An interesting feature of web for authors is that you can get real reader feedback in the form of reviews in bulk, as it were. There are ten for the Rough Guide to the Future up on Library thing now. Bearing in mind the grumpy comments this kind of site tends to elicit (see Trip Adviser if you don’t believe me), they are not too bad, I reckon.
I am variously taken to task for belittling ideas which don’t agree with mine on climate change – without specifying what they might be – and commended for not waving about my opinions on… climate change, criticised for having too few women making fifty years on comments (guilty), reproved for not providing sources (as I explain in the intro, the idea was to include enough detail of each report I draw on to bring it up easily on google, which seems the best compromise when space is short) and complimented for offering further reading in each chapter.
Generally, the people who enjoyed it most seem to have the idea that it is best read as a guide book, not straight through – which is no surprise. I’m not going to repeat all the criticisms here – go look if you want! But some of the nicer comments include:
“does an admirable job of sifting through the mountains of information and data and attempting to find the most clear and concise outlook”
“The writing is interesting and well done and the resources and sites for further research are plentiful… If you are up for the challenge it provides a great deal of food for thought”
“I was particularly drawn to the many “Predictions Files” where a wide variety of futurists speak from their area of specialty with ‘Highest Hope’, ‘Worst Fear’, and ‘Best Bet’ predictions. From these, then, I was drawn to read other segments, in some cases, and encouraged to move on, in others.”
“If you are the sort of reader that occasionally reads — but greatly enjoys — magazines like Wired, Popular Science, and Discover, then this is likely a perfect book for you.”
“Reading this book will definitely make you feel smarter and give you a good basic grounding on the issues that will confront humanity in the decades ahead.”
OK, that is an slightly unrepresentative selection from comments made by one set of readers, but I’m tentatively concluding that, as a package, it kind of works.