The making of Icehenge

by Henry Farrell on April 12, 2024

Last year, I received an email asking if I would write an introductory essay for the Tor Essentials reissue of Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel Icehenge. It took me approximately thirty seconds to convince myself that this was not some kind of hallucination, and another three or four to type YES! OF COURSE!!! and hit reply. It was the most delightful email I’d gotten in years. Stan is now a friend, but the request had its origins in a conversation years before I’d met him. At least a decade ago, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and I were chatting about his books, and I said that Icehenge was both (a) his best novel in my opinion, and (b) criminally under-appreciated. Patrick, who recently stepped down as editor-in-chief at Tor, somehow remembered this, and asked me to pick up on the notion many years later. So how could I do anything but seize the chance?

The book is out in June, and I’ll have more to say then. When I was writing the introduction, I talked to Stan about how he had come to write Icehenge, and what it had meant to him as a writer. There was a lot about modernism! When the British Science Fiction Association’s journal, Vector put out a call for submissions on SF and modernism, I made inquiries, and they said they’d love to publish the conversation. A cleaned up version is available in the new issue (which has a ton of other great content). It’s published under Creative Commons, as is pretty well everything that Vector publishes, so I’m republishing it here. I simply can’t say how happy I am about all of this, and how much I’m looking forward to the book itself – out in just a couple of months.

There are some spoilers in the below – so if you prefer to wait for the book, wait for the book! [click to continue…]