The Ministry for the Future - Kim Stanley Robinson

The Ministry for the Future

By Kim Stanley Robinson

  • Release Date: 2020-10-06
  • Genre: Science Fiction
Score: 4
From 135 Ratings


From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. 

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 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.

"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


  • Long but imaginative

    By OutAndAboutNC
    This 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.
  • Disappointing and disorganized

    By 19BigDitch51
    Not any story, flipping about like water droplets on a hot surface.
  • Ministry of the Future

    By Ken Follet
    This 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.
  • Unrealistic optimism?

    By afs02
    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.
  • His most realistic utopia

    By jch6789
    I 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.