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Publisher's Summary

Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favourite reads of 2020

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organisation was simple: to advocate for the world's future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future. It soon became known as the Ministry for the Future, and this is its story.

From legendary science-fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a vision of climate change unlike any ever imagined.

Told entirely through fictional eye-witness accounts, The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, the story of how climate change will affect us all over the decades to come.

Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us - and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face.

It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written.

©2020 Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about The Ministry for the Future

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

eco-utopian politics and economics

Fantastic book, almost a manifesto. Lays out a map for transitioning from late capitalist ecocide to... something better. Like the best SF it takes us from our current world into something new in an entirely plausible way, backed by solid research and considered speculation. The story centres on Mary, head of the Ministry and we have just enough engagement with her inner life to humanize and personalise the global events.

At times a couple of the narrators are perhaps a little too eager to "act" the role they are reading, and some of the attempts at accents are questionable, but this is a mere quibble and those passages are short. The bulk of the book as superbly narrated.

2 people found this helpful

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Probably better as audiobook than as a book

The book contains many important ideas but its experimental nature seems to betray many unsuccessful attempts at creating a good storyline. I would recommend the audio version which is read by a cast of readers with lovely voices. This helped me to recognize the various threads that run in parallel from the get go. It also helped me to go through this very long book that starts brilliantly and slowly goes down from there till the end.

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A stunning vision of the future

This is a bit like World War Z, climate change edition, written by Bishop Tutu. Compelling and exciting, human and revolutionary. This is how humanity could actually overcome systemic greed with clever policy and disruption, to avert global disaster.

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Appalling reading makes this unlistenable

I really, really wanted to listen to this book but after several hours I gave up. The readings are just dreadful. The attempts at accents are simply embarrassing and at time become offensive, as if they are telling a racist joke. It just made me cringe. Whoever made the decision to record it this way should be fired. This was, without doubt, the worst I’ve ever listened to and I just couldn’t continue. A pity because the CONTENT seemed interesting and thought provoking. The woman who read accents from Ireland and the Indian sub continent was absolutely the worst. :-(

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Boring

This book is just boring. There are pockets of adventure, but in between are huge sections of weird quasi scientific ranting. It jumps around. I gave up about 5 hours in. I suspect it is better is you read it so you can see the breaks and skim some of the pieces when they get annoying. It just didn’t work for me as an audiobook.

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  • Tom Oldham
  • 01-23-21

Huge narration pitfall

A wonderful, sprawling, vital book for our times, massively let down by bizarre narration style of Jennifer Fitzgerald as Mary (the main character), who reads her chapters as if reciting a bedtime story to sleepy toddlers, a tone that lies somewhere between patronising and slightly simple. It was utterly impossible to take her seriously as a tough, hugely respected head of an international organisation at a time of global breakdown. Such a shame as the other narrators are largely very good (and a couple of them exceptional). A friend lent me a copy of the physical book and I ended up using that to read the Mary chapters and Audible-ing the rest! It's a fantastic book though.

12 people found this helpful

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  • C. P. McGregor
  • 12-08-20

What a disappointment

I bought this book having read positive reviews in a number of newspapers and as a longstanding fan of the Mars trilogy. Unfortunately I have reached the 4 hour mark and have decided against persevering any further.

The problems lie with both the text and the production. The author's warnings of the risks posed by climate change are clearly very important but on the basis of what I have heard so far he has spent too long on research and not enough time on constructing a story on which to hang it. Detailed descriptions of district and street names may serve to confirm that he has visited various of the places in which the story unfolds but offer scant consolation when characters behave implausibly or when the plot depends upon one too many coincidences.

So far as the production is concerned it embraces a series of single person narratives interspersed with editorial. The multiple narrators should be well suited to this style but none of them are particularly adept and one of them does just about the worst accents that I have ever heard. Given that she is narrating one of the main plot threads and is often discussing really serious topics then the thread of the story is seriously undermined by the urge to laugh at a ludicrous accent.

