Unlike many books in this genre, "The Third Millennium" succeeds in conveying the illusion of a real historical account. In fact, this is the only book I've ever seen which truly deserves the name "a fictional future HISTORY".
The steady progress from the turmoiled 21st century to the utopia-like 30th, is portrayed with incredibe realism and vividness. If I'd want to give this book a rating solely as a work of fiction, I would have given it 6 stars...
But "The Third Millennium" is not a mere work of fiction. As the authors point out on the back cover, it is a serious attempt to portray a realistic future of the real World. And in this respect, the book suffers from one fatal flaw: In terms of absolute dates, the progress of events is agonizingly slow.
A few events and their dates would make this complaint clear. In this book, fusion energy is harnessed only in 2054 AD, and becomes dominant near 2180 AD. Genetic engineering in humans begin after 2227 AD. Unmanned probes to nearby stars, powered by nuclear fusion, are launched only in the 26th century...
Very slow indeed.
A more understandable glitch is the failure to predict the fall of the USSR. In this book, the cold war continues well into the 22nd century.
Since no one in their right minds thought in 1985 that the USSR is going down in the near future, I do not hold this particular mistake against the authors. But the agonizingly slow progress of technology in their scenario is something I will not forgive that easily.
It is this sluggish pace of progress is what turns this book from "a perfect masterpiece" to "a great idea ruined by one bad call".
And what a masterpiece it would have been! After all, there aren't many works that get a rating of 4 stars after being ruined, are there?