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2081: A Hopeful View of the Human Future [Hardcover]

Gerard K. O'Neill


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Printing edition (May 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671242571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671242572
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,350,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding futurist book 8 Sep 2000
By Thomas Gryn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very well-written book, especially for it's genre: too many futurist books are written by scientists who get bogged down in technical details to worry about how the book will "flow" for the reader. O'Neill avoids this by breaking up the chapters into halves; the first half of each is devoted to a first-hand narrative given by a fictional visitor from an distant space colony to 2081's Earth. This helps to introduce the reader to the innovations predicted by presenting them through the eyes of someone experiencing the future Earth for the first time. The second half of each chapter O'Neill uses to explain how the changes shown in the first half are a logical extension of our present-day world. There is also an excellent introductory chapter which reviews the history of predictions of the future, and how well others have done. The tone of the book is consistently optimistic without getting dreamy-eyed, which makes it all the more remarkable for having being published during a period where futurism was largely dominated by Malthusian doomsayers. Indeed, "2081" could be seen as a testimony of faith in the future of mankind, and is a fine legacy for the Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Top recommendation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visionary ideas about transforming the terrestrial and space frontiers 15 May 2014
By Chad M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book when looking at notable futurists. Prof. O'Neill is known mostly for his ideas about space and lunar colonies yet it could be that the energy resources he envisioned for space are valuable right here on Earth. In this book he lays out ultra long-term resources. Among these are thorium breeder reactors and solar energy. Previously I had been hearing that nuclear fuels would only last about twenty years if the world depended on nuclear energy for all of its energy (a statement that assumed that only uranium based light-water reactors would be used). As Prof. O'Neill demonstrates, this plainly false; thorium is abundant in several ores in the Earth and can provide several thousand years of fuel. See also - "SuperFuel" by Richard Martin.
If a Princeton physicist such as Prof. O'Neill writes that these are valuable resources then I would say most people should carefully review these concepts. The terrestrial goals and pathways towards a hopeful year 2081 are still feasible. The publication date makes this book seem antiquated but O'Neill's concepts and vision are still far from common knowledge. If Prof. O'Neill builds a hopeful vision for 2081 will the people come and work for it?
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