The pace of change is accelerating to the point where it’s hard to keep track of tomorrow. Fortunately, however, the incomparable Isaac Asimov has come to the rescue! In seventy-one short andhighly readable essays, he sketches out a wide variety of mind-stretching changes that are in store for us earthlings—most of them probably in our lifetime.
Body repairs will no longer depend on donor banks. By isolating and blocking certain cells that reproduce organs, cloning will enable us to go to the supply closet for parts. Cloning will also eliminate the problems of endangered species. Amplification of tiny electromagnetic fields of brain cells with slight variations will allow communication through mental telepathy, and there won’t be interference from other heads. If we devise a cosmic subway that will travel through forbidding black holes, the universe may eventually enjoy a Cosmic Empire. Space colonization will drastically change tourism, and travel to the moon will be more than radical because there is a two-week period between sunrise and sunset.
These are not glimpses into some crystal ball but soundly reasoned extrapolations of our present knowledge, served up in an engaging style that will appeal to everyone interested in space, language, sex, aging, the environment, health, and the future.
In 1974, American Airlines commissioned a monthly column from Asimov entitled “Change” and dealing with the future. The column eventually died, but not before Asimov collected enough material to put together 71 columns into a book—published, as it happens, by Houghton Mifflin and not by Doubleday.
The book is of little real interest to the Asimov fan. The 71 columns are very short, only a couple of pages each, and barely manage to work up any kind of steam before they‘re cut off and brought to an end. Still, this book is the only source for seeing what the column was really like, and so is of some interest—but not, really, an awful lot.