Welcome Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit Books) and Host Siun (FDL)

2312

I have to confess I’m a bit gobsmacked to be hosting this discussion with Kim Stanley Robinson about his latest novel, 2312. You see, Robinson’s work has been central to my political thinking since my first trip to his Red Mars. While I grew up in the antiwar and civil rights movement, the old new left, those politics over time were not broad enough, rich enough to encompass the world we now live in and try to reshape. Reading the Mars trilogy, where Robinson mixes serious science with a stunning array of political and spiritual responses to how we might organize our worlds – and his deep vein of human scale storytelling provided me with a new view, a new panorama – and it’s one that has sustained me in the years since. Other works of his – especially Antarctica and Pacific Edge – provide images, models to complement the vision of Blue Mars, reminding me even in the dark days of the world we are trying to create and I wish to live in.

In 2312, Robinson has taken us 300 years into the future, shifting beyond the near times of most of his works to a time when the consequences of our actions now play out in a devastated yet still home planet Earth. And Robinson reminds us, when 2312’s lead character Swan heads from her home Mercury to Earth of the wonder of our own planet, a wonder we forget and destroy with our current actions:

Simply to be outdoors in the open air, under the sky, in the wind – this was what she loved most about Earth. Today puffy clouds were massed overhead at about the thousand-foot level. Looked like a marine layer rolling in… Through gaps in the cloud layer she could see the light-but-dark blue of the Terran sky, subtle and ful. It looked like a blue dome flattened at the center, perhaps a few kilometers about the clouds – she reached up for it – although knowing too that it was just a kind of rainbow made it glorious.

Of course, 2312 does not solely take place on a flooded post climate crisis earth. Instead we move around a solar system, inhabited and altered – in some places greatly, in others less so – in a “space diaspora”

The space diaspora occurred as late capitalism writhed in its internal decision concerning whether to destroy the Earth’s biosphere or change its rules. Many argued for the destruction of the biosphere, as being the lesser of two evils.

Yet Robinson’s vision of human cultures in space is not the light but almost sweet vision of older SF writing, which plays with our imaginations like the old World’s Fair displays, but instead a richly considered portfolio of possible worlds – some disturbing in their darkness, some exhilarating in the potential for human expression and diversity. Robinson assumes that not only will our transport and technology evolve in the coming years and our economics, but the very nature of humanity will as well.

And that evolution is at the core of 2312. The novel introduces us to people who have evolved often in rather startling ways, as Robinson suggests in one the “Extracts” segments of the book:

they were now their own unavoidable experiment, and were making themselves many things they had never been before: augmented, multi-sexed, and most importantly, very long-lived, the oldest at that point being around two hundred years old. But not one whit wiser, or even more intelligent. Sad but true: individual intelligence probably peaked in the Upper Paleolithic, and we have been self-domesticated creatures ever since, dogs when we had been wolves…

Two humans live at the center of 2312, Swan and Wahram, one from Mercury, the other Saturn, with all the characteristics both imply. As we read the novel, we follow their growing attachment, their lovely romance of hot and constant, adventurous and cautious, as they strive to survive a terrorist attack on Swan’s home planet and then investigate the source of that attack – and find ways to bring a new type of revolution to Earth, drawing from Mondragon models and Swan’s belief that:

There’s a gift economy in people’s feelings that precedes all the rules. Set one up and people give themselves to it.

One of the great joys of reading Robinson’s books is meeting his characters, such fully realized, multilayered, contradictory and oh-so-human humans. Swan and Wahram are two of his best and will, I am sure, live in your imaginations as they do now in mine.

There is so much more to 2312 – Robinson’s science is, as always, solid and accessible even for those of us without much background; there’s philosophy and fun references for SF regulars, a good mystery and more. This is a book that will enchant as well as inform and push your outlook in new directions. Living as we do in the times Robinson calls the “Age of Dithering,” we need reminders of why we keep trying to bring about change – and of where we might head. 2312 and the other tales of Kim Stanley Robinson help us believe there’s a future worth creating.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

152 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Kim Stanley Robinson, 2312”

BevW August 25th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Stan, Welcome to the Lake.

Siun, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 1:57 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Hi Bev and Siun, I’m checking in just a couple of minutes early to be sure I can do it.

Stan

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Welcome Stan! and thanks Bev!

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

(Sorry, I’m getting database errors here – trying another browser)

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:02 pm
In response to Siun @ 3

Nice to be here Siun, I see it is working. Thanks very much for the kind introduction!

Stan

dakine01 August 25th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Good afternoon Stan and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Hi Siun!

Stan, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but it sounds like you have created a ‘universe’ in some ways similar to the one that Gordon Dickson did in his “Childe Cycle”

Who are your influences?

RIP Neil Armstrong

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:04 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 6

I met Gordon Dickson a few times but never read his work. For me the crucial science fiction writers were the New Wave writers of 1965-75 (that included Dickson in a way) mostly Le Guin, Wolfe, Delany, Russ, Disch, Lem, the Strugatski brothers, and many others. The science fiction field has always been a kind of communal effort, as if from a small town scattered through time and space.

Stan

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I am so glad you liked the comments – and so honored to have you chat with us today.

Before we really jump in, I wanted to note Neil Armstrong’s passing.

His steps on Moon filled so many of us with dreams of space and can inspire us today to take those great leaps.

It’s somehow particularly fitting we get to sit and talk today with Stan about life in space (and on earth)

Eli August 25th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hi Stan, thanks for joining us! I’m almost finished with the book and enjoying it immensely, especially the “reanimation” sequence, which was beautiful.

Roughly what proportion of the technology and culture in the book would you say is your own expectation or prediction of things that will happen, vs. stuff that is just pure storytelling? The idea that we will dither for 55 years on climate change seems like prediction, maybe even an optimistic one.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

That’s certainly quite a list – and represents a fascinating time in SF. I wonder as well if you’re influenced by John Brunner – I often feel as if we live in Brunner times and yet you seem to maintain optimism in the midst of it!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
In response to Siun @ 8

It’s sad to hear about Armstrong. Back in May I attended Spacefest in Tucson, and six of the twelve men who walked on the moon were in the hotel talking on panels, seeming very vibrant and somehow immune to age, but obviously it isn’t so. Armstrong was of course the most private of them all. But I noticed all the other astronauts revered him as the one they could count on in a fix, etc.

