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Check It Out: The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

This is Barb Gross with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to “Check it Out.” Today, I’m recommending the latest book by Kim Stanley Robinson, the renowned science-fiction author. The book is titled The Ministry for the Future. Robinson is a very “sciencey” sci-fi writer. In his novels, the science is not fictional — which makes this story about climate change even more impactful.

The first chapters of this hefty book read like a script for a Hollywood disaster movie. The scene is India where a combination of heat, humidity, and power failure produce a disaster that kills 20 million people in a week. Some of them are “poached” in a lake where they fled to escape the lethal wet-bulb temperature.

The Ministry for the Future is the international agency “charged with defending all living creatures present and future who cannot speak for themselves.” The leader of the agency — and a compelling protagonist — is Mary Murphy, the former foreign minister of Ireland. She’s battling corrupt politicians and the fossil-fuel industry to find a way to prevent future disasters. Murphy discovers that she must challenge the global banking system to make real change.

This novel is terrifying — and yet, somehow, hopeful. Robinson paints a grim picture of our future on this planet if we do nothing, but he also offers ways we might avoid it.

Check out The Ministry for the Future, and browse other thought-provoking fiction and nonfiction, at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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