The Ministry for the FutureKim Stanley Robinson

The Ministry for the Future

4 star

Total 461 Ratings

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson Book Summary


“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of the year, this extraordinary novel from visionary science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson will change the way you think about the climate crisis.

"One hopes that this book is read widely—that Robinson’s audience, already large, grows by an order of magnitude. Because the point of his books is to fire the imagination."―New York Review of Books

"If there’s any book that hit me hard this year, it was Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future, a sweeping epic about climate change and humanity’s efforts to try and turn the tide before it’s too late." ―Polygon (Best of the Year)
"Masterly." —New Yorker

"[The Ministry for the Future] struck like a mallet hitting a gong, reverberating through the year ... it’s terrifying, unrelenting, but ultimately hopeful. Robinson is the SF writer of my lifetime, and this stands as some of his best work. It’s my book of the year." —Locus

"Science-fiction visionary Kim Stanley Robinson makes the case for quantitative easing our way out of planetary doom." ―Bloomberg Green

The Ministry for the Future (Kim Stanley Robinson) Book Reviews

Important story and ideasSpeaking of this book, Ezra Klein said something like, it may not be the best written book I’ve read this year, but it likely will be the most important. I agree with that. I’m glad to have read it..Score: 4/5

Unrealistic optimism?The MFTF is an interesting and hopeful read with overlapping themes from other KSR novels. What’s different about this book is that it takes place over the next 30-40 years and many readers will live to see if sci-fi becomes history. KSR offers a host of economic, geopolitical and geoengineering solutions to climate change. Perhaps I’m unduly pessimistic but as much as I hope the novel’s ideas can happen I have too little faith in the US, other governments, our global financial institutions and most of humanity to make it so. I think people should read this thoughtful novel as one man’s blueprint on how to save the planet. Let’s all hope that these or other solutions can and will happen. There is, Elon Musk excepted, no PLANet B..Score: 4/5

Barely a narrative.A massive waste of time. There is no way this book is published if the author weren’t already well known..Score: 1/5

His most realistic utopiaI will admit upfront that I love KSR. His books aren’t for everyone, but if you have a bit of utopian romance in you then they will be very enjoyable to you. The book feels less traditionally organized than a lot of his other works. Often, you see the action through notes taken by other characters, or through unlabelled dialogue, or through poetic interludes. You still get senses of characters - Mary decisive yet observant, Tatianna a Russian wrecking ball, Badim a bureaucrat with hidden depths. But what really shines here is KSR’s greater understanding of China and the financial world compared to his earlier works, which allow him to craft a much more realistic path from today to utopia. He has also realized the need for some ugliness, with frank discussions of political violence, it’s morality and its effectiveness. Of course now review would be complete without a discussion of the first chapter, where KSR imagines a deadly heatwave in India. I have never read a more calm and clear description of climate horror. All in all, this is another great work and definitely worth a read. 5/5..Score: 5/5

Maybe I didn’t get it all?I love the theme and the experiment of the idea… but I found myself not caring by the end and just trying to finish..Score: 4/5

A ray of hope…Timely and topical, meticulously researched, offering politicians and decision makers who hold the key to our shared future a roadmap to ecological salvation..Score: 5/5

Hire a real editorLots of great ideas. What a mess of a novel. The editor assigned to this project should be imprisoned..Score: 1/5

The ministry for the futureThis book gives us a sneak preview of what's to come, both the old and evil and the new and good. Maybe with this preview we can be shocked awake to get done what must be done to save the planet and most of it's residents. If it doesn't resonate, the experience will be our last..Score: 5/5

Ministry of the FutureThis work of near futurism predicts how global climate change will unfold. It discusses its potential impacts on the climate and on civilization- and how humanity might respond. Some predictions are dark but unfortunately realistic. Robinson predicts that the response will need to be strong- he includes eco-terrorism and even eco-assassination as necessary tools of the urgent push toward decarbonization and saving civilization. Current thinking on elimination of burning carbon as well as carbon removal, heat mitigation on a global scale and protection of ice-packs and glaciers are all described in a practical context. There are new ideas as well- the invention of a carbon coin to incentivize carbon industries to keep coal and oil underground- describe as carbon quantitative easing. It’s an attractive idea built out of Modern Monetary Theory. The book purports to be a novel but it really doesn’t read like one. There are characters with a narrative arc that wander through the book but it is hard to care about them- they are just illustrations of climate change, it’s impacts and what we are going to need to do to save ourselves. It’s worth reading for its ideas but is not satisfying as a novel..Score: 3/5

Disappointing and disorganizedNot any story, flipping about like water droplets on a hot surface..Score: 3/5

Long but imaginativeThis is my first introduction to the author but I will check out other titles. I thought the book had some interesting ideas about strategies for slowing or even reversing climate change. The book could have been shorter by a third without losing anything, but maybe the odd chapters here and there had some important lessons that I failed to grasp..Score: 4/5

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The Ministry For The Future
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