Kim Stanley Robinson’s interest in science fiction all in an orange grove. When he was young, he says he watched southern California suffer what he calls “future shock,” – a process by which the natural landscape was rapidly replaced with apartment buildings and roads. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Robinson about how that experience inspires his writing
Robinson also talks about his Mars Trilogy that depicts a society where people have colonized Mars to escape overpopulation and ecological disaster on Earth. We’ll hear how he imagined life on Mars and how he deals with questions of plausibility as he writes about future time.
If you were going to create a town with fictional characters who could live anywhere in the world, where would those characters go when they go home? Your first inclination may not be to create a story based in central Illinois, after all, there are much more exciting places to set a novel. But Morton native and author Ryan Bartelmay says he wouldn’t think to write about characters living anywhere else. This hour on Focus, he talks with host Jim Meadows about his debut novel, “Onward Toward What We’re Going Toward.” We’ll hear about why he writes about cultures in small towns in the Midwest and will hear about a set of characters who make a living working at a pumpkin canning factory.
This hour on focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Jim Kaler about his new book “First Magnitude, a Book of the Bright Sky,” a beginner’s guide astronomy. We’ll talk with Kaler about what to watch for in the sky this spring and how to appreciate the stars in an area with lots of light pollution.
Kaler joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1964 and has held Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships. He has been recognized for his work by the University of Liège in Belgium, the University of Mexico, the University of Illinois, the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, the American Astronomical Society and the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society. He is former president for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s board of directors.
Ten years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entry over Texas, killing seven astronauts. While the shuttle program continued for some years thereafter, state-funded space flight dwindled in the decade that followed. Now, space is becoming more of a private industry. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the future of space travel. Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former astronaut and President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation will be here to talk about his experiences in space and what needs to happen for commercial space tourism and research to become a reality. We’ll also talk with Philippe Geubelle, a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the UIUC and the Director of the Illinois Space Grant Consortium about funding for aerospace education for next generation and Jonathan Card, Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation.
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