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Wonkette Book Club Part 3: Hot And Cold Running Crises
Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry For The Future, Week 3
Our summer Book Club reading of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2020 climate novel, The Ministry for the Future , continues, and we're now into the real globe-hopping parts of the novel, with chapters set in India, San Francisco, Antarctica, Davos, several refugee camps, a nameless drought-stricken city where the military trucks in water from desalination plants somewhere, and of course Zurich, where the Ministry for the Future is located. We learn that California is largely carbon neutral, working toward carbon negative, and that the state is trying to balance out drought years and flood years by trying to recharge groundwater with every bit of floodwater it can. (The bit about the paleo valleys in the Central Valley, where ancient riverbeds make the ground friendlier to percolating floodwater into the aquifers, is real science stuff.)
Let's continue our discussion!
A few questions that occur to me, in no particular order:
1) In the Davos chapter (39), Robinson gives us an absolute shitheel of an unreliable narrator, who insists that not a single bit of the lefty propaganda from the conference's captors sunk in, so "effect of this event on the real world: zero! So fuck you!"
It's a neat set-piece, and of course we're left to wonder what, if anything, the takeover of Davos may actually have accomplished. Are the bloated plutocrats likely to get anything more out of being held captive than a great story to tell at the club? "We will be interested to watch what you do with the rest of your lives," the captors say. Whaddya think they'll see the Davos crowd do?
However much I might love for Joe Manchin to be subjected to the reeducation program, for instance, I can't see anything getting through to him. But what would? (No, detailed fantasies about visits from the Children of Kali still not allowed in the comments, either).
2.) What do you think of the various climate mitigation strategies that are starting to be rolled out, especially the Antarctic glacier-slowing scheme and the innovations in India? I for one am pro-airship.
3) A report from Arizona's Department of Water Resources this week found that there's not enough groundwater under the Phoenix metro area to meet expected demand in the next century, which could finally put the brakes on developments in the outlying suburbs. ( Washington Post gift link ) This is more of a comment than a question.
4) What the hell is Mary's fascination with Frank about? Stockholm Syndrome, two characters in a not quite dialectical opposition, or ...? And what do you think of poor fucked-up Frank, for that matter?
5) Other. You're smart people, talk about the book and climate!
I'll be checking in all weekend to see how the discussion goes. I'm really jazzed about the interest this book has generated!
For next week, let's read Chapters 51 through 69 (nice) because most of us here are 12 years old anyway.
As always: if you haven't read the book or finished the "assigned" reading, always feel free to join the conversation. It's not a class and there won't be a quiz. Also, no worries about spoilers, since for the most part this is an idea-driven book, not a plot-driven one.
The one rule I am going to enforce strictly for this post is that, to keep the conversation focused, I will remove any off topic comments and ask you to save 'em for the open thread in less than a half hour, yeesh, hold your water please. I'd honestly like to keep the conversation going all weekend, and if you wanna come back and say more, please do so!
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