cover image Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Kelly and Zach Weinersmith. Penguin Press, $30 (206) ISBN 978-0-399-56382-9

Predicting the future of scientific endeavor isn’t easy, but this fun title from this husband-and-wife team gives readers plenty of amazing possibilities to think about. Kelly, an adjunct faculty member in the biosciences department at Rice University, and Zach, creator of webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, explore cutting-edge advances in 10 different technologies, including space travel, fusion power, augmented reality, and brain-computer interfaces. Each chapter’s discussion concludes with a look at how success might change the world as well as potential problems that must be taken into consideration. The authors leaven even the most serious topics—for example, altering DNA to achieve the de-extinction of mammoths or create brand new life forms—with pop culture references, sarcastic comics panels, and tart asides. Topics such as “origami robots,” space elevators, and bioprinted replacement organs will pique the curiosity of budding scientists and seasoned lab rats alike. A gratifyingly large bibliography will guide the curious into further reading on each topic. The Weinersmiths deliver a fascinating look at the most provocative and promising research going on today and how it could alter the way we work and live. Illus. [em]Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Oct.) [/em]