I'm a big fan of Kim Stanley Robinson's books, and as with musical interests, I like to know who their influences are.

The problem is this: His work is quite distinct, and I can't find any conceptual or style connections in the rest of my (admittedly limited) sci-fi knowledge.

Although speculation is welcome (in comments), I'd appreciate a cited answers I can confidently tick.

  • Can you make the topic be "Who/What are Kim Stanley Robinson's Influences? Jan 22, 2011 at 1:25
  • @Pearonartphoto: Good call
    – Stu Pegg
    Jan 22, 2011 at 13:14
  • His Years of Rice and Salt was inspired by what I understand to be a not uncommon narrative structure from novels written especially in East Asian countries where Buddhism has significant cultural sway, but which is (in my experience) somewhat unusual for Western English lit.
    – Lexible
    Aug 1, 2022 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


I think it's safe to assume that Philip Dick was a major influence on him, given his Doctoral Thesis. Also, there's an LA Times article which discusses his childhood reading "Asimov, and later Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany and Gene Wolfe".


There's a short story by him in which he has a conversation with a statue of James Joyce, so him too. You can also tell by his use of flow-of-conciousness.

He was inspired by Peter Mathiesen to rewrite his Science in the Capital trilogy as a single volume.

  • 3
    "by him" meaning Robinson...? If so, best to specify that, rather than only referring to him using pronouns. It'd also be good to name the short story you have in mind, and if you could edit this answer to include a relevant excerpt from that story, that'd be even better. Aug 1, 2022 at 19:09

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