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The Ministry for the Future
Cover of The Ministry for the Future
The Ministry for the Future
A Novel
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From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using...
From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using...
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  • From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades.
    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—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.
    One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2020
    "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
    "The best science fiction-nonfiction novel I've ever read." —Jonathan Lethem, Vanity Fair
    "A breathtaking look at the challenges that face our planet in all their sprawling magnitude and also in their intimate, individual moments of humanity." —Booklist (starred)
    "A sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity's ability to cooperate in the face of disaster. This heartfelt work of hard science-fiction is a must-read for anyone worried about the future of the planet." —Publishers Weekly (starred)

    "The Ministry for the Future ranks among Robinson's best recent works, a collection of actions and observations that adds up to more than the sum of its eclectic and urgent parts." —Sierra
    Also by Kim Stanley Robinson:
    Red Moon
    New York 2140
    2312
    Aurora
    Shaman

About the Author-

  • Kim Stanley Robinson is a New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt and 2312. In 2008, he was named a "Hero of the Environment" by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. He lives in Davis, California.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 29, 2020
    Bestseller Robinson (Forty Signs of Rain) again tackles climate change head-on in this gutsy, humane view of a near-future Earth careening toward collapse. Mary Murphy, head of the Ministry for the Future, a UN watchdog agency created as a result of the Paris Agreement, takes to heart the ministry’s mission “to advocate for the world’s future generations.” Mary spends her days promoting relief for the afflicted and wrestling with the financial powers-that-be to change the carbon balance before it tips too far. She must also be on the watch for ecoterrorists, even as she plans to use their attacks in her pitch for a carbon sequestration cryptocurrency to a group of influential bankers. Then Molly is abducted by the traumatized survivor of a heat wave that killed 20 million in India, who furiously cuts through the political weeds to demand change (“You’re killing the world and you want me to remember what words you used to cover your ass?”). Galvanized by his demands, Molly attempts to start a “black wing” working in secret within the Ministry for the Future to make larger changes than she can aboveboard—only to discover that such a group already exists. Robinson masterfully integrates the practical details of environmental crises and geoengineering projects into a sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity’s ability to cooperate in the face of disaster. This heartfelt work of hard science-fiction is a must-read for anyone worried about the future of the planet. Agent: Chris Schelling, Selectric Artists.

  • AudioFile Magazine Jennifer Fitzgerald leads a full cast in this compelling work of speculative fiction about solving the climate crisis around the world. Fitzgerald does the heavy lifting as Mary Murphy, the woman put in charge of solving the global crisis. Because the cast of characters come from every continent, Fitzgerald must move from her native Irish lilt into a variety of accents and back with hardly a moment to breathe. The listener feels totally immersed. There is a full cast delivering other parts, yet the fact that Fitzgerald is left to her own devices for over half the book exemplifies her skill in characterization. This story is heavy but important. Be prepared to lose sleep as you won't want to pause for anything. A.R.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2020

    As the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning Robinson here deals with climate change and the complications of technology, as well as the types of human behavior that lead to crises in these areas, it's no surprise that this postapocalyptic novel is set in the near future. No plot details but a 150,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    September 15, 2020
    This detail-heavy near-future novel offers a window onto the apocalypse looming just behind our present dystopia. As Uttar Pradesh suffers from a crippling heatwave and blackouts, Frank May, an American aid worker in a small city, runs out of options to help the local residents stay cool and suggests that they go into the lake, which unfortunately offers very little relief. He rouses from an uneasy night submerged in the water to discover that everyone is dead but him, a devastating outcome that leaves him with PTSD and a desire to do something, anything, to reverse climate change. But as Frank is the quintessence of the ineffectual White American savior--not equipped to save anything or anyone, even himself--he doesn't have the first idea about how to pursue his goal. His bumbling and his anger drive him to a failed kidnap attempt on Mary Murphy, head of the titular Ministry for the Future, a U.N. agency formed in 2025 to further the aims of the Paris Agreement. Frank drifts through years as a fugitive and then as a convicted felon, Mary works tirelessly through diplomatic and bureaucratic channels to save the planet before it's too late, and the Children of Kali, a group of eco-terrorists also inspired by the Indian heatwave tragedy, pursue more violent--and shockingly effective--methods of combating environmental destruction. These strands initially form the basis of a gripping story, but they're diffused by Robinson's determination to narrate a history of an alternate future timeline, one which naturally excludes our present pandemic and the latest crackdowns in Hong Kong but also apparently ignores the U.S. dropping out of the Paris Agreement and the implications of Brexit. That tale, or more often lecture, is conveyed through dry and snarky infodump essays and brief, punchy accounts from people, inanimate objects, and metaphorical forces. Perhaps the author is angry that though he's spent years writing novels exploring the dire results of climate change, the message doesn't seem to have gotten through; it's clear that he is unhappy at how politics and greed have obstructed opportunities for positive environmental action. At the same time, he seems hopeful that the world can still forge a path forward, if only we have the resolve. High-minded, well-intentioned, and in love with what Earth's future could be but somewhat lacking in narrative drive.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 1, 2020
    The 2025 Paris Agreement begets the Ministry for the Future, led by pragmatic Irishwoman Mary Murphy, to ensure Earth's future through the reversal of climate change. Simultaneously, U.S. clinician Frank miraculously survives an extinction-level heat event in Uttar Pradesh. Robinson's dense prose explodes Mary's and Frank's stories (among scores of human, animal, and other stories) into a provocative look at the economic, legislative, and scientific leaps that must be made in order to control rampant climate events that seem all too real. This creates a prickling tension as epic-scale world events are married to micro-scale storytelling, in which even a lowly photon gets a turn to relate its experiences. Humanity is pitted against an inexorably ticking clock as Mary struggles with the ramifications of rogue nation-states manipulating the weather, anarchist political groups trying to force change with violent, massive attacks against wealthy resource-hogging elites, and her kidnapping at the hands of Frank. A breathtaking look at the challenges that face our planet in all their sprawling magnitude and also in their intimate, individual moments of humanity.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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