Monday, July 27, 2015

Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels include the landmark Mars trilogy and the newly released Aurora.

From his Q & A with Steve Paulson for Electric Literature:

SP: Mars One is the project that’s trying to engineer one-way trips to Mars. You know you’re not going to come back. Frankly, it sounds like a suicide mission, and yet tens of thousands of people have signed up for this mission.

KSR: Yes, but they’ve made a category error. Their imaginations have not managed to catch up to the situation. They are in some kind of boring life and they want excitement. Maybe they’re young, maybe they’re worried about their economic prospects, maybe they want something different. They imagine it would be exciting if they got to Mars. But it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said travel is stupid; wherever you go, you’re still stuck with yourself. I went to the South Pole once. I was only there for a week and it was the most boring place in Antarctica because we couldn’t really leave the rooms without getting into space suits.

SP: Is extended space travel like going to Antarctica?

KSR: It’s the best analogy you can get, especially for Mars. You would get to a landscape that’s beautiful and sublime and scientifically interesting and mind-boggling. Antarctica is all those things and so would Mars be. But I notice that nobody in the United States cares about what the Antarcticans are doing every November and December. There are a couple thousand people down there having a blast. If the same thing happened on Mars, it would be like, “Oh...[read on]
Learn about Kim Stanley Robinson’s ten favorite SF novels and ten favorite Mars novels.

--Marshal Zeringue