Where Realism Tips Into Optimism: Review of “The Ministry for the Future” (2020)

by Felix Schaumann

Just as the current climate talks begin , allow us to imagine another future. An optimist one.

Credit: Pixabay 8385

This spring, I gave my mother a book as a present, promising an optimistic take on climate change and on how our next 30 years might play out. Half a year later, she still has not read past page 32 – “it’s too depressing”, she says. I cannot blame her. The Ministry for the Future, a science fiction novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, starts with a heat wave killing around 20 million people in India and subsequent international conflict about unilateral solar geoengineering. On the other hand, the novel ends in 2050 with people flying around the globe in electric air ships, marveling at all the rewilded and restored ecosystems. In between, it forms a subtle narrative arc in which the initial pessimism (or realism) slowly and almost unnoticeably tips into optimism and hope. Continue reading “Where Realism Tips Into Optimism: Review of “The Ministry for the Future” (2020)”