.
My favorite quote that I will take away from this conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson is:
Science needs judicious, humane and philosophical direction
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Who is Kim Stanley Robinson?
Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer. He is the author of about twenty books, including the internationally bestselling Mars trilogy, and more recently Red Moon, New York 2140, Aurora, Shaman, Green Earth, and 2312. Robinson was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program in 1995 and returned to their Antarctic media program in 2016.
In 2008 Kim Stanley Robinson was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine. He works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and UC San Diego’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. His work has been translated into 25 languages and won a dozen awards in five countries, including the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016 asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.”