Noted science fiction writer, Kim Stanley Robinson (author of the acclaimed Ministry of the Future, pictured), is a great fan of conferences and summits, and researches his novels partly by attending scientific conferences, according to the New Yorker. One example: “In 2010, at a meeting of glaciologists, a researcher sidled up to him with an idea for arresting Antarctic glaciers that are sliding into the sea by pumping meltwater out from beneath them at a few crucial locations, settling them back onto the bedrock. In Robinson’s book, the idea is put into practice.”
Robinson – one of the best science fiction writers of our age, with books that are “unique in the degree to which his books envision moral, not merely technological, progress” in that:
“His protagonists are often diplomats, scholars, and scientists who fight to keep their future societies from repeating our mistakes. Robinson’s plots turn on international treaties or postcapitalist financial systems…. A typical Robinson novel ends with an academic conference at which researchers propose ideas for improving civilization. He believes that scholarly and diplomatic meetings are among our species’ highest achievements,” Joshua Rothman writes.
He “shows our prospects to be both imaginable and variable: we can still redraw the plans.” At the end of his book The Years of Rice and Salt, a ‘feminist scholar attends an archaeological conference…. As she listens to the presentations, she’s struck by an ‘impression of people’s endless struggle and effort’”, Rothman reports.
And Robinson practices what he studies, speaking at conferences around the world, including a keynote address at COP26—the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, held in Glasgow in late 2021. And he is no stranger to Australia: Watch Kim Stanley Robinson speak at the 14th Annual E.L. ‘Ted’ Wheelwright Memorial Lecture, on “Dodging a Mass Extinction Event: Climate Change and Necessity”, hosted by the Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney, on 25 November 2021.
Community Colleges Australia offers you the opportunity to be like Kim Stanley Robinson and improve civilisation, by attending our 2022 National Adult and Community Education (ACE) Summit on the morning of 5 April.
Together we will – through a powerful, COVID-safe digital platform – discuss how Australia’s ACE sector can reinforce delivery of essential training and skills that support national educational, social, employment and economic development goals. Let’s make our “struggle and effort” worthwhile.