Stan

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to Eli @ 9

Some of the developments I portrayed struck me as strange and shocking and I put them in on purpose; they are even counter-intuitive to what we think we know now (like smaller being longer-lived) but I wanted to make the point that any future 300 years from now is going to be shocking to us.

Stan

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

That’s so nice to hear – what a special group that is!

I keep hoping that Curiousity and now perhaps the honoring of Armstrong will remind us of the possibilities.

dakine01 August 25th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I came to sci-fi in my 20s and have always enjoyed it when the author has created a seemingly plausible universe. Dickson did an excellent job in that respect so highly recommend (fwiw)

I think it is the inherent optimism that we will be able to reach out into the stars no matter how we muck up Mother Earth that astounds me most

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
In response to Siun @ 10

Yes, I really like Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, the Jagged Orbit and Shockwave Rider, which form a quartet and are amazingly predictive of the feel of our time now.

I was asked to write an intro to the Centipede Press version of Stand On Zanzibar, and thus structured 2312 like that book, but both are modeled on John Dos Passos’ USA trilogy.

Stan

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 14

2312 makes the point that we will not be able to get the stars, as they are too far away. The solar system however is within human travel, it is in effect the neighborhood (and permanently).

Stan

Eli August 25th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

And yet, there is still a lot that is familiar or unsurprising, like the aftermath of global warming on Earth, and the cruel economic inequality perpetuated by indifference and/or cynical calculation.

But I love the evolutionary aspects of it, the wonder and potential of the universes in science fiction are what hook me on the genre – it’s a boundless dimension that no other type of fiction can offer.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

One aspect of Stan’s work Dakine that I particularly appreciate is the amount of “real” science he weaves in – I learn so much even having a dreadful background in the sciences in general.

Stan, I believe you were not a science student. What set you off on learning so much of it? (Thinking Martian geolofy and Antarctic environments)?

dakine01 August 25th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

What? No “astrogation” or “Warp drive” or “folding space” or any of the other mechanisms used by so many?

Eli August 25th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Well, we can still get to the stars, we just can’t get back again…

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hi!

I will try to control my excitement at having this opportunity.

Welcome Kim Stanley Robinson!

The Mars Trilogy was my introduction to KSR and I’ve re-read it several times and recommended it to all who can read.

I’m 2/3 of the way through 2312. It is a very slow read for me – I keep stopping to look up the many terms and references I don’t understand.

“Piloerection” ???!!! (goosebumps) please!

There is so much to study and understand. But some things hit the mark instantly.

“There’s no solution but justice for everybody. It’s the only thing that will make us safe.”, Swan

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:15 pm
In response to Siun @ 18

The trick with the future histories in sf is to make them seem both familiar and possible, and yet surprising somehow.

My science comes out of reading and talking to scientists. Also I am married to one, and that has helped a lot. Reading Science News every week (or now two weeks) for 35 years has been an ongoing education. Then also some of it is a literary technique, a matter of the proper rhetoric deployed. Lastly, if you ask scientists about their work, the only real problem will be getting them to stop!

S

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hi hpschd – I share your excitement!

And love the quote you selected from Swan.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 19

If I wanted to do a galactic story I would gladly choose one of those, and in Galileo’s Dream I had a functioning time machine, which is in some ways the same as faster than light, and just as impossible.

But for 2312 and my more realist sf, no. Light speed isn’t just a good idea….

S

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:17 pm
In response to Eli @ 20

That’s right, you could leave, but it would be a new strand of history. The multi-generational starship story is a great sub-genre of sf.

S

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I did not realize your wife was a scientist – what a handy in-house reference! ;->

Are your children now old enough to explore your books? I love the description in The Martians of you and your son.

Suzanne August 25th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

welcome mr robinson. thank you for being here. like siun, i was gobsmacked reading this book — all i can add to her wonderful introduction is my thanks to you for writing this fantastic book.

wow — such an inadequate word but your book wow’d me.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:18 pm
In response to hpschd @ 21

Thanks I’m glad you are enjoying 2312 and that you liked the Mars books!

There are lots of ways that 2312 is a kind of successor to the Mars trilogy even though the history isn’t exactly the same in the two. But I was thinking about how the Mars books worked and trying to build off that in a new single volume set later in time.

S

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Your mention of the “dahlgren sun” struck a chord with me.

I thought of “Unk and Boaz in the caves of Mercury during the long passage through the utilidor.

“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, Heinlein, has resonances.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
In response to Siun @ 26

My boys are now 23 and 17 and they read some of my books but not all of them. I think they are keeping their distance from the ones they know they appear in, but I’m not sure.

S

Glenn W. Smith August 25th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Hope and imagination are twin protagonists in all your work. It can’t be easy sustaining such visions today. But I sure am glad you do!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 27

Thanks Suzanne, I really enjoyed writing this one, it seemed to be tapping into lots of good things.

S

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to hpschd @ 29

I’m a big fan of Delany and his great novel Dhalgren.

I’m always for Asimov and against Heinlein, but The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a great novel and my favorite of his. The computer narrator, the social arrangements, the sense of the moon actually being a moon— all great.

S

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Goodness, we’re all getting older!

About the mention of 2312 being a successor, I kept thinking about that. Over at IO9, a reviewer wrote: “Planets start to become more like nations in conflict, and the camaraderie of colonization morphs into the opening acts of a war.”

Now perhaps I am too in love with the vision of Blue Mars, but I did feel there was more darkness in 2312 and wondered if that reflects the experience of living longer in the Age of Dithering, of seeing us go so much further to the edge of Earth damage? For example, 2312′s Mars seem less revolutionary in ways and more “the establishment”? As I say, perhaps my own nostalgia in play here but curious if you feel this is accurate?

Suzanne August 25th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

i’ve enjoyed reading it! what research did you do in creating your worlds? reading it i thought you must know a lot about geologic and biologic processes.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to Glenn W. Smith @ 31

Thank you Glenn!

There is this South American phrase “the situation is too serious, we can’t afford to be pessimists any more.”

It’s a kind of policy.

S

Glenn W. Smith August 25th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Words to live by.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
In response to Siun @ 34

Siun, it is true, Blue Mars and the Mars trilogy is more utopian in many ways, and 2312 shows the darkening of the last 15 years of global history, the sense that things will stay a mess for a long time. But this may be true at the same time that progress is made in other areas, which ultimately may prevail. So I feel like 2312 also is utopian, but in the ongoing redefinition of utopia I have long been suggesting that it’s a name for a particular kind of struggle, and that it will go on for a long time and been pretty painful throughout. But with some good results!

