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What If?:

Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

  • Read by: Wil Wheaton
  • Runtime: 6.6 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 9.2.2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Genre: Nonfiction/Humor
  • 6.60 hrs9/2/2014Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4830-3017-3
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30 day rental Learn more

A #1 New York Times Bestseller

A #1 NPR Bestseller

A USA Today Bestseller

A #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller

A 2014 Entertainment Weekly Best Book for Fiction

An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014

One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, September 2014

An Amazon Best Book of 2014

An Amazon Best Book of the Month September 2014

A 2016 YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Top Ten Selection for Nonfiction

A Library Journal Bestseller

From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd comes this hilarious and informative book of answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.

Editorial Reviews

What If? is one of my Internet must-reads, and I look forward to each new installment, and always read it with delight.”

Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author

“Required reading across the world.”

New York Times

“Munroe applies reason and research to hypothetical conundrums ranging from the philosophical to the scientific (often absurd but never pseudo) that probably seemed awesome in your elementary school days—but were never sufficiently answered. It’s the rare combination of edifying and fun.”

Amazon.com, editorial review

“Who better than Wil Wheaton, formerly of Star Trek, to narrate this romp through the world of Randall Munroe—physicist, roboticist, and editor of the website xkcd?…Wheaton’s ambitious performance meshes perfectly with the perspectives and humor of the author. Missing from the audio are the signature stick-figure cartoons from the printed book and website, but Wheaton’s outstanding inflections, pacing, cadence, and timing more than compensate for the loss. So if you want to be thoroughly entertained while discovering what would happen if the world suddenly stopped spinning or a drain appeared in the bottom of the ocean, this audiobook deserves space on your listening device.”

AudioFile

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2 out of 2 (100%) recommend this product

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    • 5/5

    Weird Science

    Ninjacorn 9 November 23, 2014
    “I like it when things catch fire and explode, which means I do not have your best interests in mind” and “Needless to say, this is not a good idea” are apparently awesome hooks--for an amazing book with bad ideas, explained brilliantly. What a surprisingly delicious treat this audiobook turned out to be! Here’s the skinny: Randall Munroe, creator of the popular science/nerd website xkcd.com answers random, absurd questions that are related to science, complete with stickman drawings and seriously spot-on humor. The “What If” questions pile up on each other, growing to ridiculousness and insanity with each new section, and I kept thinking to myself “I can’t believe we’re going to break this all down at some point and answer it scientifically—this will be crazy”. But Munroe always does. Holy wow! I eat up science experiments like good old boys consume bacon. I grew up watching Mr. Wizard, am a huge fan of Bill Nye the Science Guy, and have tossed around the idea of being Neil Degrasse Tyson for Halloween on multiple occasions (but could never find a mustache bushy and awesome enough). If you’ve never heard of these knowledge ninjas stop reading now and go watch UFC. Geeks unite…and listen to this book!
    No 0 | Yes 0
    • 5/5

    So so good

    Holly October 14, 2014
    This is one of the most entertaining books I've read (and listened to—yes, I did both) in a long time. Both hilarious and informative, it kept me wanting to read more. I found myself doing the classic "just one more chapter" thing over and over. Wil Wheaton was an excellent choice to narrate this audiobook. He perfectly captures the tone and feel of the book, doesn't stumble, and has a nice, clear voice. It doesn't matter if you're familiar with physics or not, this book will keep you interested and have you laughing out loud.
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Author Biography

Randall Munroe is the author of the popular webcomic xkcd and the science question-and-answer blog What If? Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside Richmond. After graduating with a degree in physics from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, he got a job building robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center. In 2006 he left NASA to draw comics on the Internet full time, supporting himself through the sale of xkcd t-shirts, prints, posters, and books. He likes candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach—very long walks. Lots of people say they like long walks on the beach, but then they get out on the beach, and after just an hour or two, they say they’re getting tired. Bring a tent. He lives in Massachusetts.

Reader Biography

Wil Wheaton is an actor, voice artist, author, and award-winning audiobook narrator. Among his movie credits are Stand by Me and Toy Soldiers. His many television credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, and Generator Rex. As a narrator of more than a dozen audiobooks, he has twice won the prestigious Audie Award, twice been a finalist for the Audie, and earned an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine.

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