FACING TOMORROW: What the Future Has Been, What the Future Can Be by Thomas Hine (Alfred A. Knopf: $22; 253 pp.). Even fans of "futurology," of which this reviewer is not one, will have problems with this book. Thomas Hine, a staff writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer and author of the well-received cultural history "Populuxe," has done a lot of research, but "Facing Tomorrow" is little more than a rehash of familiar issues and problems--robots, utopianism, nuclear weapons, solar energy, communitarianism, ad infinitum. Hine eventually comes down in favor of what he calls "subtle progress," an oddly named approach to the future in which individuals are involved, broad-minded and long-sighted. "Facing Tomorrow" is an attempt to give shape to a better future by taking responsibility for it, but at bottom the book is too abstract and unfocused to be effective.

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