That's Kim Stanley Robinson


Years of Rice and Salt

Renowned science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson is an opinionated person.  And a thoughful one.  And a great researcher.  But mostly he is a very fine writer.  Of the many many books he has written and published since the 1980s, my favorite is "The Years of Rice and Salt", set in an alternate world where the Plague killed 90% of northern Europe leaving empty land to be resettled by people from further south and east.  This book is a series of about a dozen novellas tied together by a cast of characters who get reincarnated in different parts of the world and different  circumstances and cultures.  A most fascinating book!

But then, I also was mesmerized by his possibilities of Orange County's future in the Three Californias trilogy: "The Wild Shore", "The Gold Coast", and "Pacific Edge".  What will happen in OC if (a) we start to recover from a nuclear war while the rest of the world decides that we are too dangerous to allow to re-build? or (b) we stop global warming but continue overpopulation in "an endless sprawl of condos, freeways, and malls"? or (c) we change our culture to a more ecologically-focused future and live in smaller places? These three award-winning books are also filled with fascinating characters.

Currently I am engulfed in his story of a watery culture in "New York 2140" -- drowned after the ice in Antarctica melts and raises sea level by 50 feet.  Again the characters are the main focus and one is simply immersed in the future without thinking about it.  To GET us thinking about things, Stan has interspersed commentary chapter in amongst the story chapters.  A novel technique.

There are many more books of his to choose from.  A bibliopraphy is at:

But books were only a small part of our discussion on this show.  Today was a wide-ranging ramble thru to mind and heart of Stan.  Enjoy the trip!

(portrait image from Davis Enterprise)  PS: Here's a Davis Enterprise article about KSR speaking at WEF:

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