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What If?

Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (927 ratings)

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Summary

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

What listeners say about What If?

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good fun that descends into silliness

Would you try another book written by Randall Munroe or narrated by Wil Wheaton?

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!

Could you see What If? being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

8 people found this helpful

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Amazing book for Geeks

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I certainly would. What if answers all the questions you wanted ask but didn't know who to ask.

What did you like best about this story?

Will Weatons narration

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The question about the periodic table

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wish!!

Any additional comments?

Just get it, its amazing.. Please do another!!!

6 people found this helpful

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If you love xkcd you'll love this!

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!

1 person found this helpful

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Very well researched and entertaining

Enjoyed it very much, found the questions interesting and the answers even more interesting! A great listen

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant, just brilliant!

If you could sum up What If? in three words, what would they be?

Funny insightful entertaining

What other book might you compare What If? to, and why?

Not nearly as funny, but just as informative - Death from the Skies by Phil Plait

Any additional comments?

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..

3 people found this helpful

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intresting if a little strange at times

This is not one to listen to from start to finish, best consumed in chunks when your in the mood for some random and strange facts. Hard to rate as there's not a story per say and not even much of a flow of information it's more like listening to the answers of a random bar quiz. overall worth a listen if you like learning weird useless information but this is not for everyone.

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Absurd and Interesting

I thought it was great fun. Lots of things that make you think written/read with humour. The performance from Wil Wheaton was good too. The listening time passed quickly despite its length. chapters are bitesized so good for short commutes too. My only gripe is the "weird questions from the..." bits at the end of some chapters. they are just filler and add nothing to the book. Overall worth it though.

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Brilliant listen with a fantastic reader

Loved hearing Wil Wheaton reading this - it was really entertaining. Some crazy questions to think about - perhaps I need to expand my mind a little more to catch up. Really enjoyed the read - although you do need to concentrate otherwise you get lost very quickly and miss things.

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The Brick Wall

I bought this book as I reviews had said it was a good read, and it's seemingly up my street. (Even Bill Gates said this is a good read!) so, i thought I'd purchase it on audible. I didnt actually get that far into it, as I found myself hitting a brick wall that didn't allow me to enjoy the book. That wall, was Will F'ing Wheaton! I could not get past his annoying voice. Seemingly nice guy, reads well paced, clear enough, I just cannot get by the dialect. Sorry, Will. Therefore I cannot give a real review on the book. I would suggest buying the book and reading it yourself, which I'm going to do.

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interesting book

loved the random what if questions scattered throughout the book. Wil the man as always

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  • kingsley
  • 01-10-19

really enjoyable on top of being educational

this was a great listen. Wil Wheaton narrated it perfectly and has such a clear voice perfectly suited to the science content of this book

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  • Leena
  • 24-09-17

Great

Outrageous questions and amazing answers. Wil Wheaton was great. loved it ! ! ! !

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Troy
  • 29-03-15

Worth it

Well worth it. Every chapter offers a new hypothetical gem ! Will be looking out for more from this author. 4 stars

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  • Tim
  • 04-01-15

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.