Kim Stanley Robinson (born March 23, 1952) is an American Science Fiction writer, best known for his Red Mars Trilogy. His books combine strong science with powerful social themes. Ecology and sustainability are common recurring elements in his work.
Robinson came as close as you could get to having a PhD in Science Fiction: his doctoral dissertation in English was on the novels of Philip K. Dick.
His first novel, The Wild Shore (published the same year as his dissertation) was personally selected by legendary SF editor Terry Carr as the lead for a new series of noteworthy first novels that Carr was preparing for Ace books. The series, and Robinson, were a big hit, and the novel soon turned into a trilogy, with sequels The Gold Coast and Pacific Edge filling out his "Three Californias" sequence.
It was his Red Mars Trilogy, however, that moved Robinson to the top tier of SF writers. The three books earned nearly a dozen major SF awards internationally between them, including the Hugo, Nebula, Seiun (Japan), and Ignotus (Spain).
Works with a page on this wiki:
- Red Mars Trilogy (Red Mars (1993), Green Mars (1994), Blue Mars (1996))
- Aurora (2015)
- The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
- 2312 (2012)
Selected other works:
- The Three Californias trilogy
- The Wild Shore (1984)
- The Gold Coast (1988)
- Pacific Edge (1990)
- Icehenge (1984)
- The Memory of Whiteness (1985)
- Antarctica (1997)
- Science in the Capital series
- Forty Signs of Rain (2004)
- Fifty Degrees Below (2005)
- Sixty Days and Counting (2007)
- Galileo's Dream (2009)
- New York 2140 (2017)
- Red Moon (2018)
- The Ministry for the Future (2020)
Tropes in his other works:
- 20 Minutes into the Future: The Ministry for the Future, published in 2020, takes place some time later when the climate crisis is at a tipping point.
- Alternate History: The short story "The Lucky Strike" features Col. Paul Tibbets being killed in an accident before he can pilot the Enola Gay. The replacement crew includes a man who is far more troubled about dropping an atomic bomb on a city, and he sabotages the drop so it instead destroys a nearby forest. While he is court-martialed and executed, the US government is still able to convince the Japanese to surrender with the forest's destruction, leading to a much healthier future with atomic weapons gradually phased out.
- After the End: Subverted in The Wild Shore, it's only post-apocalyptic for America.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Galileo's Dream has Galileo visited by time travelers who show him how life is doing on the colonies of the Galilean Moons.
- Cassandra Truth: Icehenge plays with this. It's unclear whether the first third of the book is narrative or excerpts from a document that may or may not be contradicted by the rest of the novel.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Pacific Edge. Kevin Claiborne does not get Ramona; instead, she goes back to her Jerkass boyfriend, Alfredo.
- Doomsday Clock: In The Gold Coast, where it's about 2050 AD and the Cold War is still going on, one character mentions that the Doomsday Clock has been set at three seconds to midnight for several decades.
- Generation Ships: Aurora is chiefly set on a generation ship, which is approaching the end of its voyage at the start of the book. A major theme of the book is the fact that while the original generation-ship crew may have consented to their risky mission, their children don't get a choice.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Subverted in the post-apocalyptic novel, The Wild Shore. Tom gets a cough but doesn't die.
- Mysterious Antarctica: Antarctica. In this 20 Minutes into the Future world, secret communities in Antarctica are carrying out piracy and environmental terrorism in order to discourage mining and oil exploitation.
- The Power of Rock: In The Memory of Whiteness, the connection between mathematics and music is taken to extremes. The world's greatest physicist has also built the world's greatest musical instrument, and some people who believe that if you are the controller of this majestic instrument, you have some say over a controllable, deterministic version of spacetime would very much like to, uh, convert the Master of the Orchestra...
- Solarpunk: Pacific Edge posits this as one possible future for Southern California.
- The 'Verse: Characters and events from Antarctica also appear or are mentioned in the Science In The Capital trilogy and in Red Moon.
- Wasteland Elder: Tom Barnard from The Wild Shore is the only member of the post-apocalyptic South Orange County community who remembers the Old Days before The War.