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The Ministry for the Future: A Novel

de Kim Stanley Robinson

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
9154419,585 (3.81)59
Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organisation was simple: To advocate for the world's future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future. It soon became known as the Ministry for the Future, and this is its story.From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a vision of climate change unlike any ever imagined.Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts, The Ministry For The Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, the story of how climate change will affect us all over the decades to come.Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us - and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face.It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written.Also by Kim Stanley Robinson:Red MoonNew York 21402312AuroraShaman… (més)
Afegit fa poc perM_Clark, Vidlak, aelfscine, Avogt221, becomingyolo, biblioteca privada, peterwr, carolyn.ogburn, r0seheart
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Es mostren 1-5 de 42 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The book is set in the near future at a point where the Earth's warming has increased, resulting in heat waves that kill millions with a few weeks. It then describes how various groups around the world react. It also describes a number of geoengineering projects. The book ends on a happy note.

The book left me with mixed feelings. It's description of how global warming affects people around the world is good as well as its description of the geoengineering projects that are undertaken. The weakness is in its bullet point like style switching from scene to scene abruptly. The description of how warming is reduced feels almost trite. One of the nice things of the book is the descriptions of the restored nature around the world at the end of the book. ( )
  M_Clark | Sep 28, 2022 |
Robinson opens with a gripping and horrific account of a super heat wave across India that kills thousands, coming close to killing an aid worker (Frank), who seems to be the only person to survive (amazingly) after being parboiled overnight in a lake. Mary, the director of the Ministry established by the UN, becomes the focus of action (mostly bureaucratic meetings), charged to develop and promote solutions to address climate change. Frank's near abduction of Mary prompts her to change her line of thought. After meeting with Badim, her assistant, who on his own, sub-rosa, directing "black ops" to "encourage action to address climate change," events seem to happen to fossil fuel users and executives: planes crash, ships explode, people die. Does Badim have a hand in these events? How are they accomplished? How are the actions kept secret? Meanwhile, Mary meets with the directors of central banks (e.g., the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of England, People's Bank of China, etc.), "those who really control the action," and talks them into creating a currency with a high interest yield based solely on sequestering carbon in the present, but redeemable after 100 years or so. At the end, Mary meets Art, a "wilderness guide" cum airship owner/pilot, and they travel the globe seeing the resurgence of biodiversity amidst the stabilization and slow turn toward cooling the planet. There are lots of side forays into human migration, stabilizing glacial loss in Antarctica, financial challenges of a carbon coin, establishing migration corridors for all manner of fauna -- all of it interesting, with results that may be plausible, yet overly optimistic -- I wish it could be so easy and true. However, Kim allows the reader to gloss over the difficulties and feel good that climate change can be tethered in a relatively short period of time -- the 30-40 years covered in the "novel." He doesn't force the reader to grapple with the supremely difficult challenges (or the "black ops" that might force some resolution at tremendous expense), the "relentless and ongoing use and abuse of power by rich countries and their political and economic leaders" and elites (read Bill McKibben).

This book has an important message to deliver, but it alternates between fiction (which might comprise a novella or long short story if it were more substantive) and non-fiction (short didactic chapters on physics, climate science, ecology, economics, and finance) and never presents any dramatic arc to hold a reader not already interested in addressing climate change. Moreover, while it presents optimistic yet reasonable, perhaps plausible human actions to address issues surrounding climate change, it does so by ignoring the more difficult challenges of governments, socio-cultural psychologies, religious beliefs (including other "-isms" like capitalism and nationalism), and general human nature that have been largely intransigent, or even antagonistic, to addressing climate change on local, regional, or even national levels, let along global. ( )
  kewing | Sep 20, 2022 |
I generally like KSR, and he's always had a slow writing style with plenty of exposition. But this isn't really a novel at all, it's excerpts and feels more like a draft or an outline with a few fully written chapters and a lot of filler with the points he wants to make, but not quite fleshed out. It takes a lot of getting used to.

It is of course a climate change novel set over a few decades from now(ish) to approx 2050. There are two main characters, Frank (again why do all his books feature a frank it's very confusing) and Mary. Frank is an aid worker in an Indian charity, caught up the first really deadly heatwave the world has ever seen. Mary is the elected head of the Ministry for the Future, created as a response to this crisis, and partly as a sop to be seen to be doing something, but with increasing teeth as the worldwide conditions get worse.

Switching between Frank and Mary is fine, but in-between there are many cutaways to unnamed actors in various situations, and possibly although it's never really clear, an AI attempting the aid the Ministry, and learn a bit more to the world. I ended up skimming a lot these paragraphs. We never find out who has been acting against the Ministry, and indeed there is very little plot as such - a series of incidents, and then skips forward in time to the consequences of their resolution without any indication how or why anything came about.

Not recommended, but still interesting. ( )
  reading_fox | Sep 4, 2022 |
0.5 stars

I'll decided if it's worth my time to rant about this later. This was not a well-executed novel. ( )
  natcontrary | Aug 16, 2022 |
This is a must read. ( )
  jpe9 | Aug 4, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 42 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Robinson is a writer who believes fiction can make a difference to the world. His latest is a bold docu-fictional extrapolation of how humanity might tackle the climate crisis, blending practical ideas and information with vivid prose – the astonishing opening chapter, in which a heatwave kills millions, will stay with me for a very long time. Robinson knows we can’t be saved by a single heroic flourish but by difficult, drawn-out and, above all, collective labour. A crucial book for our time.
afegit per Cynfelyn | editaThe Guardian, Adam Roberts (Nov 28, 2020)
 
Robinson shows that an ambitious systems novel about global heating must in fact be an ambitious systems novel about modern civilisation too, because everything is so interdependent. Luckily, when he opens one of his discursive interludes with the claim “Taxes are interesting”, he makes good on it within two pages. There is no shortage of sardonic humour here, a cosmopolitan range of sympathies, and a steely, visionary optimism.
afegit per melmore | editaThe Guardian (UK), Steven Poole (Nov 20, 2020)
 
This detail-heavy near-future novel offers a window onto the apocalypse looming just behind our present dystopia [...] High-minded, well-intentioned, and in love with what Earth’s future could be but somewhat lacking in narrative drive
afegit per melmore | editaKirkus Reviews (Oct 6, 2020)
 
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Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organisation was simple: To advocate for the world's future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future. It soon became known as the Ministry for the Future, and this is its story.From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a vision of climate change unlike any ever imagined.Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts, The Ministry For The Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, the story of how climate change will affect us all over the decades to come.Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us - and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face.It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written.Also by Kim Stanley Robinson:Red MoonNew York 21402312AuroraShaman

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