Kim Stanley Robinson is a legend of science fiction. He's best known as the author of the Hugo-winning Mars series (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars), the Three Californias trilogy, and alternate history novel The Years of Rice and Salt. This year he published one of his masterworks, the novel 2312, about what happens to humanity after we've colonized the solar system and gotten comfortable (or, in some cases, uncomfortable) with multi-planet existence.

We had a chance to sit down with Robinson and ask him what the one thing was that inspired his incredible career in science fiction. In this video, he gaves us a surprising answer — apparently, as a young adult, he checked Clifford D. Simak's comic novel The Goblin Reservation out of the library — and it changed his life.

What Was It is a series of short interviews co-hosted on io9 and Gizmodo that asks the luminaries of science and science fiction what inspired them to delve so deeply into the only kind of magic we have in the real world — science and technology. What was it that first opened their eyes? Find out more at What Was It?