Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Richard Wolff, Bill McKibben, Kim Stanley Robinson: Three People Who Need To Meet If They Haven’t Already

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 27, 2012

I have just enough of a residual interest in science fiction to have heard the name of Kim Stanley Robinson, but didn’t have enough interest to actually check out his books. But that changed when I heard his works referenced recently — and danged if he doesn’t sound like a nice alternative to the glibertarian/conservative Heinlein/Crichton/Niven stuff being pushed so heavily. And I am so stealing his term “TransNats” for the transnational feudal overlords that in his future settings are trying to export metastatic capitalism resource exploitation, which on earth has reached its end stage as the planet has been trashed and pillaged, onto other worlds.

Robinson has a new book out called 2312, and it looks like a winner. Imagine if Rick Wolff and Bill McKibben had a baby together (which, by the way, would be par for the course in the world of 2312 as Robinson imagines it), and you’ll have a fair idea of Robinson’s take on things.

I’d love to introduce the three guys to each other: Wolff would love how KSR shows exactly what will happen to earth and the life forms (including humans) still on it if we keep pursing the oncological model of capitalism, as would McKibben.

5 Responses to “Richard Wolff, Bill McKibben, Kim Stanley Robinson: Three People Who Need To Meet If They Haven’t Already”

  1. Stormcrow said

    KSR shows exactly what will happen to earth and the life forms (including humans) still on it if we keep pursing the oncological model of capitalism …

    No, not really. In order to make a readable story, Robinson has to assume that the consequences are (mostly) survivable.

    But we don’t need to go to science fiction to get an idea of where we’re headed. The planet’s already been there.

    Look up the Permian-Triassic extinction.

    • From what I see, Robinson posits that earth hangs on just long enough to allow the capitalist TransNats to attempt expansion into space; he also posits thats there are enough countering influences in the off-world cultures to set up sustainable alternatives to the culture of the TransNats (short for “trans-national companies”, which Robinson early on saw would be bigger than nation-states).

      Isn’t it interesting that no major studio’s tried to make movies out of his stuff?

  2. Charles II said

    PW says, “Imagine if Rick Wolff and Bill McKibben had a baby together…”

    I’m not enjoying this visual.

    All kidding aside, has anyone noticed that utopianism has vanished in favor of dystopianism?

    • Stormcrow said

      That’s the thing about galloping destabilization.

      Nobody, and I do mean nobody, can predict the fiddling little perturbation ends up kicking the whole system off into cloud-cuckoo land.

      That’s a litmus test, BTW: that sort of charlatan abounds at times like this.

      But any damned fool with a working set of wits can tell when the system is unstable enough for that to be a serious risk.

      The outward and visible symptom of this, is pervasive dystopianism.

    • Charles II said

      Stormcrow, what makes me pessimistic is how these guys (typically Republicans/conservatives) prevaricate so easily. As MEC points out, this is not normal lying. It is anti-truth, in which the truth is turned inside out and its pockets shaken.

      So if 95% of scientists (and 99% of those with relevant credentials) believe that human beings are causing climate change, all it takes is a little ExxonMobil money to make everything alright.

      Until, of course, reality bites.

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