PROFILES OF THE FUTURE by Arthur C. Clarke

PROFILES OF THE FUTURE

AN INQUIRY INTO THE LIMITS OF THE POSSIBLE

KIRKUS REVIEW

Arthur Clarke is the high lama of science fiction and non-fiction; as an astrophysicist he wrote The Exploration of Space; with a Wellsian imagination he concocted Childhood's End. The articles collected here, mostly reprints from Holiday. Horizon and Playboy, are way-out entertainments, fun-list futuramas, crisp; clever explanations of frequently inexplicable realms such as relativity, precognition, historical recalls, time-travel and multi-dimensional Euclidean space. The future, says Mr. Clarke, will be fantastic, and he makes good his claim: "conventional" jets operating at 200 miles an hour; floating-on-air cars, without wheels, using "ground effect"; portable gravity-control units strapped round the shoulders, ready for take-off when terrestrial pursuits get dull; Renaissance analogies to the coming up discovery of an extant or extinct Martian civilization; a radio-telescope break-through whereby we contact "intelligence" outside the solar system; the end of material problems and materialism with the replicator machine. Unfortunately, Mr. Clarke is neither a Goethe nor a Shakespeare, and these "mid-numbing" contemplations of endless eons, endless knowledge, eventually read like so much avant garde advertising copy. Further, he systematizes nothing; there are no socio-cultural parallels drawn; man, as we've known him, vanishes completely in this gala inquiry into the limits of the possible.
Pub Date: June 15th, 1962
ISBN: 0030697832
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1962




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