One Book Steamboat: Ministry for the Future
Join your friends and neighbors in reading & discussing a cli-fi masterpiece during the One Book Steamboat community read

Each year the Bud Werner Memorial Library presents a community read in Steamboat Springs. We call it ONE BOOK STEAMBOAT. As the UN’s COP-26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow comes to a close and climate change is top of mind, the Steamboat Springs community is invited to read and discuss the critically acclaimed novel The Ministry for the Future by award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson.

The Ministry for the Future is a story of communities, climate and change. It is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. This extraordinary novel from visionary science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson will change the way you think about the climate crisis.

What exactly is "cli-fi"?

It is a pop culture abbreviation for climate fiction, using a nod to science fiction's common reference as "sci-fi." Cli-fi is a form of speculative fiction that deals with the impacts of climate change and global warming, typically featuring a changed or changing climate as a major plot device.

Get a copy of The Ministry for the Future

The Library now has ample copies of The Ministry for the Future in our collection (including digital, audio and print copies). Books are available so everyone is able to check out a copy, read it and participate in the community conversations.

Borrow The Ministry for the Future from Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Buy a copy of The Ministry for the Future from Steamboat Springs' independent bookstore, Off the Beaten Path.

About the novel

The Ministry for the Future

A story set in the near future. This is how it begins...

Article 14 of the Paris Agreement Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change called for a periodic taking stock of all the signatory nations’ carbon emissions, which meant reporting on the total global carbon burn for the year in question. The first “global stocktake” was scheduled for 2023, and then every five years after that.

That first global stocktake didn’t go well. Very few nations had hit the targets they had set for themselves, even though they had set soft targets. Aware of the shortfall even before the 2023 stocktake, 108 countries had promised to strengthen their pledges; but these were smaller countries, amounting together to about 15 percent of global total emissions.

At the annual Conference of the Parties the following year, emissions had yet to improve prompting some delegates to argue that a new subsidiary body, with permanent duties, and the resources to pursue them, was needed to help move the needle on climate change. So at COP29, held in Bogotá, Colombia, the Parties to the Agreement created a new Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the Agreement, to work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all the agencies of the United Nations, and all of the governments signatory to the Paris Agreement, to advocate for the world’s future generations of citizens.

This new Subsidiary Body was furthermore charged with defending all living creatures present and future who cannot speak for themselves, by promoting their legal standing and physical protection.

Someone in the press named this new agency “the Ministry for the Future,” and the name stuck and spread. It was established in Zurich, Switzerland, in January of 2025.

Not long after that, the big heat wave struck India...and so the work of the Ministry for the Future unfolds.


“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —author Jonathan Lethem

"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

"Masterly." —The New Yorker

"[A] gutsy, humane view of a near-future Earth...Robinson masterfully integrates the practical details of environmental crises and geoengineering projects into a sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity's ability to cooperate in the face of disaster. This heartfelt work of hard science-fiction is a must-read for anyone worried about the future of the planet."—Publishers Weekly (starred) 

About the author: Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson
Sean Curtin


A speaker at the UN’s COP-26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (November 1-12, 2021), Kim Stanley Robinson is a New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. A science fiction writer known for literary pieces, he is the author of more than 20 books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt and 2312, which was a New York Times bestseller nominated for all seven of the major science fiction awards—a first for any book.

Among his notable works is an essay recently published in The Financial Times, A climate plan for a world in flames. In 2008, Robinson was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. In 2016 he was given the Heinlein Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction, and asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.” In 2017 he was given the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society. Despite his work in the genre of fiction, The New Yorker has called Robinson “one of the most important political writers working in America today.”


  • Kim Stanley Robinson took the stage at COP26 to discuss how The Ministry for The Future is already here.
  • Get acquainted with Kim Stanley Robinson in this insightful September 2021 interview in Time Magazine.
  • Listen to Kim Stanley Robinson speak with author and climate change activist Bill McKibben on The New Yorker Radio Hour. 
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. In 2021, The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report addressing "the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations." Their conclusion: Earth is getting hotter, faster; and, "It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land." Read the summary of the most recent IPCC report.
  • Ten Strategies for Climate Resilience in the Colorado River Basin: the synopsis, the full report, and graphics to help illustrate and educate for climate action
  • Investigate green finance: At the Paris “One Planet Summit” in December 2017, eight central banks and supervisors established the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System  (NGFS). Since then, the membership of the Network has grown dramatically, across the five continents. The Network’s purpose is to help strengthening the global response required to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and to enhance the role of the financial system to manage risks and to mobilize capital for green and low-carbon investments in the broader context of environmentally sustainable development. To this end, the Network defines and promotes best practices to be implemented within and outside of the Membership of the NGFS and conducts or commissions analytical work on green finance.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning, nonpartisan reporting on the biggest crisis facing our planet: Inside Climate News
  • Yale Climate Connections is a nonpartisan, multimedia service providing daily broadcast radio programming and original web-based reporting, commentary, and analysis on the issue of climate change, one of the greatest challenges and stories confronting modern society. Yale Climate Connections aims to help citizens and institutions understand how the changing climate is already affecting our lives. It seeks to help individuals, corporations, media, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, academics, artists, and more learn from each other about constructive “solutions” so many are undertaking to reduce climate-related risks and wasteful energy practices.
  • Routt County's Climate Action Plan is available online, or you can check it out in print at the Library.

One Book Events & Book Discussions coming in early 2022

The Library is hosting a series of films, talks and moderated book discussions designed to enhance your reading of The Ministry for the Future. The grand finale for our community read will be a March 1 talk with award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson.

One Book Steamboat Events


One Book Steamboat has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Funding has been provided to Bud Werner Memorial Library by Colorado Humanities from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Colorado Humanities.