Ministry for the Future
by Robinson, Kim Stanley

Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts of living creatures both past and present, this brilliant novel is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written. 150,000 first printing.

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.

*Starred Review* 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. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

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 Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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