Saturday, November 18, 2017

Soonish | Kelly and Zach Weinersmith


A thorough review of possible scientific innovations on the horizon, complete with the barriers in its development and possible side effects.


I picked this book up because I'm a fan of Zach Weinersmith's web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC). I actually pre-ordered the book because I liked his writing and non-fiction about technology is usually a big win with me. I was not disappointed!

The potential technologies brought up in Soonish were not just computer science based. They cover many areas of science including medical, world enhancements and energy. Many of the topics covered are ones I had no idea we were so close to. Programmable matter would be an incredible game changer in the world, for better and worse.

And that's something else that I really appreciated about this book. Each technology sounds like it would be an incredible boon to mankind. So the authors have made sure to include a "Concerns" section for each of these potential marvels. It is important that these exciting innovations are properly thought through and discussed. As much fun as it was thinking that Asteroid Mining could soon be a reality, what would be the actual economic effects? Being able to 3D print your own replacement heart valve or liver sounds like nothing but good news (and the authors do struggle to find a concern for this one) but how do we make it fair to those who may not be able to afford this marvel?

As much fun as the content is to read, the comics that they include are fun as well. Sometimes they're included to help drive a point home. Other times they're included to show the authors' sense of humor. For example, one comic shows Elon Musk walking on Mars and proclaiming "Finders Keepers" to talk about the legal issues of private companies driving the space program. Another comic shows one of the authors assuring Dr. Elvis they will not draw him as Elvis (though they totally do).

Overall, I'm glad I got this book. If you're looking for a science, non-fiction with a good sense of humor, you'll enjoy this. 4 hoots!



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