S

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:27 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 35

Suzanne my research these days is mostly on the internet, but also I phone scientists I know often, and I got Chris McKay to convene a lunch group at NASA/Ames in Mountain View and I went down and asked the eight or nine people there a couple hours of questions, it was great help.

S

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thank you for that. Many of us who read and write here work a lot in political organizing etc and certainly current times are … daunting. This long view I find especially helpful since things feel so dark … The IO9 Reviewer (who I had not read before) said something like the optimism is based in the evolution being so human which is a very interesting thought to counter some of our (my!) impatience!

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Hi, Stan and Siun, I loved the book. Stan, could you tell us a bit about the ideas on revolution that are sprinkled throughout the book?

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I could echo a lot of the comments above, but I’ll restrain myself . . .

I’m about 2/3s through the book, and two things slow me down. One is the delightful way in which you weave references in, such as the names given to various craters, equations, etc. Some I recognized as real, others as clearly invented, but there were still others that I could not tell the difference. Most scientists might get the honor of naming such things once in their lifetime, but you had the delightful ability to name thousands!

The other thing that slowed me down is that I am putting in a small patio right now, and I kept going back and forth between the book and the hole in the ground out back. I’d read the descriptions of Swan rolling in the dirt of Earth (and elsewhere), and had to just stop for a minute (or fifteen) to ponder the dirt under my fingernails. Many sections of the novel are so poetically well crafted that they demanded I pause to savor them. Many thanks!

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I’m also a fan of your explorations of evolving sexuality. We make certain assumptions when we begin 2312 and then discover that characters we see as male have had children, as female have fathered children and all sorts of multi-permutations and preferences are simply the norm. This feels like a very liberating vision – in fact it reminds me a touch of the wonderful visit we had last week with Kate Bornstein about her book Queer and Pleasant Danger since she embraces and embodies a much more fluid experience of gender than most of us have had. I think she’d easily thrive in Swan’s circles!

Do you see trends now that point to that type of expansion of our lives in the future?

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I started out reading a library copy of 2312 (currently the Toronto library has 33 copies with 84 holds!). That was too slow and I couldn’t renew it for all the holds.

So I bought the ebook from Kobo and I find it much better as I can instantly look up definitions for unfamiliar words (there are many) and go to Wikipedia links for things like qubits, Ibn Battuta, Beethoven Op. 134 (I listened to a youtube performance while reading) and many scientific, medical, literary references (The Miracle of the roses of St. Elizabeth – Hungary or Portugal? BTW)

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I love your stuff is there a site or anyplace where the science is explained in your books? My brother turned me onto you I will send him this chat he is going to be sooo pissed he missed this!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:35 pm
In response to Siun @ 40

Political work is hard work and it wears you down, and it’s very important that the young pick up the mantle and carry forward with their fresh energy, and we’re seeing a fair bit of that, so that’s encouraging I think. And there are so many developments in not just technologies but social technologies, systems of getting along. Lots of time I lump all this work together as being The Great Work that rolls along under the radar no matter what the soap opera of the political moment happens to be: science, in other words, but also a better understanding of how the world works. But all that has to be fought for too–the political part.

So, the long view helps. MLK Jr’s long arc of history, the various utopian future histories inherent in science fiction, etc.

S

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to Peterr @ 42

Get an ebook version – instant references and links.
I had the same confusion.

Eli August 25th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to Siun @ 40

Although it’s kind of a dark kind of optimism. A lot of what we are dreading now will actually come to pass, especially in the realm of climate change… but humanity will survive and continue to thrive. And, hopefully, find a way to salvage the biodiversity that is lost here.

Teddy Partridge August 25th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Well, this is very exciting! How grand to have you here, Mr Robinson. Before reading the previous comments (ignore this if it’s been addressed) my question is about your optimistic, aspirational view of human nature as expressed throughout the Mars Trilogy. I found the lack of (focus on?) crime against persons and property extremely refreshing. But perhaps slightly unrealistic?

I wonder if your later work includes a different approach to human nature: do people in the book under discussion live so greatly and so communally that crime is a wild aberration? (Not speaking of political crime, of course.) Have you modified your presentation of humanity to include the base and low as well as the excellent and intelligent?

Thanks again for visiting us today, and thanks to Siun for hosting.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

The Great Work – reminds me of Joanna Macy’s talk of “the great turning” … both images I find very helpful.

Cynthia Kouril August 25th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I want to compliment you on the wordsmithing of your prose.

Most of the time, Sci Fi is all about the science and the imagination. This book is also so much more about the quality of the sentence construction, the choice of words, the rythm of some of the sentences that require you to say them out loud.

This was so much more than what I was expecting. This is my first experience with your work.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to masaccio @ 41

I’m a hippie leftist from the early 1970s in my original political orientations, so ever since I’ve been thinking about revolutions and how we both need them, a few more, maybe always, while in their violent armed struggle form it was mostly poor people in the third world getting killed while their supporters in the USA were also paying taxes for the weapons killing these same people. New ideas of what revolution is were obviously necessary, and in 1989 and after we saw quite a few revolutions of varying kinds, so it is easy to conceptualize more.

My quantum AI Pauline is an expert on everything so when Swan asks her about revolution it is interesting to see what comes up. I did a reading where I had the novelist Cecelia Holland take Pauline’s part while I did Swan’s–great fun.

S

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
In response to Peterr @ 42

Thank you Peter,

I think most of the crater and feature names in the novel are real ones already. Certainly on Mercury, and I bet on Mars and really everywhere. The IAU naming committee has been really good.

I like patio work!

Cynthia Kouril August 25th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

The other thing I found refreshing about your work, is the seamless way you weave so many other disciplies into it and depth of you research into art, philosphy, music, history and especially etymology.

I learned so much about those things.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

oooh – is there a recording? what fun indeed! I love Pauline’s suggestions on revolution and Swan’s actions!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Siun @ 43

Yes, people like Kate are more common, and more accepted, and the bio-tech abilities we have in fertility are suggestive and growing. People may end up thinking, “I want to be everything,” and be able to act on that…

I’ve been a Mr. Mom for 23 years and so thinking about these cultural roles and how they mix with biology oddly now….

S

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Getting “a better understanding of how the world works,” in my mind, is why I like science fiction, particularly the genre in which you write.

