From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd, What If? gives hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions. How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind - or at least a really big explosion.
This audiobook edition is read by geek icon Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me, The Big Bang Theory) and has been adapted for audio in collaboration with the author.
©2014 xkcd inc (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
Certainly Wil, who is high energy and adds an awful lot to what's here. Randall perhaps on the basis of his overall reputation or as seriously light relief. Not on the basis of this book!
This isn't really that kind of book. It's comedy nonfiction bite sized chapters on different topics. I chose it for going to bed or quick moments to listen, and it suits that. The whole book in one go is a bit too much of the same and it stops being funny.
I went in expecting something like the New Scientist series of light hearted questions to things you've always wanted to know. I liked this book less, because how it works is a reader puts forward a completely strange question, Randall answers that question in about half the chapter, and the second half is taken up with an even more outlandish aside to the question that interests Randall. This invariably involves MORE explosions, MORE mass deaths, or MORE planets being destroyed.
I can see some readers really enjoying that,but I found it same-y.
I certainly would. What if answers all the questions you wanted ask but didn't know who to ask.
Will Weatons narration
The question about the periodic table
Just get it, its amazing.. Please do another!!!
Funny insightful entertaining
Not nearly as funny, but just as informative - Death from the Skies by Phil Plait
I love the website, and the book is even better. Wil Wheaton was a perfect choice for narrating this, he really makes this book and brings it to life.
Recommend this for anyone who has ever pondered what would happen if the Earth suddenly stopped, if the sun has ever set on the British Empire or what would happen if a baseball was pitched at you at the speed of light. Couple this with Randall Munroe's almost obsessive need to blow things up in ever increasingly bizarre ways and you have an excellent read! Hope he releases a volume 2..
We all do it, daydream about what might happen if an off the wall hypothetical situation were actually to happen. Randall's sheer dedication to helping us understand the 'what if' is incredible with ever source listed and every tangent explored. He's managed to translate the humour of his comics' brilliantly into the writing.
Will's narration is spot on, with great comic timing and a confidence that would make you believe that he'd written the book.
I've listened to 'what if' three times now and I'm not done yet. If you want accessible, fun science written by a genius mathematician and ex nasa employee then this is for you!
Thanks Randall, I really hope a second book is on the way!
The audiobook is very interesting, and I enjoyed it. The only problem is that the actual book has a lot of illustrations, which a problem if you're just listening to it. There are quite a few times where the author refers to pictures that you can't see.
Wil Wheaton was a good choice!
This book is a fantastic listen. It takes a look at the science behind questions I'm sure we've all considered at some point. Can you swim in the water surrounding spent nuclear fuel? What would happen if a 15 magnitude quake hit New York? What would happen if you had a mole of moles?
These and many other weird and wonderful questions are pondered and answered over the course of this audiobook. The narrator does a great job, adding just enough humour whilst keeping the science bits clear and concise. Its very light on the maths, instead focusing more on the basic concepts behind the questions, so its easy to understand.
Its very entertaining, as well as educational. I recommend it to anyone who has ever pondered the odder questions in life. You may even find an answer
Great to pick up and put down. This hilarious set of mostly successful attempts to answer silly questions with serious answers should not be listened to in public unless you want the world to think you are deranged.
General questions taken to their extreme conclusions or absurd questions given a logical answer.
Both observations fit this book but don't get across how mad this book is. Yet no matter how bonkers the last Q & A was you can't stop listening.
I wasn't sure about Wil Wheaton reading this book before I started, and the first 10 minutes was Wes Crusher reading it to me, but after that I forgot my total nerdism and it was just some American narrator who did a wonderful job, especially when conveying the authors humour.
I would highly recommend Wes... I mean Wil for other audio books.
My only criticism is that it is over so quickly and that there aren't any more books in the series yet.
Please write another!!!
Well worth it. Every chapter offers a new hypothetical gem ! Will be looking out for more from this author. 4 stars
"So when is the next edition coming out ?"
What a fantastically geeky, funny, serious and entertaining book. I've been reading XKCD for years but only found out about this book yesterday. Then finished it this afternoon. Any book read by Will Wheaton is always a treat and he puts in a perfect performance here. What a combination - Munroe and Wheaton. Get this book and prepare to be entertained, learn something and have a laugh.
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