Book Review: Ministry for the Future

Science fiction always feels a bit like asking for a tarot reading or having your future read on a crystal ball. Sure, the aliens might be a bit unbelievable, but truth is stranger than fiction.

For Kim Stanley Robinson’s peek into the future, things hit a little too close to home, and open the curtain on a lot of topics beyond science that are inhibiting us from saving the planet from climate change.

I wouldn’t consider this fiction. It’s hard to navigate, the characters aren’t that appealing, and don’t even get me started on the ending for Mary, the head of the Ministry for the Future, when she retires. However, if I peered at it as a place for these characters to speak hard truths, it became something else entirely. And, in that narrative, I started to understand the impacts of economics and global distribution, capitalistic greed, and the need for hard grueling change. The book made me think, and look at our current impending climate doom with both despair, but also hope. I think if it has been written as non fiction, it wouldn’t have reached as many readers, or been waved off as another alarmist climate story (not to imply that we shouldn’t be alarmed… the red warning lights have been flashing for a while now).

Plus, it’s hard not to enjoy the personification of a carbon atom. And, maybe I’ll stop saying I’m reading the Ministry of Magic. One day.

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