Years ago, I was an exchange student, and lived with a family that spoke no English. By inhabiting their world with them for a time, I learned a great deal not only about their culture, but also about my own — and that’s the learning that sticks with you most.

As it was with that experience, so it is when I read science fiction like 2312. As much as I enjoy diving into the “other world” of the novel, it’s the way in which I see things differently in my own that makes me say “This is a good book!”

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to hpschd @ 44

Hungary! What is the Portugal story??

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

The internet!

We have the Encyclopedia Galactica right on our desk now. Very little I refer to can’t be found there, unless I flat made it up, which I do do sometimes. But I lose my sense of which is which as a book goes on.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

The space diaspora occurred as late capitalism writhed in its internal decision concerning whether to destroy the Earth’s biosphere or change its rules. Many argued for the destruction of the biosphere, as being the lesser of two evils.

The carbon fiber ladder you discuss in your books to get spacecraft into the air is it better than electromagnetic catapults from an energy, safety etc standpoint? I have heard carbon fiber can cause asbestos type problems

The Highly Reliable Reusable Launch System would use the linear induction motor launch system for its first stage and to a speed of about Mach 1.5. After that, a second-stage ramjet engine would propel the spacecraft to Mach 4, where a rocket would complete the trip to orbit, Kloesel said. Aside from the weight reduction, the combination is anticipated to be reliable, he said. It also would be more environmentally friendly than current booster rocket engines, he said.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/X-Press/aerovations/future_concepts.html

A launch loop or Lofstrom loop is a proposed system for launching objects into space orbit using a moving cable-like system situated inside a sheath attached to the earth at two ends and suspended above the atmosphere in the middle. The design concept was published by Keith Lofstrom and describes an active structure maglev cable transport system that would be around 2,000 km (1,240 mi) long and maintained at an altitude of up to 80 km (50 mi). A launch loop would be held up at this altitude by momentum of a belt that circulates around the structure. This circulation, in effect, transfers the weight of the structure onto a pair of magnetic bearings, one at each end, which support it.
Launch loops are intended to achieve non-rocket spacelaunch of vehicles weighing 5 metric tons by electromagnetically accelerating them so that they are projected into Earth orbit or even beyond. This would be achieved by the flat part of the cable which forms an acceleration track above the atmosphere.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_loop

T

oxicity
The toxicity of carbon nanotubes has been an important question in nanotechnology. Such research has just begun. The data are still fragmentary and subject to criticism. Preliminary results highlight the difficulties in evaluating the toxicity of this heterogeneous material. Parameters such as structure, size distribution, surface area, surface chemistry, surface charge, and agglomeration state as well as purity of the samples, have considerable impact on the reactivity of carbon nanotubes. However, available data clearly show that, under some conditions, nanotubes can cross membrane barriers, which suggests that, if raw materials reach the organs, they can induce harmful effects such as inflammatory and fibrotic reactions.[59]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_nanotube#Toxicity

Would your carbon fiber ladder be made of carbon nano tubes? I would love to hear you discuss the pros and cons of the various methods to get into space and your opinion of Ionic engines and will NASA use them.
Also Russian solid fuel rockets why don’t we use solid fuel?

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

A little bit.

The plot of 2312 involves Inspector Genette and Swan coming to grips with the problem of the bad or of human evil or however you care to define it. Something that is in us in potential that will never go away.

But if everyone has a sufficiency, it will be interesting to see how often it manifests. We clearly need to try that experiment before we will know more about ourselves….

S

Glenn W. Smith August 25th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Richard Sennett’s new book, Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation is very much about “The Great Work that rolls along under the radar.”

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 51

Thank you Cynthia!

Something about this particular book allowed me to write those sentences, it was a lovely thing.

I would also recommend to you the book just before this one, Galileo’s Dream, for the writing itself.

Either I’m getting better ideas, or else I’m getting impatient with the old way of doing things, and for once getting older is doing some good!

S

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to Siun @ 43

I was curious regarding the relationship between bisexual hormone treatments and longevity in the book.

Is there current research which would indicate this is a possibility?

There is a report in the novel that no small gynandromorph or androgyn had died of natural causes and some were over 210.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 54

The book gave me the excuse and really forced me to get into everything like this.

I owe a lot to my editor Tim Holman who looked at the proposal for the book and was extremely supportive and among everything else, said go for it, go big, and so on. Very inspirational.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to Siun @ 55

Yes Rick Kleffel has it on The Agony Column, online

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
In response to hpschd @ 64

Certainly an intriguing part of the book – and I have to admit that the older I get, the more I appreciate Stan’s longevity hypotheses!

But also there’s the interesting bits about what happens to memory as we live longer – something we forget to consider perhaps even now?

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Those names I figured were real. But it was the little touches like Genette’s AI named Passepartout that were the creative things where the naming had all kinds of subtleties. It added a lot of texture to the narrative, and selecting those names was clearly not just “let’s check the random name generator and see what pops out.”

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I am ignorant on all these issues, although I keep track of the current space elevator efforts (see Liftport of Seattle) and just learned the unit for strength of materials here, the something-yuri named after the Russian who proposed the method first.

The magnetic catapult is described on Mercury in 2312 and is sometimes called the Slingatron (!!) it sounds great.

S

Teddy Partridge August 25th, 2012 at 2:52 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 51

As one who came late — this year! — to Mr Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, I envy you all the new experiences you have to look forward to!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:52 pm
In response to Glenn W. Smith @ 62

Thanks Glenn I will get this it will help me.

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Based on the characters in 2312 – the real sexual revolution is yet to come!

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

they were now their own unavoidable experiment, and were making themselves many things they had never been before: augmented, multi-sexed, and most importantly, very long-lived, the oldest at that point being around two hundred years old. But not one whit wiser, or even more intelligent. Sad but true: individual intelligence probably peaked in the Upper Paleolithic, and we have been self-domesticated creatures ever since, dogs when we had been wolves…

Intelligence might peak but surely in the future genetic tests for psychopaths, sociopaths and the authoritarian personality disorder will be available plus we will have a better understanding of the nurture side of this problem.
If we stop wasting energy time etc on violence and focus on ending want creating opportunity we would have more time especially with longer life spans to learn more.
The more people we have who are smarter and talk via the internet the more people can build on each others ideas.
Scott Paige in ” the difference “ http://www.amazon.com/The-Difference-Diversity-Creates-Societies/dp/0691128383

Points out that groups of people with different backgrounds, education etc can often solve problems better than a group of experts can.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to hpschd @ 64

No, this is science fiction; a Strange New Thing we don’t suspect now.

