An interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future.

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Insurrection. Global pandemic. Cascading climate crises. Never-ending Zooms. We seem to be living through the dystopia Hollywood has always dreamed of, sans a satisfying narrative arc.


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The perfect book to help you step back from the surging feed and find a new vantage.


Because nothing is truly easy, you might as well attempt something truly hard.

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NASA, 1969

Be bold. Many eschew grand ambitions for fear of falling short, so the higher you aim, the thinner the competition. Plus, because nothing is truly easy, you might as well attempt something truly hard. Who knows? You might even succeed, surprising everyone, yourself most of all.


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Every month, I send a newsletter recommending books, fiction and nonfiction, that crackle and fizz with big ideas, entertain with wild abandon, challenge assumptions, and find meaning in a changing world. Reading is an integral part of my creative process and I often find gems in unlikely places.


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The Path to the Moon, W. T. Horton, 1898

The girl entered the Dark Forest.


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Photo by Massimo Negrello on Unsplash

My friend Derek has a six year old grandson who came for a visit. They were exploring the basement together when the boy pointed to the door on the left and asked, “What’s in there grandpa?”


Ursula K. Le Guin on the book as technology:

The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn’t have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you’re fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you’re reading a whole new book.

From Words Are My Matter.


You don’t have to choose between fun and depth.

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Sylvan Esso’s new album.

“At the heart of Sylvan Esso is this really fun argument — Nick wants things to sound unsettling, but I want you to take your shirt off and dance,” says Amelia Meath of the band she cofounded in 2012 that now boasts two million monthly listeners on Spotify. “We’re trying to make pop songs that aren’t on the radio, because they’re too weird. It’s a pop band, but we’re talking about complicated emotions.”


Turn it off.


There’s a school of advice that claims good writing is the result of endless, painstaking, comprehensive rewrites that iterate toward perfection, but I’ve learned much more about craft writing and publishing nine novels than I ever would have rewriting my first novel nine times.

About

Eliot Peper

Novelist: Veil, Breach, Borderless, Bandwidth, Neon Fever Dream, Cumulus, Exit Strategy, Power Play, and Version 1.0.

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