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Arthur C. Clarke is such a good writer it’s hard not to chuckle even when he is trying to explain the most complex of scientific facts or theories. Also, he has the gift of explaining complicated stuff in a clear everyday way. Also, he’s a genius - with a brilliant imagination. I had no idea I was going to enjoy reading ‘Profiles of the Future’, especially since it was first published in 1962, (revisited in 1972 to make a few modest notes against some of his future predictions that had within that decade become common fact.) The essence of this work of non-fiction is that given the state of the world in 1962, and given what was then known about the laws of the universe, how much further could we go within those boundaries. Then, take away the boundaries and see how much further we may be able to go - the sky is the limit - or is it? Clarke looks at Gravity - and beyond gravity. He looks at time - and beyond. And speed, space, and natural resources, invisibility, and us. And beyond all of this. And he does this with a sharpness of wit and a wicked sense of humour. Some quotable quotes: “In ordinary life we are accustomed to divide space into three dimensions, or directions which we call Sideways, Forwards and Upwards. One of these directions is not quite on a par with the others as anyone will find if *he steps out of a tenth-floor window.” “Travelling into the future is the one kind of time-travel we all indulge in, at the steady speed of 24 hours every day.” “In this inconceivably enormous universe, we can never run out of energy or matter. But we can all too easily run out of brains.” Talking about the ‘Replicator’: “It is perhaps relevant to point out that in 1951 the great mathematician, John von Neumann, established the important principle that a machine could always be designed to build any describable machine - including itself. The human race has squalling proof of this several hundred thousand times a day.” “Chaos remains chaos however many times you shake it up.” I imagined that once I'd read this dog-eared, foxed, battered little book - I'd send it back to the second-hand bookshop. I’ve decided to keep it because it's so much fun to read and because more and more of Clarke's predictions are coming true. *Clarke wrote ‘he’ throughout the book, as one would in 1962.