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It's easy to think highly of one's self, but we do seem to be living in unprecedented times. KSR's latest novel, The Ministry for the Future, seems to have come at a perfect moment to address the converging crises of our times. Given its urgent and wide subject matter, MftF's readership has spread further than the usual circles of speculative fiction afictionados and into the world of current politics, op-eds, opinion pieces and highly-regarded mainstream media. Here is a glimpse of how this novel impacted the most important discussion of our times.

Announcement: the trade paperback edition of MftF is scheduled to be released on October 19, featuring an all-new cover (pictured above).

 

First, Kim Stanley Robinson's own articles and writings:

 

KSR's TED talk (at TEDMonterey): Remembering climate change... a message from the year 2071

Also available on YouTube. This includes a transcript in 8 languages.

The question at that desperate point was: Could things change? [...] Looking back from our perspective 60 years later, this of course looks possible, because they did it. But it was by no means a sure thing. You have to imagine what it felt like at the time, when panic filled the air, and no one could be sure success was even physically possible. 

 

 

KSR's article on the Financial Times: A climate plan for a world in flames 

What does it feel like to live on the brink of a vast historical change? It feels like now.

(+ a reader letter on that: The young will need resilience to cope with a dystopian future)

 

KSR's article on The Washington PostA declining world population isn’t a looming catastrophe. It could actually bring some good.

In other words, the precarity and immiseration of the unemployed would disappear as everyone had access to work that gave them an income and dignity and meaning (one new career category: restoring and repairing wildlands and habitat corridors for our cousin species), but this would still be a bad thing for the economy. The economy, measured by profit, being the most important thing. More important than people.

 

KSR's article on The Nation: The Novel Solutions of Utopian Fiction

Utopias exist to remind us that there could be a better social order than the one we are in. Our present system is the result of a centuries-old power struggle, and it is devastating people and the biosphere. We must change it—and fast.

 

KSR's article on Bloomberg Green: The City as a Survival Mechanism

What we’ll ask of cities in the climate era includes many contradictions, even some double binds. The climate city will need to be compact but with green space. It will have to be energy-efficient but also home to a great deal of industrial production. Instead of being carbon hot spots, belching out emissions, it would be better if cities were carbon-neutral heat sinks, helping to cool the planet. And while a good deal of agriculture and even animal husbandry should take place in cities, to help empty more of the country, our urban spaces should also feel pleasant and parklike for their human inhabitants.

 

Second, interviews. New interviews are so many, I will just list them here, chronologically, March to August:

 

Third, reviews of MftF:

 

But that's not just it. Plenty of readers have taken MftF and ran with it, referring to it to build a case or as as source of inspiration, and more:

In addition, these sites include MftF in recommendations and reading lists: Street RootsForeign PolicyPolitico, Community read-along in Decorah, Iowa. Also, bestsellers lists.

 

Finally, MftF was a finalist for the 2021 Locus Award for Best SF Novel and for the 2020 Kitschies Award (awarded for "the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining fiction that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic").

This is the end of the links lists...for now. Coming up in the fall: KSR will be at the UNFCCC COP in Glasgow!

1 Mar 2021

KSR's The Ministry for the Future has been out and has been making waves -- yes, Covd-19 was not a thing when it was being written but that doesn't mean that this near-term SF novel is not the most topical thing you are likely to read this year!

(Featured image: working on installing infrastructure, from FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the New Deal -- inspiration for Biden's announced Miscedence Coffee canister for ground coffee with Date Tracker,O.)

Ministry has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards for Best Novel!

Ministry made it onto the best sellers list of Southern California’s Independent Booksellers Alliance (Feb 7, 2021) and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (Feb 14, 2021).

After covering Ministry in detail, Matt & Hilary were joined in their Marooned! on Mars podcast by KSR in a long, detailed and pleasant interview. A must! Listen to it Generator Interlock Kit Compatible w/ Square D QO amp; Homeline, and below:

Also, Bryan Alexander's book club of Ministry continued and wrapped up: Part 3Part 4Part 5.