It is true that I was following up on the suggestion that for the elderly, therapies often include balancing the sexual hormones in various ways, and it seemed at least possible effects could be good by using both in balances.

Same with size. At first I was thinking in high gravities, small would be better, and then I was thinking about our prejudices now and wanted to boggle them.

However we manage it, the longevity effort is something almost everyone can support! And we are living longer already. How far that can go is completely unknown, except: it looks like it will be hard….

So the sooner we get at it the better!

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I knew something you didn’t heck I don’t understand half the science in your books even one win is an honor sir!
Pablo my brother is going to be shocked!

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Stan, as you hear from readers, are there people who surprised you with their reactions to your book? I’m especially curious about politicians . . .

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

The revolution that you create is wonderful. It takes the form of a quandary for everyone on earth, forcing them to deal with something completely new, and it is done without using violence or death as the force. It is a wonderfully inventive idea, and to have it introduced by the least revolutionary person in the book was an insight into character that gave that person real depth.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

As another lefty of the same time (a little bit older than you) I’m interested in how your political views were shaped?

Do you find any political work these days pointing in the right direction?

(I am most encouraged by the Occupy folks for example – and FDL has been particularly supportive of them)

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Peterr @ 68

Yes, I love symbolic names and symbolic weather, and have never hesitated in either realm to play the game to the full. Dickens is the great model here. At some point we know it’s literature, so the games of literature are okay to play.

Genette comes from the French critic Gerard Genette whose book on the novel is one of the best I’ve read, but Genette is also from Inspector Maigret. Actually, I made a mistake there (several really) in that Genette’s first name should be spelled Gen to be completely non-gendered; I thought Jean would do that but was confusing my English and French there, as in French it is clearly male. Also, at least five times I referred to Genette as he or with a his, when the inspector was supposed to never have a gender attribution. Which causes great acrobatics in sentence construction to do, I should add! So very vexing to blow it anyway, but I will fix for the paperback.

S

eCAHNomics August 25th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

The criticism that I am aware of wrt lefties return to nature is that it is the lefties’ version of austerity.

Any comments?

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I seem to recall something about radiation resistance and altering DNA in one of your books whats the latest on that tech?

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
In response to Peterr @ 77

I once heard from the mayor of Irvine in Orange County, after Pacific Edge came out, and that was great.

Other than that, don’t recall responses from politicians (oh, except Greens, yes, in Australia, England, and Germany, and France too. They’ve all been very supportive as you might expect.)

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I’m a pastor (with degrees in not just theology but also math and economics), and I do the same literary gymnastics when it comes to God language, to get away from the exclusive male imagery. It’s not always easy, but well worth the effort!

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Hmmm … the DC insiders did not, then, take warning from the Science in the Capital series? Perhaps sadly not surprising but maybe we should organize an effort to make them notice!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to masaccio @ 78

Thank you Masaccio, that’s the scene I love the most, and I wanted to do it like Patrick O’Brian does things in his Aubrey/Maturin books, and have a big important action moment simply fly by, almost too fast to see; this seems to create a powerful effect if the scenes is prepared for correctly, not blowing the surprise of it but setting the context for it well.

And Wahram, well he was a real pleasure to write about, what a character.

When things go well these really do seem like other people to me, phoning in their lives. It is the best part of the writing experience. I would feel a little crazy, like Calvin with his inert doll that he talks to, but the thing is, readers do the reading, and imagine the events of the book and therefore do a huge bit of the creative work. I put together sentences like playing pick-up sticks, it’s very slow and careful work, but readers can read through at their pace and live it, in ways I can’t. So I listen and hear enough to think the characters are not me, somehow, and the work of writing the sentences gets more fun as that interaction goes on.

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I want to pick up on your mention of “the young” . . .

A lot of the SF you and others have mentioned is written for adults. What suggestions would you offer for young teens, to introduce them to good SF?

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

As Peterr’s mentions God language – Communal or ritual spirituality plays such a core role in Mars and several others of your works yet seems rather absent from 2312 – until Swan’s wonderful realization: No moment is ever fundamentally different from this one. Focus and be calm.

Did you consciously chose to step away from the ambassadors from Khembalung, the veriditas rituals, the Sufis chanting the names of Mars? Or just happen to birth characters this time who have a more interior spirituality?

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:08 pm
In response to Siun @ 79

I had a draft number during Vietnam and was in college during the protests, and very interested in global affairs and radicalized by that war. Also, trained by my teacher the critic Fredric Jameson, a huge stroke of luck for me as he is a very insightful and helpful teacher to anyone who reads him.

Yes, the Occupy movement, one clear sign, and I think the window of acceptable discourse has lurched far to the left since the 2008 crash, many of us are saying things that before 2008 would have been questioned and now seem obvious. But what will actually come of it? We’re still in that struggle, obviously.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Reading the Mars trilogy, where Robinson mixes serious science with a stunning array of political and spiritual responses to how we might organize our worlds –

Science guided by a desire for a better world is my hope but in today’s political climate I keep thinking of Jared Diamonds ” Collapse ” and his idea that societies collapse when the ruling class is insulated from their mistakes.
The common idea is we rebuild society and then make the same mistakes again. Whats to stop us from making that mistake again?
My idea of screening for psychos is one idea that might help a little but I wonder how you would deal with the problem.
Also how close do you think are current system is to collapse or entering space like you propose in your books?

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

There are so many wonderful moments is the book. The Concert in Beethoven Crater was especially fine, particularly in view of what followed.

I was unfamiliar with the Op. 134 version of the Grosse Fugue (although I have had great fun over the years playing 4 hand arrangements of Beethoven – I did not know that that one existed)

As it happened I was listening to it as I read and it was an intense background to the events that followed in the novel. Piloerections! Horripilation!

So whenever you mention a work – I put it on.
Although I find that late Bruckner (8,9) is good with it too.

Would these be favorite selections? (mine too)

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:10 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 81

Return to nature is not a good phrase for anyone to espouse, I fear. It is going to be a high-tech response that acknowledges the primary importance of the natural world, the biosphere, Earth itself. So it is a mixed ideology as I believe science itself is an unconscious leftism and utopian force; but capitalism can buy so much. So it’s a struggle and the response has to be creative and not stick to older formulations.

