Berry, Adrian M. 1937-
BERRY, Adrian M. 1937-
(Adrian Michael Berry)
PERSONAL: Born June 15, 1937, in London, England; married Marina Beatrice Sulzberger, January, 1967; children: two. Education: Christ Church, Oxford, graduate with honors in modern history, 1959. Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, chess, mountain walking.
ADDRESSES: Home—11 Cottesmore Gardens, London W8, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, journalist, columnist, and scientist. Reporter, Walsall Observer, 1960–61; Birmingham Post, Birmingham, England, subeditor, 1961–62; financial analyst, Investor's Chronicle, 1962–63; New York Herald Tribune, New York, NY, reporter, 1964–65; Time, New York, NY, correspondent in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, 1965–67; Daily Telegraph, London, England, member of science staff, 1968–70; Sunday Telegraph, London, journalist, beginning 1972; Daily Telegraph, London, science correspondent, 1977–97, consulting science editor, 1997.
MEMBER: Royal Astronomical Society (fellow), British Interplanetary Society (fellow and senior member).
AWARDS, HONORS: Royal Geographical Society, fellow.
The Next Ten Thousand Years: A Vision of Man's Future in the Universe, Saturday Review Press (New York, NY), 1974.
The Iron Sun: Crossing the Universe through Black Holes, Dutton (New York, NY), 1977.
From Apes to Astronauts, Daily Telegraph (London, England), 1981.
Koyama's Diamond: A Novel of the Far Future, Book Guild, 1982.
The Super-Intelligent Machine: An Electronic Odyssey, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1982.
High Skies and Yellow Rain (nonfiction), Daily Telegraph (London, England), 1984.
Labyrinth of Lies (science fiction), Book Guild, 1985.
Ice with Your Evolution (nonfiction), illustrations by N. Garland, Harrap, 1986.
(Editor and author of introduction) The Book of Scientific Anecdotes, Prometheus Books (Buffalo, NY), 1993.
The Next Five Hundred Years: Life in the Coming Millennium, Headline (London, England), 1995, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1996.
Galileo and the Dolphins: Amazing but True Stories from Science, John Wiley & Sons (New York, NY), 1997.
The Giant Leap: Mankind Heads for the Stars, Headline (London, England), 1999.
Author of monthly columns, "Berry's Viewpoint," Astronomy Now and "Sky at Night," Telegraph (London).
SIDELIGHTS: Adrian M. Berry, science writer for the Daily Telegraph, is a "lucid, if controversial, populariser of scientific theory," wrote an Economist contributor. Berry's books, including his fiction, deal with man's distant future. He theorizes that the earth will not be able to provide for all of humanity's needs, and predicts the habitation and industrialization of this solar system and beyond. Robert Molyneux remarked in Library Journal that The Next Ten Thousand Years: A Vision of Man's Future in the Universe is "everything it promises to be: a vision, that all too rare thing, of what is foreseeable in man's future." Brian Aldiss, however, finds Berry's work to be more science fiction than speculation based on fact. He explained in New Statesman that "as a sort of science fiction, such brainstorming is something to be enjoyed for the breadth and bleakness of its vision. As factual speculation, it is too carelessly littered with assumptions as unchallenged as Jupiter itself." And a critic for Choice wrote: "Berry's science can't be faulted; however, some of his extrapolations rest on rather shaky theoretical and experimental ground."
In The Iron Sun: Crossing the Universe through Black Holes, Berry explains the nature and properties of the hypothetical black hole, and suggests that man will be able to construct one by collecting an enormous mass of iron in space. This iron would, through gravity, attract other particles until it collapsed, making a black hole. Berry suggests using this manmade phenomenon for space travel. "It will be feasible, probably within the next 250 years," he writes in The Iron Sun, "for a spaceship to vanish in one [black hole] and reappear the very next instant in another." R.A. Sokolov believed that Berry presents his theory in an interesting and scientific manner, and in the New York Times Book Review, Sokolov praised the author's "highly plausible and gripping scenario, for spreading human civilization across immense distance…. Right or wrong,… Berry makes a readable case and, along the way, manages to explain the nuts and bolts of Einsteinian spacetime, while giving the layman a clear account of the present state of cosmological thought."
