Science fiction novelists Jonathan Lethem and Kim Stanley Robinson will present a free evening of conversation between authors on “The Literary Imagination” at 7 pm Tuesday, May 14 at the UC San Diego Price Center Ballroom.
In honor of the grand opening of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, these two authors will discuss their use of imagination in literary works, like the imagined future setting of Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This discussion is part of a weeklong series of inaugural events highlighting the collaboration of different disciplines, from neuroscience to literature, in the study of the imagination within the Arthur C. Clarke Center.
Lethem is a novelist, essayist, and short story writer who has melded the genres of science fiction and detective fiction with his first book in 1994, “Gun, with Occasional Music.” He then published three science fiction novels (“Amnesia Moon,” “As She Climbed Across the Table,” and “Girl in Landscape”) before writing “Motherless Brooklyn,” which garnered mainstream success.
Of all his characters, Lethem claims to identify most with the protagonist of this novel. “Motherless Brooklyn” went on to win numerous awards, including the Nation Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the Macallan Gold Dagger for Crime Fiction. His 2003 book, “The Fortress of Solitude,” was a “New York Times” Best Seller and published in fifteen different languages.
Lethem has been praised for not only his blending of genres but for his eagerness to blend literary and popular writing. When asked about his genre mixing, Lethem referred to the way his father’s art “always combined observed and imagined reality on the same canvas, very naturally, very un-self-consciously.” In 2005, Lethem received a MacArthur fellowship.
Robinson, a UC San Diego Alumnus (BA, PhD), is a science fiction writer most famous for his “Mars” trilogy. “Red Mars,” “Green Mars,” and “Blue Mars,” tell the story of the settlement of Mars. With each book, a color transition reflects the changes Mars undergoes in order to become a thriving populated planet. Robinson’s works frequently explore ecological and sociological themes, such as in his novel “Antarctica,” which was published two years after he went to the pristine frozen continent on assignment from the US National Science Foundation. In 2008, “Time Magazine” declared Robinson a “Hero of the Environment.”
“The Literary Imagination” is free and open to the public, with no tickets or reservations required. For those arriving by car, park at the Gilman Parking Structure. Parking is $4 after 4:30 pm. For more information on this and other Arthur C. Clarke Center events, visit imagination.ucsd.edu.