OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Novelist Kim Stanley Robinson to Speak on 'The Future as Commons'

02/14/2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Award-winning novelist Kim Stanley Robinson will speak at Oregon State University on Thursday, Feb. 21, beginning at 7 p.m. in Gilfillan Auditorium.

His talk is the seventh in the Ideas Matter series, “Who Owns the Sky? The Tragedy or Triumph of the Commons.” It is free and open to the public.

In his talk, Robinson will discuss how the concept of the commons/enclosure can usefully be applied to global warming and potential environmental collapse. Already some climate scientists are suggesting that carbon, or the burning of carbon, be considered a commonly-owned resource of humankind. How far can that perspective be extended? How much besides land is being enclosed?

Speaking as a science fiction writer, Robinson will sketch various scenarios of the next century or two, exploring a range of possibilities, from hyper-consumption to permaculture, utopia to mass extinction event.

Robinson is best known for his “Mars” trilogy, for which he won Nebula and Hugo Awards. His near-future ecological thriller “Antarctica” was the result of a National Science Foundation writer’s residency in Antarctica, while his book “The Years of Rice and Salt” is a major alternate history about the development of science. Jeremy Smith, writing in January Magazine, said: “Along with Ursula K. Le Guin … Kim Stanley Robinson is one of America's greatest living utopian thinkers and novelists.”

Robinson is author of the Science in the Capital trilogy, “Forty Signs of Rain,” “Fifty Degrees Below,” and “Sixty Days and Counting,” about global climate change and ecological disasters.

“Who Owns the Sky? The Tragedy or Triumph of the Commons,” continues every Thursday evening throughout winter term. The complete schedule is available on the web: http://springcreek.oregonstate.edu.

Ideas Matter is sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, and the OSU Department of Philosophy.