Award-winning science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson has been selected as Colby’s 2018 Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Humanities. He will hold a short residency on campus in March to visit classes, meet with faculty and students, and give a public lecture March 21.   

“We are honored and excited to have Kim Stanley Robinson as our second Distinguished Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Environmental Humanities,” said Philip Nyhus, director of the Environmental Studies Program at Colby. “Colby students will have the opportunity to interact and engage with one of the world’s most extraordinary science fiction writers. Robinson delves into themes of sustainability, the environment, and more recently climate change — topics that are central to the growing field of environmental humanities.”

Supported by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Environmental Humanities Initiative is a campus-wide, multidisciplinary effort to bridge the sciences and humanities in collaborative efforts to address global environmental challenges. It empowers faculty and students to apply artistic, cultural, ethical, historical, and literary perspectives to pressing environmental questions.

“With the environmental humanities initiative we seek to enhance linkages between departments in the humanities and the environmental science and policy programs,” Nyhus said. “Robinson’s writings transcend these boundaries by engaging deeply with science, society, and our future.”

Robinson’s intensely researched fiction envisions realistic futures in which humanity rises to challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity to build more sustainable, just, and humane societies. It breaks out of the tropes of apocalyptic thinking and presents “a credible utopia, one that doesn’t rely on a revision of human nature,” writes Tom Kreider in a review for The New Yorker

His work has received 11 major awards from the science fiction field, including two Hugo and two Nebula awards, and has been translated into 23 languages. His Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) was an international bestseller and continues to be one of the most widely read works of science fiction, a benchmark in discussions of humanity in space. His latest novel, New York 2140, envisions life in partially submerged Manhattan after sea levels have risen 50 feet and has been described as “surprisingly optimistic.”

Mr. Robinson will be on campus March 21 and 22 when he will visit six classes and a faculty seminar, lead a writing workshop and meet with students and faculty. He will give a public lecture Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. in Ostrove Auditorium. Arrangements for the appearance of Kim Stanley Robinson made through Hachette Speakers Bureau, New York, N.Y.