Teddy Partridge August 25th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

So, in the second hour: what have we to look forward to? What’s next on your desk, sir?

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

We certainly are. It’s one of the reasons I am such an avid fan … the Mars trilogy and now 2312 really lead us to question and rethink the options before us. All the pickup stix are tossed into the air … and we suddenly see there are many more options than we ever imagined – and perhaps we can end up at Pacific Edge.

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Don’t forget, Swan takes great pleasure in singing the Satyagrapa in large groups. It makes me think of St. Augustine: those who sing pray twice.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to Siun @ 85

To be fair, there are lots of DC insiders who are big fans of my Science in the Capital trilogy, not just its politics but just as a portrait of life in the city. I was forgetting them but really they run into the dozens who have contacted me, and every time there is a flood there or anything relating to climate law, I get forwarded e-mails etc. And I go back to talk at NSF and to various universities and think tanks there. Sorry, I should have mentioned that. It’s been quite good and I hope it goes on.

One funny story, a high-up technocrat apparently sold his house and moved into an RV in a park after reading the book, which is probably taking Frank’s experience way too far. But I had help when writing the book from Rita Colwell, head of NSF, who naturally liked my woman head of NSF character, and had good advice for me for volumes two and three! She was and is great.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

a high-up technocrat apparently sold his house and moved into an RV in a park after reading the book

Oh this is too wonderful! Roaring with laughter here … !

Everytime I head to DC, I love picking out the locations from those books … and dreaming of scientist running the show!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
In response to Peterr @ 87

Cory Doctorow, Paolo Bacigalupi; these are doing great YA novels with progressive social themes.

Also, I think any young person can read any science fiction and enjoy it. I don’t believe in the YA genre per se, because so often I have had twelve year-olds come up and tell me how much they enjoyed my books, and I find this alarming in some ways, but in others, it shows you things.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:16 pm
In response to Siun @ 88

This is an interesting question Siun that I don’t immediately have an answer for. I think it is a real phenomenon, 2312 is more secular throughout, but I don’t know why. Maybe it is just Swan and Wahram and Genette and their personal predilictions. Not sure.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:16 pm
In response to Peterr @ 87

Though Peterr asked Stan, I will toss in that Ray Bradbury’s R is for Rocket worked for me as a young reader then set Kit (my son) off on the good SF path … and he in turn brought me back to read the Mars Trilogy as it appeared!

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

These are good and hard questions.

There is nothing intrinsically keeping us from a Jared Diamond Collapse on a global scale. It could happen.

It is a big system and therefore may be more robust; surely is; than Greenland or Easter Island.

Still the lesson is there. It is easily possible for us to spark a food crisis and then global conflicts that make things worse.

So we need to be very careful indeed and go forward with that knowledge. That would be part of the robustness of our response.

Entering space will come too late to help us in the current century. It’s a small tool in fixing a big problem, right now.

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

As the parent of a ten year old, I know the “alarming” feeling of which you speak!

Too often, YA seems crafted to enforce conformity and established rules. Thus, it comes off as fingerwagging or moralistic, rather than fun, engaging, and challenging.

[That, and too many YA editors/writers seem petrified of anything having to do with sex and bodies. "We can't talk about that in a YA book!" To me, it's not a question of "do we talk about sex" and related matters, but "how do we talk about them?".]

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I remember reading about in Popular Science I think about a hollow donut shaped toy with a ball inside the ball kept the donut flying straight once thrown I wonder if this could create artificial gravity?

also you thoughts on how the Pioneer anomaly might effect space travel.

Pioneer 10 and 11 were sent on missions to Jupiter and Jupiter/Saturn respectively. Each spacecraft was spin-stabilised in order to keep its high-gain antenna pointed towards Earth using gyroscopic forces. Although the spacecraft included thrusters, after the planetary encounters they were used only for semiannual conical scanning maneuvers to track Earth in its orbit,[5] leaving them on a long “cruise” phase through the outer solar system. During this period, both spacecraft were repeatedly contacted to obtain various measurements on their physical environment, providing valuable information long after their initial missions were complete.
Since the spacecraft were flying with almost no additional stabilization thrusts during their “cruise”, it is possible to characterize the density of the solar medium by its effect on the spacecraft’s motion. In the outer solar system this effect would be easily calculable, based on ground-based measurements of the deep space environment. When these effects were taken into account, along with all other known effects, the calculated position of the Pioneers did not agree with measurements based on timing the return of the radio signals being sent back from the spacecraft. These consistently showed that both spacecraft were closer to the inner solar system than they should be, by thousands of kilometres—small compared to their distance from the Sun, but still statistically significant. This apparent discrepancy grew over time as the measurements were repeated, suggesting that whatever was causing the anomaly was still acting on the spacecraft.
As the anomaly was growing, it appeared that the spacecraft were moving more slowly than expected. Measurements of the spacecraft’s speed using the Doppler effect demonstrated the same thing: the observed redshift was less than expected, which meant that the Pioneers had slowed down more than expected.
When all known forces acting on the spacecraft are taken into consideration, a very small but unexplained force remains. It appears to cause an approximately constant sunward acceleration of 8.74±1.33×10−10 m/s2 for both spacecraft. If the positions of the spacecraft are predicted one year in advance based on measured velocity and known forces (mostly gravity), they are actually found to be some 400 km closer to the sun at the end of the year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

I was just researching this for fun today and was saving it to read later after I got off the net. Your thoughts would be great.
Jung synchronicity :)

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:21 pm
In response to hpschd @ 91

Yes, I love all these works, I transported my loves into Wahram pretty much directly. The op. 134 being by Beethoven is a great version of the Grosse Fugue as there seems to be more clarity to the four hands banging than the four stringed instruments bowing. Great either way of course.

When my wife and I were in Nepal trekking, I whistled part of every day, doing the Beethoven and Brahms I remembered, and I learned at one point that our Nepali porters thought I was making up these tunes I was whistling, and they were very impressed! I have not been able to use that memory until this book.

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I’m not sure what you meant by this:

“There’s a gift economy in people’s feelings that precedes all the rules. Set up one and people give themselves to it.” Swan to Wahram

Could you talk about this, how it could work?

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Next up for me is a novel set in the paleolithic, 32,000 years ago, describing the group of people who first paint in the Chauvet cave in southern France, discovered in 1995 and featured in Werner Herzog’s recent film.