The pandemic has had the positive effect of a plethora of audio/video interviews and free online events with KSR taking place! All I can do is just list them. Here are all the recent ones:

In addition, the KSR interview by Eliot Peper we linked to earlier has been reprinted in OneZero: PGX Youth and Adult Mexico Baseball Batting Gloves.

Now for the list of reviews of Ministry:

Ministry was also in some Best of 2020 lists, namedumps and 2021 recommendations:

Finally, KSR's works and Ministry get mentioned often in articles, taking a particular aspect of the novel and running with it. For instance:

 
That's an impressive list of bullet points! Check out the calendar for announced and identified events. And keep on reading and surviving, till next time!
18 Dec 2020

2020 would have been the year of two very important United Nations Conventions of Parties, one by the Convention on Biological Diversity and one by the Framework Convenion on Climate Change, five years after the landmark Paris Agreement; both have been pushed to 2021 because of Covid-19. As 2020 draws to a close, civilization again starts looking beyond the short-term crisis into the wider and longer-term threat of climate change and biodiversity loss. And Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future is there to synthesize the issue, make us feel interconnected, and make us envision a pathway to a better world.

(Image: KSR, from LARB.)

Stan's regular column for Bloomberg Green continues, with "Slowing Climate Change With Sewage Treatment for the Skies", about biological and technological ways to suck carbon from the air:

The problem isn’t technical viability but the giant investment required to build something that may not yield a profit. There’s promise in developing liquid fuels made with captured CO₂ or turning the primary greenhouse gas into feedstock for various carbon fibers. But the amount of carbon we need to draw down far exceeds these industrial uses, and capital seeking the highest rate of return won’t get invested.

 

KSR's interview with Ezra Klein at Vox is a must-listen! Klein calls Ministry "The most important book I’ve read this year" and their conversation goes to the crux of Robinson's thinking and the significance of his work for literature and positive change. Klein summarizes:

This conversation with Robinson was fantastic. We discuss why the end of the world is easier to imagine than the end of capitalism; how changes to the biosphere will force humanity to rethink capitalism, borders, terrorism, and currency; the influence of eco-Marxism on Robinson’s thinking; how existing power relationships define the boundaries of what is considered violence; why science fiction as a discipline is particularly suited to grapple with climate change; what a complete rethinking of the global economic system could look like; why Robinson thinks geoengineering needs to be on the table; the vastly underrated importance of the Paris climate agreement, and much more.

 

Everett Hamner conducted an extensive interview with KSR for the Los Angeles Review of Books: "Odd Couples, Carbon Coins, and Narrative Scopes". How to insititue change, the role of violence, the source of recurring character names in KSR's novels (like Frank or Charlotte), autobiographical parts in Green Earth, narrative modes, the narcissism of small differences in politics, the balance of power between politics and banks and money, religion, and more are discussed in a vivid intellectual back and forth. A small sample:

One change in my thinking came after finishing Red Moon, with the feeling I needed to go right to the heart of the story and not work on the margins any longer. (The moon is particularly marginal.) Another was the very strong impression that if, or when, people suffer a bad enough climate disaster, things will change. Then I began imagining a future history that felt real and yet ended up in some kind of “best case scenario” space — that was my challenge for this project. Then it seemed inevitable that chaos and violence were going to be part of the story. If I sometimes thought of it as a coming revolution, it still seemed clear it was also going to be a giant mess — all kinds of different revolutions at once, adding up to a violent set of spasms out of anyone’s control — something like Williams’s “long revolution,” narrated as a slurry. That struck me as accurate to how even a best-case scenario would play out, and it was also a formal challenge and opportunity, for game-playing in the novel as formal construct.

