Annotating Ministry for the Future

I finished reading Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson not too long ago, and as I read I kept thinking “I need to add that to the next edition of the Green New Deal book.”

So, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be pulling out a bunch of ideas KSR drops in MftF and expanding on them here. Ultimately, some of these blog posts will be pureed and poured into the next edition of GND.

I’ll add the following notice, and categorize these posts as MftF.

“This post is part of a Ministry for the Future annotation project. Some of the ideas/concepts/terms used by Kim Stanley Robinson in MftF I want to incorporate into the the next edition of the Green New Deal book I published with Hillsborough River Press.”

What did I think of the book?

KSR is super-smart and does his homework, hence my wanting to draw from this work of fiction as if it’s a nonfiction work.

Science fiction appealed to me when I was young because of the riot of ideas. I had then an insatiable appetite for novelty and the unexpected. I still love that about SF, but I’ve come to appreciate stories that are tempered with insight to the human condition. I feel my humanity much more as a middle-aged man than I did as a self-centered teen.

KSR puts a little more effort into character development than most of his predecessors, but I still find them a little flat.

KSR also has pretty much one voice. While MftF strives to slice and dice the future so we can see it from many different perspectives, it all comes across as lecture from a moderately hip professor. It’s a really cool and interesting lecture, and I’m deeply committed to paying attention, but I never feel swept up into the story or the world like I do with some other writers.

If anyone were ever to actually institute a Ministry for the Future, they could do a lot worse than put KSR in charge.

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