In short, this might be a book better enjoyed in print.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-25-21

Tedious with near comic narration

Tedious writing - cod climate change ‘what-if’ story interspersed with long factual sections. Like being caught by the bores in a University bar. But the narration is so poor and distracting, people just doing silly voices that border on racist.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Stanley Hopea
  • 11-22-20

Brilliant

‘Doughnut’-minded AirMiners of all latitudes and longitudes will love this book. Thank you KSR for writing it. The future is not set. Keep on keeping on!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-16-20

Everyone should read this book

Not heavily plot driven but riveting nonetheless. Enough emotional engagement in the main character, Mary, to keep you invested. But the carefully researched facts and about economics, science and ecology are vital and illuminating.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Heidi
  • 01-08-22

A hugely important book for our time.

A playbook of solutions to climate change, wrapped up in a great story. if Don't Look Up explains the urgency of the situation, this book tells us what we need to do about it.
Hopeful, inspiring, terrifying.

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  • Jon Freeman
  • 12-09-21

brilliantly systemic exploration of our future

The analytical parts of this story are priceless. The story itself is mostly interesting but I felt some passages overlong and even self indulgent. the reading is a bit mixed, certainly good enough but not great with occasional errors that should have been picked up. but this is a timely book bordering on a must-read, and the most fully systemic view of a planet since Dune.

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  • Ben Parsons
  • 10-26-21

Moving, motivating look at climate change effects

Incredible writing and content let down by a terrible performance.

The story is engaging, timely and genuinely motivating. It's the KSR you expect (if you like it you like it), but perhaps angrier and more urgent.

But... whoever plays Mary (arguably the main role, though it's ensemble) really struggled with the text.

I would recommend this book to everyone, as it is such a moving, motivating look at the effects of climate change. However, I may suggest the text version, or wait until there is a new audio production of this.

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  • C. Campbell
  • 09-16-21

Optimistic forecast for tangible ways to combat climate change

Combining visceral descriptions of the consequences of climate change, and the geopolitical fallout, this book offers a roadmap to navigate to a stable relationship with our planet. The abstract chapters feel out of place, but the overall story is compelling. I’m a little sceptical that blockchain will form a credible part of the economic solution, but happy to be proved wrong.

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  • Lukas Daalder
  • 09-07-21

some interesting ideas, but no ending

I will give it an A for trying, but this book started with a bang and ended with... nothing really. It sort of died in the end, with no clear aim or purpose.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-20

Engrossing

I couldn't put this book down. I found the mix of personal view from the varrying protagonists, with the global state of the world drew me in completely. The subject matter is bleak and unfortunately completely plausible, while the personal journeys are intimate and natural.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lis Pinero
  • 12-01-21

Mind-blowing with countless imaginative rewards

The author takes your mind where it hasn't been before. It narrates routinary statistics with a touch that makes you reflect. A book that takes you into the future that is not so far away. Intrigued if any of the solutions imagined here - carbon coin, additional subsidiary body- gets implemented in the future.

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  • Scott Hartley
  • 11-04-21

Fantastic

Scary, and uplifting at the same time. Beautifully produced audiobook with excellent multi-cast readers.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-08-21

Best climate change fiction you'll find

Realistic in the climate impacts and solutions. Gripping in its human tales. I wish there was a real Ministry of the Future!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-31-21

great work

great book very down to earth.
all the best to the author and cast

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Scheltema
  • 07-02-21

A possible template for change

This authour has thoroughly researched the topic developed a creative future-casting for a positive future for humanity.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Felix Andrews
  • 04-14-21

Intelligent, inspired

How to save the world.

Longer than it could have been perhaps, but full of substance.

I liked most of the narration. The use of so many voices suits the material.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter Watts
  • 03-29-21

Starts strong but loses its way towards the end

Interesting premise and global story told from personal perspectives. Story tends to drag when exploring rambling around the town with a narrative that doesn't contribute to the plot nor character development. Narrators are mainly good but the fake Australian accent is horrible and jarring.

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  • Quartstance
  • 02-02-21

One of the most Important books in years, terrible narration

This is one of the most important science “fiction” books ever written, but you would be forgiven for thinking Amazon would rather you didn’t listen to it. The narration is flat and boring in places, and slow and painful in others. Some of the narrators are ok, ironically when reading in the style of a documentary voice over, but other narrators have practically phoned it in.

What a massive shame. I’m reading this instead of listening.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-19-21

Future fiction, so close to future fact

I have read news articles which focus on the ideas in this book. That confirms that ideas in this book will become real very soon. Author does a great job of drawing on what's happening around us and dares to build a future that we can relate to.