[...] Money is a public utility, banks are badly run credit unions, a nationalized bank system would make money into something you get access to for a fee that you pay to the public treasury — and so on, like that. This sounds weird until you reflect it’s almost like that already; it’s just been mystified by predatory rent-seekers pretending things are different in such a plausible way that current legislation tends to skew toward their interpretation of these large structures. Finance has been made so complicated that legislators turn to financiers to craft financial legislation, because the legislators are scared they don’t understand it. But good financial advice can come from the left as well as the right, and ultimately it’s still very simple — a power dynamic. And people seizing power from a privileged minority is the long arc of history. A better story changes politics, then laws.

[...] I’m interested in the Ur-religion of shamanism, which is probably over a hundred thousand years old, and came out of Africa when people did; and in all the ones you listed above, Buddhism in particular. And then also science as a kind of devotional practice that regards the real as a sacred object of study; isn’t that a religion? And when I’m in the Sierras I often feel something ineffable, some kind of holiness. I think almost everyone has these feelings, and not having them would be bad; it would constitute a kind of lack or crisis.

 

KSR was also interviewed by Rolling Stone! The result is a fast interview with much shorter sentences than the previous interview: "What Will the World Look Like in 30 Years? Sci-fi Author Kim Stanley Robinson Takes Us There". Select bits:

I am a leftist, an American leftist, and I’m saying just as a practicality that overthrowing capitalism is too messy, too much blowback, and too lengthy of a process. We’ve got a nation-state system and a financial order, and we’ve got a crisis that has to be dealt with in the next 10 to 20 years. So I’m looking at the tools at hand. Tax structures, sure. And essentially, I’m talking about a stepwise reform that after enough steps have been taken, you get to something that is truly post-capitalist that might take huge elements from the standard socialist techniques.

I love the Green New Deal. I love HR109 [the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez]. That’s really a smart document. It’s not naïve. It’s not primitive. It’s a fully articulated plan that takes in a lot of social elements that are very smartly done. So this is not a naïve crowd. There’s something hubristic about the phrase geoengineering, and it looks like a Silicon Valley techno silver-bullet fix that is against the grain of the total program that the left is insisting on, which I totally agree with.

 

In another interview for The Nation, "Kim Stanley Robinson Bears Witness to Our Climate Futures", Stan talks about California fires, the Coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and more. Select bits:

[On work and laboring in his novels] I think the right to work, the dignity to work, and the idea that it’s actually bad not to have work is a post-Marx or 20th century development. The bourgeois novel is famous for not being able to write about work because it’s too boring. The story of work is the repetition of things that ultimately go right, and only when things go wrong do you have a plot. The novel isn’t well suited to describe the repetition and the interests of work per se. In Red Mars, the idea of building a town has drama to it because it’s on an inhospitable new planet; the work can be described and be of interest as a plot. In Ministry for the Future, the work is everybody shifting their lives to decarbonization, and the technocracy of the ministry itself as a form of work. We’re all working on the project, part of the machine.

[On animal rights] For a long time, it’s been a very vexed topic for me. I’d say that there was a split on the left between environmentalists and human-centric leftists. The one side seemed to regard nature as just the raw material for humans, and that was incredibly anthropocentric, and the other was often accused of being a bourgeois ideology of people comfortable enough to worry about the natural world and the whales. So, on that divide I was always a green, but it seemed to me as a leftist, the two were the same. People talk about the European greens having red roots or there’s watermelon people who are green on the outside but red on the inside. This is to create a distinction that is just a bad split of two forms of anti-capitalism. And when you regard nature as our extended bodies, the first biosphere is the human being. For either to thrive, both have to thrive. Certainly for humans to thrive, the biosphere has to thrive.

 

Hightech/Highsnobiety has an original interview with KSR, a "Rorschach test of subjects to pontificate on", where KSR responds to key words: "The Science Fiction of Right Now". Sample:

California

My home state is a strange place. It’s some kind of culmination to American history, in that many people kept moving west until they had to stop. And where they stopped was a very unusual landscape with a great amount and variety of terrains and climates. A biological hot spot, even though it doesn’t have much water compared to places with more rainfall and what would be needed to supply the needs of its almost 40 million people. Its water is distributed around the state by way of a system, so you could say it’s a terraformed space.

