By Lily Batchelor,
A man with greying hair and rectangular glasses stands in front of an auditorium of students in the Davis High IPAB on May 7. He’s wearing ordinary clothes: a tucked-in plaid collared shirt and slightly wrinkled khakis. The only visible sign of his unique and spirited character is shown in a leather belt with a bright blue stone set into the buckle. The auditorium quiets to hushed whispers and then silence under the observant gaze of Kim Stanley Robinson.
Robinson is a local science fiction author who lives in Davis. His most famous work is a trilogy consisting of the books “Red Mars,” “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars.” The trilogy talks about the terraforming of planet Mars throughout the three novels. He’s earned many honorable awards such as The Nebula Award, The Hugo Award, and the World Fantasy Award. Robinson is currently studying Buddhism, helping the environment and writing.
Robinson starts off talking about his past in Orange County in the 70s, explaining how back then it was a very agricultural city. Then, the trees began to be cleared away. “Groves of five acres a day were being cut down,” Robinson said. “At the time I didn’t think much of it, but later on I realized what an impact it was.”
He calls this a “future shock,” or a great change in advances, that can be either good or bad. He relates the feeling of a culture shock to a sudden lurch of an elevator. You’re surprised for a second, but then you adjust and go on your way.
This change in his town later inspired him to write science fiction. He explains that destroying the earth and making new leaps in technology will create dangerous outcomes in the future. “Science fiction is about what people feel like is happening right now, usually through metaphors,” Robinson said.
He also explains how most things in science fiction are not possible, and most authors do not expect their ideas to be realized. “It’s just symbolism for what is happening now,” he said.