Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A future for the wilderness

Interesting article in the LA Times about the 45th anniversary of Dune's publication. I liked this bit about how it inspired one of my favourite authors, Kim Stanley Robinson.
Many consider Robinson's trilogy about the terra-forming of Mars the best-realized exercise in the form since Herbert's. Robinson calls "Dune" a big influence: The book showed him, he says, that "you could talk about the future of the wilderness. It gave me courage. I knew that people were willing to read at great length and that the world could be a character."

But Herbert's future vision of a galaxy with numerous populated worlds seems out of step with the deflated present. "The future," says Robinson, "doesn't look to be off-planet in any near-future time frame."
That the world could be a character. When I tell people that I came to my environmentalism via science fiction, that's what I mean. Sure, a lot of SF is explicitly anti-green. But some of it is capable of giving us a sense of place, an a meaningful one, that we can take back to the real world when we're done.

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