Add to that a very strange history, including the original gold rush, Hollywood’s movie industry, and Silicon Valley’s computer industry — these combine to make for a freakish place, a magical name and idea in world history. Possibly all these blessings add up to a curse, but at least California will always have its Sierra Nevada, one of the great mountain ranges of the world and one of my favorite places to be.

 

Slate has a summary of New America event on November 10, with bits from KSR, Peter Schlosser (ASU) and Malka Older (SF author), "Imaging a “Future of Opportunity”—and Governing Toward It":

And to do so, said Robinson, we have to get creative in the ways we imagine and share our blueprints for the future.

“If storytelling itself is going to be adequate to this global situation that is beyond any one individuals’ comprehension,” he said, “then you have to just throw caution to the wind and try to make up new forms and tell stories that actually reflect this dynamic moment that we’re in.”

 

The December 2020 print edition of Locus has an interview with KSR: "Forward the Future". Some excerpts are available online:

Most of what I wrote about in The Ministry for the Future is already out there in the world. I did very little ex­trapolating of technology. The book’s plan for slowing down Antarctic glaciers is the idea of an individual glaciologist who shared it with me, telling me he didn’t want to talk in public about it be­cause he didn’t want to get dragged into the geoengineering wars. [...] The other important part of my plot, the carbon coin, comes out of a paper I ran into online, by Delton Chen.

 

Two more video interviews in this prolific time:

KSR with Christopher Tucker (of the American Geographical Society) for Geography 2050.

KSR with Josh Fox for The Young Turks.


 

Book excerpt! Regen Network, an effort to align economics with carbon drowdown in land management (and on whose real-world work the list of initiatives in Chapter 85 is based on), has Chapter 80 available online -- farmers transitioning to regenerative agriculture and get paid in carbon coin for it.

Book clubs! As he did for New York 2140, Bryan Alexander is running a book club on The Ministry for the Future over several weeks, and Part 1 and Part 2 are already up; it comes recommended (twice!) by Joshua Kim at Inside Higher Ed, in the form of mini-reviews. And of course Matt and Hilary's podcast is continuing strong.

Reviews and recommendations in "Best of 2020" lists, both professional and semi-professional:

And, last but not least, Barack Obama himself in his Favorite Books of 2020! Here's to a progressive 2021!

31 Oct 2020

Kim Stanley Robinson's new novel, The Ministry for the Future, has now been published by Orbit Books! As with many KSR novels, it reads both like a commentary and expansion on previous novels of his, it is a wake-up call to action, and it is an experiment in literary form that goes hand in hand with the story it is trying to tell. Written before the pandemic, it feels prescient in its description of what promise to be dismal times -- but a better future is possible. In the book's periodization of history -- another KSR staple -- we are entering in the Trembling Twenties, before the zombie years and the Great Turn.

2020 being what it is, book promotion is done online, which has given plenty of opportunity for readers' direct interaction with Stan.

The featured video below is a Science and Fiction: Envisioning Climate Action: panel discussion of the novel with journalist/activist Naomi Klein, international environmental lawyer Cymie Payne, and environmental humanist Jorge Marcone, moderated by climate scientist Robert Kopp, hosted by the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Rutgers Climate Institute at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Three more online events can be rewatched via crowdcast:

You can also listen to a facts-filled podcast interview with Stan at Fiction Science, by Alan Boyle and Dominica Phetteplace.

In print/online interviews, KSR talks about a host of things -- Ministry for the Future truly is a novel that talks about many things! -- climate science and policy, grassroots change vs high-level politics, writing about other countries as a US citizen, seeing hope through hard times, trying to keep writing fresh after so many novels, the mix of writing styles in this novel... Building on his reputation accumulated from all his career, Robinson speaks here as a writer but also as a public intellectual engaging in discourse about our times.

