Happy birthday Kim Stanley Robinson!

Kim Stanley Robinson at Worldcon 2005
Kim Stanley Robinson at Worldcon 2005

Kim Stanley Robinson (photo ©Szymon Sokol) was born on March 23, 1952, in Waukegan, Illinois.

Kim Stanley Robinson earned a B.A. in literature at the University of California at San Diego in 1974, a Master of Arts in English at Boston University in 1975, and a Ph.D. in English at the University of California at San Diego in 1982 with a thesis titled “The Novels of Philip K. Dick”, which was published in 1984.

Kim Stanley Robinson started publishing short fiction in the ’70s, and in 1984 he published his first novels. “The Wild Shore” is also the first of the so-called Three Californias Trilogy, also known as the Orange County trilogy. These three novels show different visions of the future of California. The other two are “The Gold Coast” (1988) and “Pacific Edge” (1990).

In 1992 Kim Stanley Robinson published “Red Mars”, which won the Nebula Award and the BSFA Award. It’s the first novel of the Mars trilogy, his most famous work. The other two are “Green Mars” (1993) and “Blue Mars” (1996), both winners of the Hugo and Locus Awards. The story in this trilogy starts in 2026 with the arrival of the first colonists on Mars and follows the next two centuries with the story of terraforming the planet and its colonization, with an eye to the history of the rest of the solar system.

The Mars trilogy is extremely complex because it addresses scientific and technological issues but also ecological and social. There are transnational corporations that effectively replace national governments, there’s genetic engineering, not just the terraforming of Mars but also of other planets and satellites up to humans’ expansion beyond the solar system.

Kim Stanley Robinson wrote other stories connected to the Mars trilogy collected in the anthology “The Martians” including one titled “Green Mars” like the novel. Some stories tell stories alternative to those of novels.

Kim Stanley Robinson reprised some of the techno-scientific, environmental, and social issues in the novel “Antarctica” (1997).

In 2002, Kim Stanley Robinson published “The Years of Rice and Salt”, an alternative history novel set in a world where the Black Death killed approximately 99% of the European population. This novel won the Locus Award.

In recent years, Kim Stanley Robinson wrote another trilogy, called Science in the Capital, which explores the consequences of global warming. The novels that compose it are: “Forty Signs of Rain” (2004), “Fifty Degrees Below” (2005), and “Sixty Days and Counting” (2007).

His most recent novels are “Galileo’s Dream” (2009), a story that sees Galileo Galilei involved in a science fiction plot, and “2312”, a vision of humanity that three centuries in the future occupied the whole solar system, which will be published in May 2012.

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