Kim Stanley Robinson, SF novelist of renown, has three marvelous trilogies: The Three Californias, Science in the Capital and, most celebrated of all, Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars. His honors include many Locus, Hugo and Nebulae awards. Small fact connecting him to RTB-land: he completed a literature PhD directed by Frederic Jameson with a dissertation-turned-book on the novels of Phillip K. Dick.
Stan and John start out with Stan’s emerging from the Grand Canyon in late March. Then they discuss Stan’s sense that SF is the realism of the day and his take on “cognitive estrangement.” Finally, they happen upon a shared admiration for the great epic SF poet, Frederick Turner.
George Stewart, “Earth Abides“
Mary Shelley, “The Last Man“
M. P. Shiel, “The Purple Cloud“
John Clute, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (on “fantastika”)
Ursula Le Guin, “The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia” (1974; KSR praises such works as this for “power of poetry alone”)
Darko Suvin, “Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre ” (1979; on cognitive estrangement)
“The door dilated” a quote from Robert A. Heinlein in “Beyond This Horizon”
Listen to the episode here:
Read the transcript here:
Upcoming: We pivot briefly away from Books in Dark Times to discuss the ethics of deliberately exposing people to the novel corona virus. John discusses the moral quandaries around accelerated vaccine testing with Nir Eyal, a Rutgers bioethicist.