35 Comments

Hi, everyone. How's the reading going? I've been under water at work, but coming up for air soon. How are people finding this read?

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Subscribed, and copy in hand!

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Got my copy! Just hope I can read fast enough to keep up with the discussion πŸ˜…

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So should we just post our thoughts in this thread as we read? Do we have a schedule? Here goes...

I'm about ten percent in, and I'm enjoying it, after that first horrific chapter (which I didn't re-read this time around). Structurally, I like the shifts between a lot of different voices. That's creating interest... there's always something new. Even if I come to a policy-heavy chapter, like Chapter 3, I know it will be over soon, and the next will be back to a different mode of storytelling. His Science in the Capital trilogy would have benefited from more of that kind of variety.

I found the first chapter with Chandra and Mary especially gripping. The debate over geoengineering reminded me of Neal Stephenson's Termination Shock, and also of comments in various environmental forums I'm part of that highlight the politics more than the science. Along the lines of "carbon sequestration is just a dodge for the oil companies to keep on drilling." When the science is telling us we have to remove carbon as well as stop emitting it, it seems like the politics have to fall by the wayside. (I am aware that DAC has to still be technically proven at large scales, so the jury's still out on its feasibility.) Maybe those technologies are last resorts, but who's to say when we're at the last resort? I bet the people of Kiribati have a different answer than those of us in the (formerly) temperate north do.

I find Robinson is best with description and with focused scenes between a couple of characters. But he's finding other ways to make group settings more dynamic (and brief!), as in the notes of the big gloom and doom meeting, instead of trying to lay it all out in dialogue. And that chapter about the executives of the oil companies, who are all really nice people with good intentions...oof!

And then there are the more philosophical bits from some sort of disembodied authorial voice, like the short chapter about ideology. It all seems pretty experimental, and I like it. Looking forward to the next parts.

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Hi Elle. I want to join in & support you (that was an affiliate link, right?) but I am based in the UK. Do you have an ebook affiliate link instead?

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Thanks for doing this, Elle. I read Ministry last year and was so frustrated with it as a novel that I wrote long talk-backs to it in my journal every day. I put some of them in my Goodreads review but I may look them up as we consider this book together. As I recall, my main beef with it was that it’s an extended editorial more so than a novel. Fiction is meant to raise questions and possibilities, not give answers. I promise to keep an open mind! I enjoyed his much earlier book, Pacific Edge, and have been eyeing the New York books. I get that he’s brilliant, and his work is thought-provoking.

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Oct 4, 2023Liked by Elle Griffin

I have been reading Ministry for the Future for the last two weeks. I have struggled because it is so dystopian. I am persisting because it is supposed to be a utopian novel. I am 75% done, it has many fascinating chapters that don't at first seem to relate to the story, but really do if you think about it. I hope to get to the utopian part soon.

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I'm about to finish the last book from NK Jemisin's 'Broken Earth' trilogy and my last cli-fi reading of the year is 'The Ministry of the Future' which I was already planning on reading with you. So I'm definitely in. I hope that you can ask him some of my questions because I plan to write something about my cli-fi reading in 2023. Would love to include a quote from the author. So excited, this is great Elle!

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Great idea. It's Ministry FOR the Future. Yes, Chapter 1 is horrific, but all the rest of the book is about solutions. Don't let size of book discourage you -- many chapters are 1 page or less. Well worth reading!

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Video chatting to KSR? Badass. I'm in.

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Oct 4, 2023Liked by Elle Griffin

Great, I love KSR's Mars series, best trilogy ever. I've finished MttF a while back, I like it very much. I'll give it a quick re-read to refresh.

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Ha! I’ve only read the beginning of Ministry, which was so dystopian I couldn’t continue! I did read his whole Science in the Capital trilogy. Glad to have the excuse to come back to this one, since so many of my acquaintances recommend it.

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