Only fitting for OMNI's boss to indulge her passion: fantasizing about what effect scientific breakthroughs and...



Only fitting for OMNI's boss to indulge her passion: fantasizing about what effect scientific breakthroughs and technological advances in in vitro fertilization and robots, among others will have on women. Keeton has a field day imagining what women will be like in the year 2050. Her musings are not all that riveting, but some of the statistics compiled in her survey of a representative sample of American women between the ages of 25 and 44 (who had some college education, and a household income of $15,000 or more) are worth referring to at the coffee table. (These salient findings and observations are highlighted in bold type at the beginning and in the middle of paragraphs.)Noting that only 30 percent of OMNI's readers are women, Keeton uses the book to try to increase that percentage--and to stress that women and science are not mutually exclusive. Too many women, she says, are still considered ""technopeasants--as ignorant of technology as medieval serfs, overwhelmed by the changes taking place around us, and helpless to direct our own future. If we are ever to realize our full potential, I think women must take it upon themselves to reverse this trend; and do it now."" Keeton expresses her disappointment with what she found: "". . .when we asked them about science and technology--the fields that will have the biggest impact on our future--few women claimed to know much. I expected that, but I was really discouraged to find that the majority aren't even interested in learning more, except about computers."" Clearly, Keeton has her work cut out for her, if she is to lead a crusade of more women to scientific careers. Only 13 percent of the nation's scientists and engineers are women. But she gives some encouraging news: engineering is the only field in which average starting salaries for women are higher than those for men. Since this is part science-fiction, and part sociological examination, it's easy for Keeton to be roseate about the future. She envisions that test-tube fertilization and embryo transfer techniques will become socially accepted and that thousands of women will use them to overcome infertility by 1990. By the year 2000, life-extension practices will enable individuals to live at least two more decades and maybe in 2,010 male pregnancies will be attempted. With a few changes in the way girls are reared, Keeton believes, more women will be interested in science and contribute to advances in their own standard of living. ""In the not too distant future, it will be more important for a youngster to develop a strong sense of self-esteem and individuality than of masculinity or femininity."" In sum, a bouncy, if uneasy, alliance of fact, semi-fiction, and daydreams. But the intent is laudable.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 1985


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1985