The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson review – how to solve the climate crisis

An international taskforce tackles global heating in this chilling yet hopeful vision of how the next few decades might unfold

It opens like a slow-motion disaster movie. In the near future, a heatwave of unsurvivable “wet-bulb” temperatures (factoring in humidity) in a small Indian town kills nearly all its inhabitants in a week. The Indian government sends up planes to spray sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere to mimic the dimming effect of major volcanic eruptions. This does not, naturally, meet with unalloyed approval around the world.

A new international climate-crisis body has been “charged with defending all living creatures present and future who cannot speak for themselves”, and is quickly dubbed the Ministry for the Future. It is led by our protagonist, Mary Murphy, former foreign minister of Ireland. Her outfit may or may not also have a black ops wing, but a shadowy terrorist network called the “Children of Kali” has no white ops wing: it uses drone swarms to crash passenger jets and container ships in deadly protest at continuing carbon emissions.

Continue reading...


Journey of Humanity by Oded Galor review – inequality explained?

An study of the factors behind economic growth attempts to reveal the ‘great cogs’ that drive deve...

Read More >

Freedom to Think by Susie Alegre review – the big tech threat to free thought

The modern online environment undermines our independence of opinion, argues a human rights lawyerIt...

Read More >

How Words Get Good by Rebecca Lee review – the secret life of books

An editorial manager at Penguin tells the inside story of how an idea gets from an author’s head on...

Read More >

The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier review – high-concept thrills

In this playful French prizewinner, the mysterious duplication of a plane and its passengers kicksta...

Read More >

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig review – fifty shades of sad

Ever felt something but struggled to express it? A new book might help you put a name to your ‘prol...

Read More >

A brief history of ‘ping’, from gun fights to the NHS Covid-19 app

The word ‘pingdemic’ is spreading as fast as the pandemic. But the meanings of ping stretch from t...

Read More >