Rating: 4 Stars.
Short Summary: Humourous non-fiction science speculative book that seeks to explain the highly unlikely – yet questions that certainly plague our thoughts written by former NASA scientist and author of XKCD web comic.
What I liked: Not being a science or math specialist, I wasn’t sure how I’d take to this book. I am a follower of the XKCD comic, so I was certainly tempted to give it a chance. The humour was brilliant, and the explanations were clear enough for someone who isn’t heavily science minded to appreciate.
Here’s a snippet response from my favourite chapter:
“What would happen if you made a periodic table out of cube-shaped bricks, where each brick was made of the corresponding element?”
“You could stack the top two rows without too much trouble. The third row would burn you with fire, the fourth would kill you with toxic smoke. The fifth row would do all that stuff plus give you a dose of radiation, while the sixth would explode in a radioactive, poisonous fire. Do not build the seventh row.”
What I didn’t: This is more of a personal dislike than a criticism of the book itself. Although there were some scientific concepts that intrigued me, some that I was quite curious about, there were others that I did not have any interest in at all. In some cases, there are a lot of assumptions that are made to prove a point.
Recommendation: Enjoy this book not all at once, but in doses. You’ll get a lot more out of it if you read only a few chapters at a time over a longer period of time. If you have ever wondered “what if” – its definitely worth picking up to browse through a few chapters.