[ Tue. Dec. 1. 2009 ]

"a stellar cast of intellectuals ... a stunning array of responses"

[4]HOLIDAY BOOKS: This Will Change Everything edited by John Brockman; 
John Brockman's annual question draws a bewildering array of responses from a stellar cast of intellectuals

by Michael Bond

LITERARY agent John Brockman assembles a stellar cast of intellectuals each year to answer a boundary-pushing question. His latest poser — "What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?" — has drawn a stunning array of responses, from nuclear terrorism to in-vitro meat.

Some ideas are predictable (immortality, intelligent robots, designer children), some world-saving if they happened (oil we can grow) and some we'd be better off without (neuro-cosmetics). Many are self-indulgent technological fantasies. With contributions from Ian McEwan, Steven Pinker, Lee Smolin, Craig Venter, Richard Dawkins and 130 others of their ilk, the book is like an intellectual lucky dip.

Perfect for: anyone who wants to know what the big thinkers will be chewing on in 2010.