Read the whole thing, Crooked Timber’s Ministry for the Future Seminar, especially the links to the essays on climate change (see previous post: Kim Stanley Robinson’s: The Ministry for the Future: terrible novel but great ideas like giving $USD100K to everybody so highly recommended :-) )
“Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2020 novel “The Ministry for the Future,” is a fierce imaginative work. Robinson doesn’t just depict a future beyond the climate emergency and capitalism itself, he depicts the specific, wrenching transition that takes us there.
As I wrote in my review, the (variously attributed) maxim “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism,” isn’t quite right. Imagining postcapitalism is an easy lift, but imagining the path to that world is very hard.
Robinson didn’t leap into this project – he’s been working up to it for literally decades, at least since the publication of the “Three California” books, which include one of the most uplifting novels I’ve ever read, PACIFIC EDGE:
Meanwhile, his 2312/Aurora/New York 2140/Red Moon novels constitute a kind of rangefinding exercise, starting 300 years the future and then walking his projection backwards to find a plausible route to get there.
But all these brilliant novels really seem to be warmup exercises for the main event, The Ministry for the Future, which depicts the intermeshed systems of economics, politics, geoengineering, streetfighting and tragedy that might rescue us from dying in our own waste-gases.
It’s urgent, frightening and hopeful, raising as many questions as it answers.
These questions are now taken up in one of Crooked Timber’s “seminars”: a series of interdisciplinary essays about the book, culminating in the author’s response.