I’m almost done with it, but I don’t want to be done yet. I will work on it more through the fall just for the love of it, and it will probably get published next year, about a year after 2312 was published.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

When will your new book hit the library Sunday I will ask them if they can get it or is the release of your book to recent?

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Was that the trek in Escape From Kathmandu?

Do you still do great walks? I thought of some of your accounts of walking while reading of the wonderful distance runners in Born to Run.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to Peterr @ 102

I don’t like the idea of YA, but read some when I was a kid (when it was just children’s literature) so I should stay open to possibilities. But rules… still, I hear YA now wants to be rather brutal and about social problems etc., it’s a new norm. I really don’t know. I think they should just read fiction of any and every kind.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

The physics here is way beyond me.

Interstellar travel is off the table anyway, as far as I’m concerned, so this is not the main problem.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Can we but in a request now for a return visit to explore the Paleolithic? (admitting that I am startled by the timeline! but then Years of Rice and Salt as well as Gallileo were also surpises!)

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Interesting why did man get intelligence but then developed so many anti social traits like psychpaths, sociopaths etc and how did we keep a group society with these traits when other animals don’t have these traits?
Is there perhaps some benefit to these traits in small doses like sickle cell anemia one gene from a parent protects from malaria 2 genes kills you young?
Just how can we have accomplished so much more than animals when we have these traits and they don’t?

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
In response to hpschd @ 105

We evolved as cooperators and giving social creatures, so when there is open source computing possibilities, or unpatented genetic engineering improvement in crops, etc., formats I mean for giving work, people with a sufficiency and an expertise will give their time and expertise to good works. It happens all the time, so this is what Swan was pointing out. Can political systems take more advantage of this human propensity, can economics account for it and reward it properly? Big questions.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Libraries usually get books about when they come out, including sometimes e-book and audio versions.

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I’m curious about the literary devices of the lists and extracts that appear throughout. What inspired you to use them, and how did you envision the relationship of them to the prose chapters?

Very, very thought provoking stuff.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to Siun @ 108

I’ve read that book, it’s excellent.

I’m just back from three weeks in the high Sierra of California, three different treks, all great. Lots of walking, lots of storms, star bowls, rock and so on. I’ve stopped traveling the world for my mountains and have focused almost completely on the southern Sierra Nevada.

I edited a book of Kenneth Rexroth’s Sierra Nevada poems and prose, he was very good at capturing the appeal of all that, and New Directions agreed enough to publish the book. Lots of fun if you have that interest.

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Yes, things happen that seem enormously problematic, and the people in your book just start working to solve the problem.

Two other things I really liked. First, Warham’s idea of the pseudo-iterative life. There is something so natural and positive about that, something that the willfully unanchored Swan can barely see.

Second, I like the singing that moves Swan and Wahram. It isn’t solo singing. They sing and dance in groups. That is one thing I really miss about community life. I saw it in small towns in Italy and I hope it can survive TV and iPods.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

We saw bits of that gift economy in the early internet days – pre-web mostly – in which so much knowledge was suddenly a shared community conversation. Sadly as we expanded the net, we lost that to commercial interests but open source computing etc seem to point us back again in that direction.

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
In response to masaccio @ 95

Whoops, Satyagraha.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Things can go wrong, biologically or culturally or in personal histories. It’s a balancing act and not easy.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to Peterr @ 115

Thank you Peterr. I got the idea from the structure of John Dos Passos’ USA trilogy, which is now 80 years old and a little bit neglected compared to others of his time, but it is a very great American novel and I think it will come back and endure in the canon of American literature forever. Dos Passos wanted to portray a broad swath of American society and so he invented the four-stranded method of different kinds of texts: I imitated his table of contents format almost exactly, and altered his kind of entries a little (the lists are mine, the extracts are like his newspaper headlines and articles). It struck me as a very powerful method, and results seemed to prove it, at least to me. Brunner did the same thing in his Stand On Zanzibar quartet, 40 years ago.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Mentioning your upcoming book, I’m wondering if you still write short stories as well?

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Will you mention the aquatic ape hypothesis in your book or the latest theory about Atlantis in Spain in your next book?

The aquatic ape hypothesis (AAH) is a hypothesis about human evolution, which posits that the ancestors of modern humans spent a period of time adapting to life in a wet environment. AAH emerged from the observation that some traits that set humans apart from other primates have parallels in aquatic mammals. It was first proposed by German pathologist Max Westenhöfer in 1942, and then independently by British marine biologist Alister Hardy in 1960. After Hardy, the most prominent proponent has been Welsh screenwriter Elaine Morgan, who has written several books on the topic.

To solve the age-old mystery, the team analyzed satellite imagery of a suspected submerged city just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multiringed dominion known as Atlantis.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42072469/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/lost-city-atlantis-believed-found-spain/

The descriptions for the layout of the city match Atlantis it was probably made by survivors trying to recreate their lost city plus Spain is where the last surviving Neanderthal population lived. The cave paintings were done by Neanderthals I believe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

They certainly worked for me.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Also wondering, has anyone ever considered adapting your books for film? I’m not sure I’d want them too honestly but curious nonetheless?

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to masaccio @ 117

The pseudo-iterative is a literary idea from Gerard Genette who invents it to describe a thing that Proust does in his novel, which is describe what “always happened” but it would be so particular that obviously the scene was a one-time version of the always. Very, very nice. Wahram is Proustian in a lot of ways.

And music: I am so lucky, I live in a village and our friends put music in the center of their social lives, and I get to join them, because they are just playing in living rooms for themselves and don’t care if a musician even as bad as I am is blowing away on a melodica set on the floor so that no one can hear it. It’s something to do together, not perform for others, and it’s one of the best things in the world to do. Thank God my mom was a piano teacher and gave me some basics, before she set me onto the trumpet which is out of the world of living room folk music and Americana… but the melodica (almost a toy, plastic, Hohner, blow in and play a keyboard, sounds like a bad accordion) is okay as a gypsy touch or zydeco, in the Americana sound. So I do experience that and it’s wonderful.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to Siun @ 122

No, there is one new story in my Best Of collection recent from Nightshade Press, about the Berlin Philharmonic’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth for Hitler’s birthday in 1942; intense story and about Beethoven again, in some ways. But other than that, no short stories. A short story needs a very particular kind of good idea, and I don’t have any right now.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I accept the standard (still changing) account of human evolution. As for Atlantis, I think I’ve been there, the island of Santorini in the Aegean; very impressive.