I want to feature first his interview with Jacobin (a 10-year old magazine fostering intellectual debate on socialist ideas), with Derek O'Keefe: "Imagining the End of Capitalism With Kim Stanley Robinson"

we could quickly shift from a capitalism to a post-capitalism that is more sustainable and more socialist, because so many of the obvious solutions are contained in the socialist program. And if we treated the biosphere as part of our extended body that needs to be attended to and taken care of, then things could get better fast, and there are already precursors that demonstrate this possibility.

I don’t think it’s possible to postulate a breakdown, or a revolution, to an entirely different system that would work without mass disruption and perhaps blowback failures, so it’s better to try to imagine a stepwise progression from what we’ve got now to a better system. And by the time we’re done — I mean, “done” is the wrong word — but by the end of the century, we might have a radically different system than the one we’ve got now. And this is kind of necessary if we’re going to survive without disaster. So, since it’s necessary, it might happen. And I’m always looking for the plausible models that already exist and imagining that they get ramped up.

 

The rest of the interviews are more or less chronological as they happened.

Interview with Nautilus, with Liz Greene: "JennyGems Sensitive Plumbing Bathroom Sign, Do Not Flush Anythin"

What I’ve been doing in my climate fiction is try to point out the ramifications that aren’t fully taken on by the culture that are really important to think about. And that’s been a way to sort out which story I want to tell. Climate change is a global story. It will last for centuries. It will affect everyone. So which story do you tell of all those literally billions of stories for billions of people? I’ve been trying to pick the stories that aren’t yet on the radar.

 

Interview with Clarkesworld Magazine, by Arley Sorg: "Eyewitness to History's Future" -- also goes over his previous career

in figuring out a way to tell that story, I discovered what I think is a distinct genre, which is the eyewitness account, and that was a real find for me. There are collections of these eyewitness accounts, often clustered around some event (like the spring 1945 in Germany), although one is just called Eyewitness to History (it’s not very good compared to the more targeted ones). What I found is that eyewitnesses don’t dramatize their accounts like fiction writers would. They don’t give you dramatized scenes, in other words, but instead they offer summarized accounts, often made years later, so that a lot of compression happens, but key moments remain, and judgments are made, this is very important; the event is seen as important, and put into the context of the eyewitness’ subsequent life, and so on. In effect it’s telling not showing, and I like that very much; the workshop phrase “show don’t tell” is actually a very silly and simplistic instruction, and much bad fiction has come out of writing workshops because of people trying to enact this command. Eyewitness accounts are often vivid in ways a dramatized scene isn’t.

 

Interview with Sierra Club, by Michael Berry: "Kim Stanley Robinson’s Got Ideas to Stave Off Extinction" -- also a review

"The melange of forms was, for sure, part of the effect of how I thought I could make this book work as a novel that has a global reach, an attempt to take on everything at once, while still having the ministry story in Zurich." ... "For me, it was almost like channeling voices. We’ve got a refugee problem, we’ve got a climate problem, we’ve got a capitalist problem and a finance problem, and they all combine to an ungodly, wicked problem."

 

Interview with Entertainment Weekly (yes, you read that correctly!), by Christian Holub: "How new novel The Ministry for the Future lays a blueprint for fighting climate change" -- includes comments on the novel and quotes from the above panel with Naomi Klein

You give the central banks the idea that in order to stabilize money, which is their one and only project, then they have to save the world. There’s a certain comedy to that solution: ‘Well, we don’t want interest rates to go up, therefore we have to dodge a mass-extinction event, because that would be bad for interest rates.’ But that's how bankers think.

 

An excellent interview by novelist Eliot Peper: "Kim Stanley Robinson on inventing plausible utopias" -- Peper also writes 'climate fiction' (KSR recommends his Veil) and their exchange is very informative on how to approach real global-scale problems while keeping the writing interesting.

