From Library Journal
With the millennium approaching, we can expect a glut of books about life in the 21st century and beyond. For Dyson, though, making predictions is nothing new. Over some 40 years, the honored physicist has written voluminously on future possibilities. The five longish essays in this collection explore future scenarios around the themes of "Stories," "Science," "Technology," "Evolution," and "Ethics." Probably the boldest predictions are in "Evolution," where Dyson looks ahead at several intervals, from ten years to infinity. Among other things, he envisions space colonization, galactic engineering projects, and the evolution of collective consciousness. As intriguing and readable as this book is, many of its ideas can be found in his other works (e.g., From Eros to Gaia, LJ 7/92). Libraries already owning a sampling of his writings can consider this an optional purchase. [Dyson is the father of computer guru Esther Dyson, and his son George is the author of Darwin Among the Machines, out this May from Helix.?Ed.]?Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, Fl.-?Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, Fl.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Thanks to new technologies, researchers can see much farther into the galaxies, much deeper into the genetic structure of life, and more clearly into the heart of the atom than ever before. But envisioning our cultural future still requires the kind of probing, reflective human imagination we see at work in these pages. As this distinguished scientist contemplates a world in which genetic engineers create superbabies and pet dinosaurs, in which space colonies raise potatoes on Mars, in which radiotelepathy allows humans to communicate with dolphins and eagles, he weighs fear against hope. He fears that technological advances may exacerbate existing social inequities, so provoking conflict and violence. But he hopes that ethical progress will keep pace with science, making possible a future of universal prosperity and cooperation. With a rare breadth of literary and historical knowledge and with a wonderful lucidity of style, Dyson converts science from the intellectual property of specialists into a meaningful concern for everyone with a stake in our cultural future. Bryce Christensen