Ministry for the Future

576 pages

English language

Published Dec. 13, 2020 by Orbit.

ISBN:
978-0-316-30013-1
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
1147927281

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4 stars (137 reviews)

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization 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 …

8 editions

Super Idee. Super schlecht zu lesen.

1 star

Hier geht um die großen Themen unserer Zeit geht: Klimawandel, Korruption, politisches Versagen, Demokratieuntergang, Hang zur Gewalt als Ausdrucks- und Gestaltungsmittel. Alles drin, alles dran.

Aber wie. Einen nachvollziehbaren Erzählstrang gibt es nicht. Einen Plot? Gibt es nicht. Statt dessen gibt es viel meinungsschwangeren Info-Dump. Dieser wird so unstrukturiert dargeboten wie ein Manuskriptentwurf. Es fühlt sich beim Umblättern an wie eine Sammlung von Schulaufsätzen.

Dieses Buch wollte mal eine gut erzählte Geschichte in Romanform werden, hat aber leider die entscheidenden Überarbeitungsschritte nicht bekommen.

Das ist kurz vor unlesbar. Leider. Es ist sehr schade um die Themen.

Lots of interesting ideas, but a slog to get through.

4 stars

I struggled picking a rating for this book. It's one of those books I'm happy to have read, but while reading it some sections were slow and hard to get through.

The book paints a vivid picture of what's already happening with climate change, and how it could get a lot worse. The reactions of different groups of people are interesting, and gave me things to think about.

Honest review

4 stars

The book occupies a peculiar spot between fiction and non-fiction. The book features individuals, it even drives home a powerful point about individual engagement but it is not focused on personal stories. This book aims to be a draw-you-in page turner built on a foundation of current events and present-day science, extrapolated into a claustrophobic tale of human survival in a hostile environment and it does succeed in this. I enjoyed it quite a lot and do sincerely believe that it should be available on more platforms like Shabd.in so that others can read it too.

Turgid

2 stars

I wanted to like this, but the prose was often awkward, the dialogue unimaginative, and the exposition was too blatant. Grand events are glossed over in single sentences, then nothing happens for whole chapters. Rather than weaving a thrilling narrative of a possible near future, this is really a repetitive and surprisingly dull series of essays that make up an over-optimistic manifesto for solving climate change.

Gets a lot right, but with some painful blind spots

3 stars

Content warning Spoilers for the whole book; references to disturbing content

Honestly, I think everyone should read this

5 stars

I have never been the biggest Kim Stanley Robinson fan, because my personal taste tends toward strongly character-driven stories. I've seen people say that, in KSR's stories, the setting is one of the characters. OK, fair enough ... but not exactly what I'm usually looking for.

But this book is gripping even for someone like me, and I think only Robinson could've written it. In some ways, it's more of his hard/near sf, and the setting (and what happens to it) is, indeed, the main focus. The character-driven stories are good, but alone wouldn't do it for me.

But it's also timely, relevant for all human beings. And it's both starkly terrifying and one of the most genuinely hopeful takes on our current situation that I've ever seen. It doesn't deny anything ... and yet it offers a clear case for hope.

Read it.

Super uneven, too optimistic

2 stars

Content warning Mild TMFTF spoilers

Optimistic despite all evidence against

4 stars

Ministry for the Future was a Good book. It’s unfortunate that KSR got bogged down in crypto as anything approaching a potential solution to a climate-induced economic collapse. And I found it especially hard to believe that world governments would ever agree to issue global citizenship to refugees.

Still, I found the accounts of various near-future climate disasters—and the peoples’ responses to them—to be very realistic and compelling.

KSR is clearly an optimist while I’m for sure a doomer. I Want To Believe but MftF didn’t win me over. Where’s the fascism? It’s the elephant in the room.

More than anything, the book got me thinking a lot, and presented a perspective I haven’t really seen before, which is rooted in a deep understanding of the problems and their severity, but still retains a sense of optimism that I largely don’t share. It felt good to see the world adapt …

Basically no plot, but a panoply of ideas

3 stars

Actually, the book has no real plot. On the basis of two persons, the book presents psychological trauma caused by climate change and how a high bureaucrat tries to convince other executives to act. Interspersed are short essays. Admittedly, I skipped about a third of the book due to repetition. I would have liked more plot. In the end, there is hope that somehow it will work out, but many sacrifices must be made along the way. What is problematic about the book is that while societies or masses are subjects, they are somehow very manipulated, reactive, history is written by the elite, which takes away a lot agency.

Some fantastic ideas, but a dragged out execution!

4 stars

I really did love this book. The first is so incredibly well written and has left a mark on me that will likely still be felt for years to come. I thoroughly loved the level of detail that Robinson gave to explaining some of the key concepts in the book, although unfortunately there was a heavy emphasis on economics that seemed to really drag on. It became a lot of "here's the thing that needs to happen, here is someone saying it needs to happen, here is the thing happening, here is the thing being finished, and here is life afterwards". Which wouldn't be so bad, if it wasn't as repetitive.

Overall though, it was wonderful to see a realistic look at the fight against climate change that still ended hopefully and optimistic. It shows the world as it one day could be, and inspires you to want to fight …

Strong ideas, weak execution

3 stars

There are a lot of ideas in this novel that do bear thinking about but the narrative, heavily reliant on a series of vignettes from the future, feels disjointed to the point that it keeps stumbling over itself. I do like the eventual optimism of the novel, but did find it a bit too reliant on hand-waving and buzzwords for me to really buy into it.

As a novel, The Ministry for the Future felt a lot like an exercise in wasted potential.

Important but not fully successful artistically

4 stars

Terrifyingly, largely nonfiction. After a very strong, almost shocking opening, it lacks a strong story arc that pulls you through the book, the kaleidoscopic storytelling feeling a bit artificial. But full of interesting, sometimes essential ideas and insights about climate breakdown, the wider socio-economic system and possible solutions. After only two years already somewhat dated, which makes it even more terrifying.

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