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Telepathy, Moon-Mining, and Legalized Cocaine

What today was supposed to look like, as of 25 years ago.


In 1981, novelist Irving Wallace, his son, David Wallechinsky, and his daughter, Amy Wallace, published The Book of Predictions. A follow-up to their best-selling The Book of Lists and The People’s Almanac, it boasted hundreds of educated guesses about the future. Some prognostications have panned out (concern over global warming, the rise of “mail transmitted electronically”), but, admits Wallechinsky today, “We thought a lot of people were indulging in wishful thinking.” Some predictors and their predictions:

Isaac Asimov: “A mining station will be in operation on the moon.”

Ecologist Ernest Callenbach: “People will increasingly live in extended families of up to a dozen . . . in order to afford high mortgages and rents.”

Conservationists Amory and Hunter Lovins: “Most new cars run on alcohols and other liquids from farm and forestry wastes, and get over 100 mpg.”

Economist Felix Kaufmann: “Telepathy for some types of communications, criminology, etc.”

Sociologist and Catholic priest Andrew M. Greeley: “The Republican Party will be replaced as one of the U.S.’s two major political parties.”

Omni editor Ben Bova: “Solar-power satellites . . . beam more energy to the earth than is produced from oil, coal, or uranium.”

CIA Soviet expert David S. Sullivan: “The U.S. will have ceased to be a great power and will be struggling to hold itself together as a viable nation. The Soviet Union will be approaching hegemony over most of the world.”

Futurist F. M. Esfandiary: “Beginning of head-to-head communication via implanted micro-transceivers.”

High Times editor Shelley Levitt: “The U.S. legalizes cocaine . . . it is sold in beautiful snuffboxes in liquor shops under names such as Peruvian Flake and Bolivian Rock.”

Callenbach: “We will finally have switched to the metric system!”


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