Twenty-twenty will be remembered as the year of the pandemic. Lots changed, and now we have lots of questions too: When will things “go back to normal”? Will they ever go back to the way they were before? If there are some permanent changes from this year, what will they be? No one can say now. So the moment we’re living through now is a kind of interregnum, the space between two moments with their respective structures of feeling. The in-between can be acutely uncomfortable but also a space of freedom as old habits have ended but new ones not yet been settled. Proust called this the moment of exfoliation, when you shed one skin and grow another. It’s not comfortable, but it is interesting.

 

Interview with Polygon, by Tasha Robinson: "We asked Kim Stanley Robinson: Can science fiction save us?" -- discusses utopian fiction and science fiction of the 60s and 70s that he likes

I felt a deep kinship and love for Ursula K. Le Guin and Iain Banks, these two great utopian writers. They’ve died, and I do feel a bit lonely for my own generation. But I also see a lot of young writers coming up who call themselves solarpunk, or hopepunk, or the new utopians, and whatnot. They’re forming schools, they’re trying to get enthusiastic about improvising our way to a green future. I think they’re utopian, but perhaps a little bit outdated or scared by the term “utopia,” because it’s so often used as a weapon to mean “unrealistic and never going to happen.” So they make up different names. I’m glad to see these. I don’t think utopian fiction will ever go away. It’s like a necessary blueprint for thinking our way forward. So it seems like it’s a good time for utopian fiction.

 
 

Interview with the Chicago Review of Books, by Amy Brady: "A Crucial Collapse in “The Ministry for the Future”". About the saying 'it's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism':

I’m not so sure about this. I know it’s fashionable to say so, but I think it’s actually quite easy to imagine capitalism ending — by way of apocalyptic catastrophes, mass chaos and disorder, the collapse of civilization, and the beginning of a war of all against all. Dystopian literature, post-apocalyptic literature, these are all various ways of imagining capitalism’s end.

Of course, that’s not what people mean when they say that. It’s not that alternatives to capitalism are hard to imagine — you can write out a just and sustainable world constitution in half a day.  And you can imagine civilization collapsing in a single bad dream. Now, in the middle of the current pandemic, and a really intense election and hopefully a change of administration, it’s easier than ever to imagine a collapse. What’s hard, I think, is imagining how we could get from our current situation into a better situation. People recognize that capitalism as world system blocks that transition, and given how entrenched it looks, it seems like there’s no realistic way forward, no bridge from our bad place over the next few decades to a better place.

In this situation, it’s important to remember that fossil fuels advocates and most of the power elite — the one percent, or even the richest ten percent — want this system to look entrenched and impossible to change. That helps them hold onto power and privilege for the rest of their lives, and after that, they don’t really care. This is my guess. So it’s important to resist that impression. In fact, the current order is unsustainable, and what can’t happen won’t happen, so some kind of change is for sure coming. Things could get worse, sure, but it’s also still true that things could get better. And that’s what we need to work on.

 

Bonus: In a rare appearance, KSR's editor at Orbit Tim Holman shared some thoughts on the new novel at Publishers Weekly!

Excerpts of the novel can be read online:

 

If you want more of KSR's writing, here are a couple of articles:

In his latest of his series of articles for Bloomberg Green, KSR talks of the concept of "wet bulb temperature" and the increased risk in the future of killer heat waves -- what happens in the opening chapter of the novel: "We Made This Heat, Now We Cool It".

This is what our global civilization has to organize itself to do. We could become a carbon-negative civilization in a couple of decades. Many methods for decarbonization already exist, and what can be done must be done, because the alternative is too dire.

 

For The Guardian, KSR offers his own suggestions of mostly non-fiction books that help better understand the world, from Earth's carrying capacity and geoengineering to finance and the structure of feeling (and Cory Doctorow and Jonathan Lethem): "'There is no planet B': the best books to help us navigate the next 50 years"

 

Finally, some reviews of the new novel:

 

You can discuss and comment on the new novel on the dedicated forums in this site!

