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Dec 12, 2020chazbufe rated this title 3 out of 5 stars
This is a weird one. It opens with a horrifying, lengthy bravura chapter written in a close first-person p.o.v. describing living through a killer heatwave in India. It's some of the most gut wrenching writing I've read in ages. But in the second chapter Robinson switches to distant third-person p.o.v. and stays with it throughout the rest of the book. To make things worse, the reader expects the narrator of the first chapter to be the primary character, but he's relegated to secondary-character status for the rest of the book in favor of a different and less interesting character (though this is partially the result of the distant third-person p.o.v.). As well, though it's billed as a novel, it alternates narrative (fiction) chapters with factual chapters describing in some detail various ways of combating climate change, and also short (some as little as about a hundred words) chapters consisting of philosophical ramblings and miscellaneous comments, a number of which serve no apparent purpose. As a result, it's neither fish nor fowl, and I ended up wishing Robinson had written two books instead of this single volume: an actual sci-fi novel on the political aspects of fighting climate change, and a nonfiction book on the various ways to do that. Still, the nonfiction material on ways to combat global warming is well worth reading. Despite it's obvious and irritating warts, I'd recommend "Ministry for the Future": It's the most thought provoking book I've read in ages.