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Can a novel become a catalyst to help us address impending climate disaster? That’s one question posed by the legendary Kim Stanley Robinson, in his best-selling novel The Ministry for the Future, which begins with millions of Indians dying from temperatures that send people cramming into lakes to cool off — where they literally poach to death. The book has been praised by everyone from Barack Obama to the Dalai Lama and seems to be turning even bureaucrats and bankers’ heads. In his work, Robinson creates space for the possibility of change, possible worlds of equity, not only for survival but for justice and a liveable future. Call it speculative fiction, sci-fi, even “cli-fi”, The Ministry for the Future is a blueprint for transformation and pushes us to think not just about how close to the end we might be. If 20 million people in India died in a heatwave today would that be enough to force humanity to act? Join Laura and Stan for this conversation on how we can all imagine change and work to preserve our planet.

“I’m seeing people responding to my novel, which is just a story, because they want that story. What I’m seeing now is that the 2020s will be a time of intense action and it will mean intense conflict, but good things can come of it.”

“I think it’s a problem being noticed more and more — that we value the present much more than future generations, who are sure to come if we don’t wreck everything.”


  • Kim Stanley Robinson: New York Times Bestselling Author, The Ministry for the Future, Mars trilogy, Aurora, 2312, New York 2140

Portions of this interview are featured in our episode “Kim Stanley Robinson: Writing the Future Story People Want“.

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