What If: New book by Randall Munroe.

Xkcd Creator Randall Munroe’s New Book: What If?

Xkcd Creator Randall Munroe’s New Book: What If?

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 11 2014 11:15 AM

“What If” You Just Bought This Book?

what if?
What if you lowered a T-rex into a sarlacc pit?

Book cover by Randall Munroe/HMH

Tl;dr: Buy this book.

I’ll make this easy: If you’re a fan of my friend Randall Munroe’s xkcd Web comic, then you want to buy his new book.


If you’re not, then I suggest you read a couple of posts I wrote about his stuff—his TED talk and his epic comic “Time.” Good? Good.

Randall started a second Web comic–like series called “what if?,” where he answers readers’ weird questions by extrapolating the science as far as (and, many times, quite a bit farther than) it will go. The answers are always entertaining, funny, and display a sort of naked curiosity on Randall’s part I really admire.

So with all that, I was of course happy he decided to take the best ones and compile them with all new ones to create a book called What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (available in hardcover and on Kindle). It’s loaded with really great stuff, including:

  • What happens if you pitch a baseball at 90 percent the speed of light? (bad things)
  • What happens if you had a mole of moles? (also bad things)
  • What would happen if a glass of water were literally suddenly half empty? (sorta bad things)
  • How fast can you hit a speed bump and still live? (pretty fast)

… and tons more.

Look, I answer questions for a living, too, and Randall is really, really good at this. He finds weird little scientific ways to answer the questions, but it’s his extrapolations that kill me. I laughed a lot reading this book. Even better: I learned stuff reading this book. And you will too.

So stop reading my blog, buy the book, read it, and then start reading my blog again. In that order. Go.