Cave paintings were by homo sapiens. Neanderthals were in the region at the very start of the process, gone for most of it though.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I’ll have to look at the Best Of … I have particular fondness for Coming Back to Dixieland and actually the full Remaking History collection even though I tend not to head for short stories.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to Siun @ 125

Red Mars has often been optioned and the Mars trilogy is still actively being worked on by a good team in Hollywood, but no green lights anywhere and that’s where it would get more likely to happen.

I would appreciate the extra readers and money, but have a sense of the books that I fear any film adaptation would inevitably mess with. Still, the books would remain, so all in all, I hope it happens someday.

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I have given some thought to:

“Best self-interest lies in achieving universal well-being. People are foolish and bad, but want certain satisfactions enough to work for them. When the goal of self-interest is seen to be perfectly isomorphic with universal well-being, bad people do what it takes to get universal well-being.”
“Even Revolution”

This sounds a bit like what Adam Smith actually meant by “the invisible hand”

The problem with Earth in 2312 was that the technology that worked in space (self-replicating factories to develop infrastructure) failed completely on Earth. They were resisted and destroyed.

As you point out several times, people deeply invested in an oppressive culture will work against their own self-interests.

Technology alone will not save us. Jevons Paradox

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
In response to Siun @ 129

Thank you, I really liked that trade paperback from Tor of Remaking History, which had so many of my stories. But this new “best of” was edited by Jonathan Strahan, and he did a great job of choosing a book’s worth that represents me at my best in the short form. Lots of experiments!

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I see we are close to winding down time so …

For readers here new to Stan’s work, I really hope you will explore further. I’ve found the Mars Trilogy to be both tonic and inspiration, always new in each re-reading and always helping me keep going – and it has made me dream of living on Mars! But so many of Stan’s books – as you’re discovering with 2312 – have so much to teach us at the same time that they enthrall and entertain. I hope this Salon leads to more KSR reading – and more revolutions!

Stan, thank you so very much for your comments today and generosity of time here – and for the joy and wonder of your work!

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Siun are we getting anymore sci fi writers in future book clubs? Also Kim who are the sci fi writers you like?

BevW August 25th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

As we come to the last minutes of this great Book Salon discussion,

Stan, Thank you for stopping by the Lake, and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and inspirations.

Siun, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Stan’s website and book (2312)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Douglas Saunders / The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West?; Hosted by Siun.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to hpschd @ 131

Yes, all this seems right to me, and part of our problem.

Recently I’ve been trying to make the point that many things are “technologies” and thus we can actively consider the possibility of a “technological solution” to our climate and environmental problems. So I take people through it: writing is a technology, language is a technology. They change consciousness and behaviors. Thus software, in analogy. And laws. And then, justice. Justice is a technology that allows us to live together without killing each other off. A sense older than humanity (older primates have a clear sense of it). So, as we get justice we get less destruction of the Earth, which is worst from the richest and poorest people. Women’s rights become crucial because as women have legal control of their lives, population change falls to the replacement level or even below, and thus fewer problems from number of people alone.

Then people hopefully start seeing technology and possibilities for progress in a different way. The “silver bullet solution” being justice. Which capitalism doesn’t deliver, so we have a big struggle. But identifying the right struggle is an important part of it.

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

At the cave Font de Gaume in the Dordogne Valley, under one of the ledges carved out to hold oil for a lamp, there is the outline of a small hand in blue paint, blown over with a straw according to the guide. Our ancestors were a lot like us, I think.

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Things, I am sure Bev would welcome suggestions.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

. Neanderthals were in the region at the very start of the process, gone for most of it though.

Spain and France they lasted the longest and the latest science says we did interbreed with them but yes they would have been gone by then but I wonder if there were throwbacks still showing up?

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thank you Stan!

I love your books! You are the BEST!

Come back for the next one!

thanks to Siun, Bev, and all.

Kim Stanley Robinson August 25th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to BevW @ 135

Thanks Bev, thanks Siun, thanks all of you.

I like so many sf writers, but try the New Wavers I mentioned at the start, and almost any British sf writer working today. That will be enough to get you started.

My website is not mine, but rather belongs to the man who runs it, and does a great job keeping it focused on my work, so thanks to Kimon for that, and though I am not directly connected, you’ll get what you need to know about the books there.

thanks again,

best, Stan

Peterr August 25th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Many thanks, Stan, for your writing in the novel, and for your words here!

Siun August 25th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon – thanks again Stan and thanks to Bev who makes these possible.

BevW August 25th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to Siun @ 138

J. Michael Straczynski Babylon 5 describes the takeover of Earth by a RightWing government who is secretly working with aliens! Nightwatch sounds like Homeland security and the Feds.

hpschd August 25th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Thank you, enlightening, and clears up some of the book as regards justice that I did not understand.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

David Brin of course and I was going to mention Poul Anderson but I just found out he is dead.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict
A nonfiction essay that is embedded in There Will Be Time and attributed to the book’s fictional protagonist, but seems to reflect Anderson’s own views, sharply criticizes the American Left of 1972 (when it was written) for two instances of a double standard: for neglecting to address human rights violations in the Soviet Union and for failing to notice Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Anderson

Still the Guy deserves a Shout Out! In 1972 Poul was where FDL is now.

masaccio August 25th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Thank you for joining us at the Lake. I hope you will come by again.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

David Brin of course and I was going to mention Poul Anderson but I just found out he is dead.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict
A nonfiction essay that is embedded in There Will Be Time and attributed to the book’s fictional protagonist, but seems to reflect Anderson’s own views, sharply criticizes the American Left of 1972 (when it was written) for two instances of a double standard: for neglecting to address human rights violations in the Soviet Union and for failing to notice Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Anderson

Still the Guy deserves a Shout Out! In 1972 Poul was where FDL is now.

Martin van Crevald Israeli war historian who was against the Iraq war is not sci fi but still gets my vote.

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Gunther Gasse!

ThingsComeUndone August 25th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Gunter Grass sorry

Teddy Partridge August 25th, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I got pulled away, but thank you for answering my question; oh, my 35,000 years ago, isn’t that older than some of our countrymen believe the Earth is? ;)

Thanks so much for this wonderful talk today, and for your remarkable books. I’m at Powells tomorrow for 2312. And thanks to Siun — and Bev, as always.

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