Kim Stanley Robinson is one of my favourite science fiction writers. He’s that very rare beast, a writer of hard science fiction who is also a writer of fine prose. He will be a Guest of Honour at Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), in Melbourne in September 2010.
In case you’re wondering, hard science fiction is that sub-genre of science fiction which focuses on the science at least as much as the fiction, and which makes every effort to be consistent with known physical laws. It’s hard to write, and even harder to write well. Kim Stanley Robinson manages to write works of hard SF that are also full of memorable characters, arresting images, and sophisticated political, economic and social speculation. Some people complain that his narratives stagger at times under the weight of all this material, but that complaint don’t impress me much.
Now, via Aussiecon 4’s Facebook group, comes the news that Red Mars is to be made into a TV series. Movies about Mars have a poor track record, so I’m glad that some Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer isn’t going to try to crunch the book down into two hours of explosions. (There are some explosions, but it helps if you know why they happen.)
A Red Mars TV series sounds promising, but it will need to be something with the psychological complexity and moral depth of (the new) Battlestar Galactica to do the book justice. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing Nadia and Arkady, Maya and Michel, Sax and John – and even Frank Chalmers and the egregious Phyllis – brought to life under the pink Martian sky. And a few explosions as well.
Red Mars, life is peaceful there
Red Mars, in the open air …