Ten technologies that might change the world: A review of Soonish

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I only read three comics regularly, and one of those is Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC). It is clever and funny—even educational on occasion. I think it is safe to call me a fan. So, I was excited to hear that SMBC creator Zach Weinersmith had decided to cowrite a book with his wife Kelly, a bioscience professor at Rice University in Houston. Even better, their book would be about science.

Soonish is a not a single story; instead, it is 10 short stories. Pulling out the crystal ball, the Weinersmiths have chosen 10 areas that many hope will become actual, factual things that exist outside of our head or the lab. Each chapter is split into four parts: the first part tells us what the thing—brain computer interface, for instance—is, how it might be put together, and why we don’t already have one. The second part asks the eternal question: what could possibly go wrong? And the third prognosticates on how the world will be changed by the thing. The last part is a funny anecdote about some of the Weinersmiths encounters while researching the chapter.

Now, you may or may not agree with the Weinersmiths’ choices. Space elevators, for instance, is not something I’d pick as ever being a thing—but their research is what brings their choices to life. They’ve spent a great deal of time buried under papers and talking to scientists. You can sort of feel the weight of the research pressing down on you as you read it. Not in a bad way—more like an extra blanket on a cold night.

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