Kim Stanley Robinson:
The Man from Mars

'I have this belief that Kim Stanley Robinson was
one of the first settlers on Mars, and that somehow he
has travelled back to today to tell his tale. There is no
other explantion for this brilliant novel. This is
how it should be done.'
Time Out

There has been a great deal of media interest in Mars over the last six months. The rock on Earth that was discovered and thought to prove that life had existed on Mars made headline news. Independence Day was also breaking box office records at the same time. Some media cynics wondered whether the two events were not related in some way. The facts are that the lump of rock that was found is still being examined in a number of science labs and it could well be that the rock is the first real evidence that we are not, or were not at least, alone in the universe.

Kim Stanley Robinson was born born in 1952 and after several years of travelling he returned to California to live and take up a career as a science fiction writer. His novels have won him numerous genre awards, including the Nebula, Asimov and World Fantasy Awards. Stan Robinson's most successful series of books has been the bestselling Mars trilogy which the Daily Mail described as "the ultimate in future history". Indeed, in the trilogy the reader is taken on an incredible journey of discovery as humans decide to inhabit Mars.

Stan Robinson draws on his scientific research and close workings with NASA to produce a very realistic storyline which gives an intricate account of what would need to happen for humans to live on Mars. He tackles both the technical and social tensions that such a mision would involve. Essentially we would need to make Mars as Earth-like as possible which means giving it a habitable atmosphere. This process, known as terraforming, is at the cutting-edge of current scientific investigation. What Stan Robinson has done is produce a compelling series of novels which assumes that the current scientific investigation will be one day put to the test.

Athough the Mars trilogy is clearly defined as science fiction, the novels' appeal far wider. Indeed, even if you are not a regular reader of science, Stan Robinson's accessible style and compelling narrative are well worth a read. The final part of the trilogy, Blue Mars, has just been published in paperback. We talk to Kim Stanley Robinson about the possibilities of humans living on Mars, how he came to write his trilogy and what he thinks makes science fiction the most ground-breaking genre around.