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A Short History of the Future, 2nd ed.

Given today's turmoil in what was once the USSR, Yugoslavia, and colonial or independent Africa, this picture of the future reads with disturbing accuracy and alarm. It features the growth of world-wide capitalism, armed with computer networks and automata replacing |workers'. It forecasts the end of the twentieth century threats of heart diseases and cancer, the likelihood of the collapse of the so-called Welfare States, and of the world-wide threat of Islamic fundamentalism. It foresees nuclear world war, dated here at 2044, the building of a socialist world commonwealth in 2062, the eventual supersession of capitalism and of socialism by a decentralised order of self-governing communities, and the Darwin Project in species modification, set at 2169. As |history' it surpasses the writing of other |futurists' like H. G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, and Norman Macrae. It has indeed touches that recall Harry Harrison's novel, More Room! More Room!, the story that became the frightening portrayal of tomorrow in the film, Soylent Green, featuring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson, produced in 1977. Warren Wagar's writing is more realist than such fiction, for he is a gifted historian: given the events in Eastern Europe since 1990, however, maybe this survey is the shape of things to come. In which case, we will all need our hibertubes.
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Author:Wright, Esmond
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:214
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