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Taking Imaginative View of the Future

December 26, 1985|ROSELLE M. LEWIS

Woman of Tomorrow by Kathy Keeton with Yvonne Baskin (St. Martin's/Marek: $16.95)

As president of the popular "consumer-science" magazine Omni, Kathy Keeton is an upbeat futurologist. She's trained her telescope on the dawning Space Age to espy a technological Utopia, full of wondrous productive people, able at the close of the 22nd Century to travel to our nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

But before this happy millennium arrives, women must throw off the shackles of their "technopeasantry" and join men as "experts in biomedicine, space sciences, engineering, and computer technology," disciplines women traditionally have avoided.

Though Keeton's view is visionary, her methodology is statistical. Omni has hired a prestigious research firm to query women all over the globe about the kinds of careers they would like to have--about marriage, the family, methods of conception (presently there are 11 variants on the "old-fahsioned method") and about housework. Yes, apparently the dust pile of the future will remain revoltingly real.

We focused on Nina. Born in 1985, she holds a Ph.D. in biology, and her NASA job, "biomining" on the moon, requires that she shuttle frequently between spaceships and Earth ports. Married to Paul, a space-law expert, Nina undergoes successful in vitro fertilization and now feels darned lucky, with the baby coming, to have invested in Maxwell III, a superior robot any earthling would covet.

"Woman of Tomorrow," a superb book of imagination and information, posits the future most entertainingly. There will be life-extending drugs, pills to enhance memory and intelligence, genetic engineering to select the sex, personality and specific abilities of one's children--and, for what it's worth--attempts at male pregnancies. But, oh brave new world, not until the year 2010 will the United States elect a woman president.

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