India Bourke at The New Statesman:
Kim Stanley Robinson is, uncharacteristically, at a loss. As a science fiction writer, he is famed for dreaming up utopian futures. But when we meet for lunch in his Californian hometown, at times he struggles to maintain his cool.
“What the hell do we write at this point in history?” he asks. “My utopia has reached this low bar: if we avoid a mass extinction event, then, ‘Yay! Leave it at that.’”
Robinson has not always felt so cynical. Across a career spanning over 30 years, he has built a reputation as a pragmatic optimist. From his breakthrough Mars trilogy in the 1990s, about colonising the barren planet, to his latest novel, Red Moon, set at a lunar mine and in China, his novels have deployed science and diplomacy to explore how crises might play out in similar-but-better political worlds. If the Gulf Stream stalls, try adding salt. If climate change exacerbates cross-border conflict, try building better structures of international cooperation.