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The Ministry for the Future
A Novel
Robinson, Kim Stanley
read on May 26, 2021

I think a lot of climate change articles I've read do a poor job of contextualizing the actual impact of climate change. They will say things like "the polar ice caps are melting at X cubic meters per day", or "sea level will rise by Y inches by 2050", or even "average temperatures will go up globally by Z degrees", but I hadn't really seen something that describes what impact that will really have on the world. What will that make my life like? Or other peoples lives? What will be the inevitable sociopolitical consequences of this?

This book addresses those questions head on, in interesting ways. For me I guess the most interesting were:

  • The general physiological impact that it will have on people, particularly those who survive famines / heat waves, etc.
  • The non-centralized approach to solving climate change - each nation addresses the issue independently, somewhat proportional to their population's impact from climate change.
  • The effect of terrorism post tipping point - particularly targeting carbon profiteers or those who still use carbon-heavy processes (planes)
  • The general ingenuity of addressing the problem from so many angles.
  • Really liked the plot line around carbon coins - a crypto currency backed by carbon sequestration, and supported by G8 federal banks.

It's a long book, probably too long, but it really does a great job describing the world we're quickly running towards. At times its rightfully terrifying.

Author Bio:

Kim Stanley Robinson (born March 23, 1952) is an American writer of science fiction. He has published nineteen novels and numerous short stories but is best known for his Mars trilogy. His work has been translated into 24 languages. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural, and political themes and feature scientists as heroes. Robinson has won numerous awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award. Robinson's work has been labeled by The Atlantic as "the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing." According to an article in The New Yorker, Robinson is "generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers."