L.S. Klepp
December 08, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

A Brief History of Tomorrow

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jonathan Margolis
publisher
Bloomsbury
genre
Science and Technology

We gave it a B+

Jonathan Margolis, a British journalist who wrote the John Cleese bio Cleese Encounters, is well aware of the hazards of trying to conjure up the future. Those who imagined our day in the 1890s and 1930s dreamed up ”a slightly streamlined, stylized version” of themselves, though in 1900 the Manchester Guardian ventured that by 2000 it would no longer be daring for a woman to play the harp — or even go to Paris on her own. So when the author of A Brief History of Tomorrow plunges into educated guesses about our future, don’t look for any movie-worthy utopian or dystopian scenarios. Instead, Margolis interviews experts and comes up with a series of prognostications — boring centrist politics, narrowly averted ecological disasters, and dazzling technology that doesn’t deliver the miracles expected from it — that’s both well-presented and disturbingly familiar. B+

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