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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions | [Randall Munroe]

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

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?
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Publisher's 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 Members Say

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4.0 (8 )
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    Tim 01-04-15
    Tim 01-04-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results
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  • A R H
    UK Suffolk
    10/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doug Monk
    Bournemouth, England
    9/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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..

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Thomas D. York
    London
    1/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen"

    I loved this audiobook. It's not just the ridiculous questions being answered in a scientific way, but the interesting titbits of info along the way. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    1/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought provoking and Enjoyable."

    This is a very interesting book and was quite unlike anything else I have read in a long while. The narrator did an excellent job of conveying the sense of humour the author intended. I Would definitely recommend. Kept me listening for, sometimes, hours at a time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    1/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"

    Easy listening and very enjoyable, very interesting and wacky questions ask, but great answers. A few mad ideas also in there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    EDINBURGH, United Kingdom
    12/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book for random ideas"

    Excellent book if you like wacky facts and thought experiments. It is quite different from '500 top facts' type books as it goes much deeper into exploring different phenomenons and situations. I was very impressed with the level of research, entertainment value as well as narration (which was getting quite weird at times!). Recommended for a light listen for those who like science.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ms L Madden
    Bournemouth, Dorset United Kingdom
    12/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
    11/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprisingly informative"
    What made the experience of listening to What If? the most enjoyable?

    The absurdity of the questions threw me to start with - but I soon realised that the answers were incredibly informative and actually could have a place in the teaching of science at school. I have always been the one to point out the impossibilities of hypothesis - I now realise that was just a defence because I didn't have the knowledge to answer with the depth and openness Randall Munroe can muster.


    Which character – as performed by Wil Wheaton – was your favourite?

    First time I have enjoyed a performance from Will Wheaton, having struggled with him previously.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Simon W
    11/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A brilliant book, not quite done justice."
    What did you like most about What If??

    The science content. This is exactly the sort of thing i wondered about as a kid, and still do as an adult and chemistry graduate. To actually find some of the questions answered in more detail than i ever managed was a hallelujah moment.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of What If??

    Finding out that the British empire, though diminished over the last century, still stretches right round the globe.


    What three words best describe Wil Wheaton’s performance?

    Inflections often grate.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Listening to the very first chapter, wishing this book had been published twenty years ago.


    Any additional comments?

    The content of the book is fantastic, however i'm not sure about Wheaton's narration. Maybe it's just because i went to a Grammar school so had how to speak properly drummed into me from an early age, but some of his inflections and intonations can be rather jarring.
    It's not just because he's American, before anyone accuses me of racism. Scott Brick is also American, yet his narrations of Asimov's books are unparalleled.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    10/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I did miss the pictures"
    Would you consider the audio edition of What If? to be better than the print version?

    It is a shame there are no pictures/cartoons with it, I ended up clicking back to some of the online posts to find the relevant cartoons/diagrams. That being said Will Wheaton does a great job of bringing it to life, and reads it in much the same way I imagined it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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