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Book Review: The Ministry for the Future by Stanley Robinson

Book Review: the Ministry for the Future

by Kim Stanley Robinson  

Published by Orbit Books 2020 


The Ministry for the Future imagines our current and soon to be times in both a scientific narrative and fictional story telling. Kim Stanley Robinson calls it climate fiction. Be forewarned— this is a difficult, pessimistic, optimistic, hopeful, and dreadful story. This painful tale, takes a hard look at our all too real climate collapse, while also proposing paths to an alternate future. “So all the necessities for a good life are abundant enough that everyone alive could have them. Food, water, shelter, clothing, health care, education” 


Robinson invents the Ministry for the Future, appointed by the UN to address Paris Agreement non-compliance. Charged with protecting the rights of future generations, members of the Ministry and intertwining characters, provide the backdrop to exploring real and complex science, as well as strategy, both existing and invented. “What’s hard, I think, is imagining how we could get from our current situation into a better situation.” 


Robinson imagines our near future, and he does not hide the suffering; it is immense. There are also resisting, resiliency, mitigation and the reimagining of what is possible. He suggests broad possibilities and pathways, frameworks and structural changes to our civilization. And he tells a good story. 


This book is a worthy read. It is a solid story for a personal reading list, and may be just the right fit as effective class reader. Trigger alert for the first chapter. 

Reviewed by Beth Abels 

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