Synfuels anti-futurism--with little payoff, consequently, for any type of reader. Heppenheimer (Colonies in Space, Toward...

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THE REAL FUTURE

Synfuels anti-futurism--with little payoff, consequently, for any type of reader. Heppenheimer (Colonies in Space, Toward Distant Suns) has got the idea that revolutionaries are futurists, and futurists are revolutionaries. He foresees, hopefully, ""a waning of the revolutionary spirit."" He doesn't foresee any imminent, major changes. ""What has reshaped our world in the past two centuries, and what will continue to do so, is of course science and technology."" But there are open questions, covering everything under the sun, to each of which he devotes a lengthy chapter. Some of the enusing text is futurist forecasting in all but name--not too different from myriad other stock-takings when energy was on everybody's mind, and far less current than Bruce Nussbaum's The World After Oil (p. 509). Heppenheimer is still talking expensive oil and synfuels. He's also talking climatic cooling--from burning the fossil fuels that will supersede oil. He's talking nuclear energy--once we get over our Hiroshima and Three Mile Island phobias and learn from the French, the Soviets, and the Japanese. He expects the most of fusion reactors--""small enough to fit into a household basement, yet produce enough electricity to run the World Trade Center."" He also expects Ralph Nader to go the way of Eugene Debs (who was a failure because he ""never polled as many as a million votes""). Succeeding chapters talk conventionally about communications satellites and rocketry (except that Heppenheimer downplays the way-out), about electronics and robots and biotechnology. A chapter titled ""War and Deterrence"" turns out to be mostly about the Arabization of Israel and the US/ Soviet naval war that Heppenheimer anticipates. Speculations or opinings, it doesn't amount to much.

Pub Date: June 1, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1983