Book Review: Patrick McCray’s The Visioneers February 14, 2015Posted by Will Thomas in EWP Book Club.
Tags: Andrew Pickering, David Kaiser, Fred Turner, Gerard O'Neill, Helge Kragh, K. Eric Drexler, Michael Gordin, Patrick McCray
I have a new book review out in Technology & Culture of Patrick McCray’s The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future (Princeton University Press, 2012). Access the review here. If you can’t get by the paywall, the “excerpt” constitutes virtually the entire review.
The only section excluded is my suggestion of a number of books that complement McCray’s history. The Visioneers is a very able contribution to a growing historiography of activities and ideas that have existed at the edge of mainstream science and technology, often flitting between legitimate, even groundbreaking work, and sheer fantasy. While the book revolves around Gerard O’Neill’s prospective studies of viable space colonies, and K. Eric Drexler’s interest in the development of molecular machines, it is really about a broad, multifaceted culture of technological enthusiasm, which McCray also explores through his Leaping Robot blog. If you are not aware of the blog, please have a look.
Other entries in this historiography might include:
If you have additional suggestions, please drop them in the comments.