Wednesday, March 03, 2021

The Ministry for the Future

A short post to say that, belatedly, that if you're interested in the many dimensions of the climate change issue, you have to read The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. Speculative sci-fi set in our near future, it is chock full of ideas -- scientific, social, economic, cultural, political, policy, activism, and more -- and is exciting in all these dimensions. 

I'm about 40% of the way through, so please don't give any spoilers in the comments (also in consideration of other readers). I was on a wait list to buy this -- a splash ad I saw a few months ago said it was the most important book of 2020. Seems it so far to me. Actually, with this and the collection of his earlier work, I think Kim Stanley Robinson should be awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature.  

PS: Couldn't get new blogger to decently position a picture of the book's cover. Apparently too much to ask. Hooray for Google software updates, supposedly improving mankind one bad release at a time. (Friend of mine: "They're an advertising company, not a software company.")


Philip Shropshire said...

Still haven't worked my way through the Mars Trilogy. But liked his book on why generation starships could be a bad idea.

Entropic man said...

Columbus set out with three ships to discover a route to the Orient and came back with one.

Magellan set out with five ships, of which one returned.

Generation ships would be similar. Given the investment, we have the physics and biology to design and build generation ships, but we would probably lose most of the first group of ships while we learned how to keep people alive on them.

David Appell said...

It was the same in KS Robinson's book "Aurora."

Just finished TMOFT:

David Appell said...

Uh, that should be TMOTF.

David Appell said...

Thanks for posting your review, Philip. Nice one.

Entropic man said...

In this context Biosphere 2 is interesting.

They set out to build a prototype generation ship biosphere and learned a lot.

Lesson 1 Do not build your sealed environment out of concrete. It absorbs CO2 which reduces both atmospheric CO2 and atmospheric oxygen.

Lesson 2 With experience you can manage and live off a sealed biological environment for extended periods.

Lesson 3 Most of the problems will be with the people rather than the technology.