I’m Ezra Klein. This is “The Ezra Klein Show.”
There is no way around it. This has been a heavy show lately. So it’s nice today to be able to have had, and to be able to give you, a conversation that’s a little bit more joyful, that makes you remember, this is a dazzling world to get to live in, that we’re lucky to have a chance to experience it, and that there is a politics that can be built around that kind of awe and that kind of gratitude. Kim Stanley Robinson is one of our great living science fiction writers. And one thing that makes him great book after book is the way geology is a character and a context in his work, whether that is the terrain of Mars, the coastal structure of New York, or the glittering mountains of California. And Robinson’s attention to land in his fiction turns out to be rooted in his attention to land in his life.
We discuss why Robinson decided to start writing outdoors, what it was like to experience the Sierras on psychedelics in his youth, what “actor-network theory” is and how it helps us understand our relationship to the planet and to our own bodies, why we should think of climate change more like we do plane crashes, what hiking backpacks say about American consumerism, how we should change our relationship to technology in order to be happier, why the politics of wanting are so confusing yet important, why Robinson is so excited about ideas like a wage ratio and rewilding schemes, how the “structure of feeling” around climate has changed, why Robinson is feeling more hopeful about Earth’s future these days and more.