Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson


Some time ago, I purchased Eugene Linden's The Future in Plain Sight: Nine Clues to the Coming Instability. I looked at some of it, then set it aside, only recently did I pick it up and finish it. Book Review No. 19 refers to the 1998 hardback edition; a 2002 paperback version changes the subtitle to read The Rise of the "True Believers" and Other Clues to the Coming Instability. In making that revision at that time (perhaps motivated by Osama bin Laden and the Religious Right) he missed the mark. One of the Fourth Turning catalysts is a financial collapse, triggered by a 2006 victory by a populist party in the U.S. elections. The other catalysts include climate change and nasty viruses and bacteria. We see some of the catalysts of global secular crisis, we read references to some unpleasant wars and epidemics that shape the world of 2050, which is what we read about: financiers, farmers, and advertisers in what remains of the developed world; elsewhere people eke out a living somehow. The cause-and-effect is missing. It's interesting to see the seeds of another saeculum in the writing: the younger people in the London and New York offices, with no memory of the difficulties from which the existing, modest, austere social order came, begin to chafe at some of its conventions.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: futuristic, non-fiction, post-apocalypse
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