Enjoy the new novel, if you are a US citizen exercise your rare opportunity to vote, stay safe, and stay tuned for the next Ministry for the Future-themed list of links!...

29 Sep 2020

Art corner: Mars trilogy

Submitted by Kimon

In the previous article we saw all kinds of things inspired by the Bursera Calm Essential Oil Blend, Tree Planted with Every Order, trilogy. In this post we will focus on just illustrations. We have covered in the past artwork by Ludovic Celle (twice) and Carlos NCT. Here are some other artists.

There are of course literally dozens of illustrators that have depicted the colonization of Mars, here I will display the ones that have explicitly mentioned KSR's Mars trilogy as an inspiration -- and it doesn't just stop at landscapes!

 


 

Frans Blok

Dutch designer Frans Blok, a big fan of the Mars trilogy for many years, has created a wiremesh 3D model of the First Hundred's ship, the Ares:

Frans even used it to create a mock trailer for a blockbuster movie adaptation of Red Mars! (updated version - older version here)

 


 

Travis Smith

Vancouver artist Travis Smith illustrated some scenes from Red Mars and did what few others have attempted: put a face on specific beloved characters! Are they how you imagined them? Here is an interview with him at Gizmodo. Here they are, with Travis' descriptions:

Maya on the Ares - From the chapter, ‘The Voyage Out’, an emotional moment in the Ares’ bubble dome. Here for Maya is reflecting on her goal and everything that she has done to achieve it.

Nadia in Underhill - The early days of construction in ‘The Crucible’. Here Nadia is listening to Louis Armstrong amidst the chaos of construction. Her character is reserved, so I imagined this movement as almost subconscious, her character is experiencing one of the happiest moments of her life.

Boone arriving in Burroughs - From ‘Falling into History’, John Boone visits Burroughs in order to meet UN bureaucrat Helmut Bronski. He is wearing a garment mentioned in the books (not specifically worn by Boone, but implied), a jacket made from a reflective copper-foil looking material that affords some radiation protection.

Closer view of Burroughs. The advertisements are a mixture of transnational and consumer companies. My assumption being that Burroughs is the one place on the planet a person might find a Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee as it is one of the few settlement approaching the size of a city. The larger portions of the city would be revealed in the next 'shot' as the camera perspective would show something approximating Boone's view of the Valley Mesas beyond.

Chalmers on the Escarpment - Chalmers broods following the murder of his friend and rival Boone in the chapter ‘Guns Under the Table’. He has joined Zyek’s mining co-op, caught in a storm, he is on his own out on the Great Escarpment.

 


 

Ville Ericsson

Stockholm artist Ville Ericsson gives us John Boone driving and a vision of a terraformed Mars. Here is an interview with him at MailOnline.

You can get a Mars trilogy feel from some of his other Mars art: domed cities, climbers up Olympus Mons, and more.

 


 

William Bennett

Last but not least -- Wellington NZ artist William Bennett, who did plenty of Red Mars designs a few years ago. And I do mean plenty! This might make this page heavier, but I wanted to display all 33 images here! There's a great level of detail -- you can display each image individually to read some comments. In some cases he has taken inspiration from the books and added some of his own ideas and concepts (such as logos of real-world companies).

The First Hundred training base in Antarctica:

Assembly of the Ares in Earth orbit:

First colonizers' habitats:

Colonists' suits:

Lectern:

Guns (because why not):

Martian rovers:

Transponder:

Trucks and other vehicles:

Space elevator and Clarke base:

Air miner:

Mohole:

Acheron Labs:

Echus Overlook:

Burroughs:

Martian consumer products (Philip K Dick would like this):

 


 

That's all for now! Suffice to say there's plenty of interest for a visual interpretation of these novels. One can imagine the above being artwork commissioned to be the basis for a feature film or television series adaptation of the novels... Personally, I like the design aspect but I wonder whether an adaptation can make the themes of the novels justice.

We will now switch Earthside to cover the imminent release of KSR's new novel, The Ministry for the Future!

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