‘The Future was Written Then’: Science, Revolution, and Capital in Kim Stanley Robinson

Rowcroft, Andrew (2018) ‘The Future was Written Then’: Science, Revolution, and Capital in Kim Stanley Robinson. In: Symposium on North American Literature and Culture in the Twentieth Century, Saturday 27th october 2018, University of Leicester.

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The Future was Written Then’: Science, Revolution, and Capital in Kim Stanley Robinson
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Abstract

Kim Stanley Robinson is regarded as one of the best living American science-fiction writers working today, winning numerous awards and honours, among them the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Despite Robinson’s popularity, scholarship is confined to a small number of articles and one edited collection (Burling, 2009). Calls for a more sustained appraisal of Robinson’s fiction have been consistently sounded since the landmark publication of the Mars Trilogy in the 1990s, but never satisfactorily answered.

This paper will argue that Robinson’s early fiction remains one of the most sustained explorations of the twentieth-century. More significantly, the paper will outline a project that will constitute the first sustained attempt to locate Robinson’s novels in relation to the philosophical frameworks established by Marx and Marxist critical thinkers. Robinson’s fiction offers a number of striking formal, thematic and political relations with Marx, while both writers range across issues related to ecology, utopia, philosophy of science, and the contradictions of the capitalist mode of production. The research will address three important questions: what are the interlocking formal, thematic, and political relations between Robinson and Marx? How might this relation produce a more interventionist literary criticism of Robinson’s work? And, what does it mean to consider Robinson’s fiction as a progressive exploration of a single complex of problems related to the capital social relation and an attempt to seek alternative ways to live in the world?

Keywords:Marxism and literature, Kim Stanley Robinson
Subjects:T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T720 American Literature studies
T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T700 American studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:33795
Deposited On:19 Oct 2018 08:30

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