Recommended Reading: Kim Stanley Robinson in The New Yorker


The January 31st edition of The New Yorker has an article written by Joshua Rothman where he interviews Kim Stanley Robinson they hike through the Sierra mountains. The article,”Best-Case Scenario,” covers a lot of ground and has its ups and downs (sorry, I could not help myself). The Sierras offer a nice setting for experiencing the beauty of this strange planet while also scaring the reader about what may be lost as the hikers deal with the smoke of distant forest fires.

The two most prominent books discussed in the article are Mr. Stanley’s recent The Ministry for the Future and his 2015 novel Aurora, allowing the reader to appreciate both the uniqueness of this world as well as attempts by his characters to reach more distant worlds. I enjoyed reading both Aurora and Mr. Stanley’s Mars trilogy, but I should probably spend some time reading his works focusing on planet Earth. Mr. Stanley has made it clear that we need to preserve the one place in the universe that we know can host us. As he stated in BoingBoing back in 2015, “…there is no Planet B. Earth is our only home.”

With regard to expanding into our galaxy, in the same article he stated:

I’m not saying we shouldn’t go into space; we should. We should send people to the moon, and Mars, and the asteroids, and every place we can in the solar system, putting up stations and swapping humans in and out of them. This is not only a beautiful thing to do, but useful in helping us to design a long-term relationship with Earth itself. Space science is an Earth science. The solar system is our neighborhood. But the stars are too far away.

Mr. Stanley has spoken far and wide for some time about his novels, his views on space travel, and his concerns regarding our future. For more on all of this, you can try his Facebook page or this unofficial site. And you may want to check out some other articles in The New Yorker as well, such as this May 2021 piece, “Is Mars Ours?