THE BOOK OF PREDICTIONS by David; Amy Wallace & Irving Wallace Wallechinsky

THE BOOK OF PREDICTIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Half forecasts of the near-term (1981-2000) future by contemporary ""experts in every field of human endeavor""; half the collected utterance (misses as well as hits), the lives, special accomplishments, etc., of historical seers and psychics ranging from St. Malachy and Nostradamus to Edgar Cayce and Jean Dixon. Since the authors don't attempt a formal analysis of the ""experts'"" compilation, that's up to the reader. But along with credentialed authorities like Columbia University theoretical physicist Dr. Gerald Feinberg (who sees the first human child born off-Earth by 2000), the Wallaces give equal or possibly greater space to the predictions of media people like Helen Gurley Brown (envisioning ""sex more often with fewer partners"") and various garbage-compost and organic food publishers--who predictably envision a world made more livable by compost and organic foods. This mix makes for a decidedly unscientific, not very surprising or even entertaining lump of workaday reading material. Still, vague perspectives emerge. Among them: pessimism on the part of many scientists as to the demonstrability--even in the laboratory--of nuclear fusion power within the next 20 years; optimism concerning a cancer cure within the same time span; a preponderance of suggestions that nuclear war will break out first among lesser powers--say, India and Pakistan--and be contained short of cataclysm by unified world reaction; a claim that before the end of this decade a computer, running a program that makes a scientific discovery of major significance, will be nominated for a Nobel Prize. The organization of the forecasts into sections covering war and disasters, home and family, leisure, income, etc., is of some help. Since seers, psychics, and divinely-inspired prophets have nothing in common with forecasts based on authoritative expertise, the latter sections of the book may be considered supercargo by futurist-oriented readers, although they may provide others with a handy though poorly-organized compendium of prophecy through the ages. The book if nothing else empowers the reader to aphorize: I have seen the future, and it is a list.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1980
Publisher: Morrow