Guns under the table: Kim Stanley Robinson and the Transition to Utopia

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Kim Stanley Robinson is a declared eco-socialist and arguably the most distinguished acolyte of Fredric Jameson, America’s leading Marxist literary critic. Robinson’s Mars trilogy develops a detailed account of three political revolutions. Robinson explains that this was a deliberate choice on his part, because he felt that in his first utopian novel, Pacific Edge, he “dodged the necessity of revolution.” He describes Antarctica and The Years of Rice and Salt as his next utopian novels, but these, too, dodge the “necessity of revolution,” the first by substituting science for politics, the second by projecting an alternative history into an alternative future. In the Science in the Capital trilogy, politics becomes paramount, and it continues to be so in his more recent fiction. This article will explore how Robinson negotiates the transition to utopia in his later work, from Forty Signs of Rain through to New York 2140 and Red Moon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-397
Number of pages10
JournalUtopian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Science fiction
  • Socialism
  • The United States
  • Utopia

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