Frederic Golden, writing in Time, applauded Berry's optimism about the future. "The author writes with such refreshing faith in science's ability to conquer all obstacles of time and space that even skeptics may be willing to suspend disbelief and join him in this dazzling armchair journey across the cosmos." But Times Literary Supplement contributor Derek Raine is a skeptic who claims that Berry has made some important errors. One is that the light-barrier is a myth. He reported: "Adrian Berry has set out to show that we can still dream of instantaneous space journeys without violating our knowledge of science…. That this book should be so entirely misconceived is a pity. Clearly, the author has an ability to communicate scientific ideas lucidly, should he choose to do so."
Ice with Your Evolution is a collection of Berry's pieces for the Daily Telegraph. Matt Ridley, also writing for the Daily Telegraph, summed up Berry's abilities: "He is strongest on astronomy, most engagingly eccentric on code-breaking and weakest where he gets politically angry—on military research, pollution or the effect of technology on employment."
Berry once again takes on the role of futurist in The Next Five Hundred Years: Life in the Coming Millennium. In this volume, he extrapolates on scientific advances and technological developments that will occur within the next five centuries and how they will affect mankind's future in space and on the surface of the Earth. Berry predicts that farming of the seas will become commonplace. He envisions the storing of human personalities on computer disks that can then be transferred to other human brains or to robots. This personality and knowledge transfer will effectively allow people to become immortal. In environmental terms, Berry anticipates another global ice age within the next five centuries, but suggests that it can be staved off by setting giant mirrors in orbit around the planet to direct more of the sun's rays, and thus more heat, to the planet's surface. Interstellar space flight will become more commonplace, with antimatter-driven spacecraft capable of carrying automatic equipment that can terraform and make habitable new planets and star systems. Humans can then follow in manned ships capable of reaching 0.7 times the speed of light through interstellar ramjet engines. Human wealth will increase dramatically though use of the tremendous amounts of raw materials available in space. Berry also predicts that humans will find out for certain within the next 500 years if they are alone in the universe; if alien life exists elsewhere, it will have become obvious within the next five centuries, he states. Fred R. DeJarnette, writing in American Scientist, called the book "current, thought-provoking, entertaining, and stimulating."
The Giant Leap: Mankind Heads for the Stars provides reasoned and measured arguments in favor of the ultimate "outward expansion," that of space travel and colonization of far-away worlds. Within 200 years, Berry predicts, planets outside the solar system will be colonized. He covers topics such as spacecraft propulsion, time dilation, suspended animation, the effects of long-term space flight, and other practical and technological matters. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented favorably on the author's "lively prose and accessible arguments." Berry's "eloquent and elegant" book "rapidly becomes the best available guide for futurists, space advocates, sf writers and readers," and anyone else interested in interstellar travel and the migration to worlds beyond our solar system, noted Roland Green in Booklist.
Berry has also written science fiction. In Koyama's Diamond: A Novel of the Far Future, a distant planet is faced with a monetary crisis that could result in a coup. Quintus Rexler, reporter, tries to prevent the takeover. But "Mr. Berry, being a specialist writer, has a romantic idea of the function of reporters. His hero, adopting aliases and risking death every few pages, is not quite the real thing. He does not even seem worried about his expenses," writes an Economist contributor. However, the writer continued, Berry "will certainly amuse and instruct more than few with his first excursion into fiction."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Berry, Adrian M., The Iron Sun: Crossing the Universe through Black Holes, Dutton, 1977.
American Scientist, November-December, 1997, Fred R. DeJarnette, review of The Next 500 Years: Life in the Coming Millennium, p. 584.
BioScience, May, 1997, Walter G. Rosen, review of The Next 500 Years, p. 319.
Booklist, March 15, 1996, Patricia Hassler, review of The Next 500 Years, p. 1229; July, 2001, Roland Green, review of The Giant Leap: Mankind Heads for the Stars, p. 1963.
Choice, November, 1974, review of The Next Ten Thousand Years, p. 1333.
Economist, July 21, 1984, review of Koyama's Diamond: A Novel of the Far Future, p. 81.
Fortune, April 18, 1996, David Stipp, review of The Next 500 Years, p. 169.
Futurist, May-June, 1996, Lane Jennings, review of The Next 500 Years, p. 57.
Library Journal, July, 1974, review of The Next Ten Thousand Years, p. 1822.
New Statesman, May 17, 1974, review of The Next Ten Thousand Years, p. 702.
New York Times Book Review, August 7, 1977, review of The Iron Sun: Crossing the Universe through Black Holes, p 18.
Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2001, review of The Giant Leap, p. 60.
Time, August 15, 1977, review of The Iron Sun, p. 70.
Adrian M. Berry Home Page, http://www.adrianberry.net (September 17, 2005).