Announcing a What-If book by Randall Munroe

So, I found out something very exciting (to me) this morning. Randall Munroe, of xkcd fame, is publishing a book of his wonderful what-if Tuesday blog. Munroe takes user questions, usually quite strange, yet interesting, questions, and answers them using a mixture of humour and science, often stretching the question and context when necessary (and when isn’t it) to make things more interesting, particularly when then question has a short and simple general answer, or when it doesn’t generate a massive explosion.

The result is highly educational. frequently absurd, and always amusing. And, occasionally, frightening.
At times his research and pursuit of a thorough and conclusive answer is stonewalled by non-existent (but some very interesting potential PhD research) or classified military data, which forces him to estimate, which is more fun, if less accurate. I’m sure his IP is closely monitored by several government agencies.

But wait, there’s more (yay!). Randall is not just publishing the blog in print format (why bother buying when it’s all online…apart from a shiny book with pretty pictures and awesomeness?). He’s putting lots of extras into it. Coming to 320 pages of book!

As I’ve sifted through the letters submitted to What If every week, I’ve occasionally set aside particularly neat questions that I wanted to spend a little more time on. This book features my answers to those questions, along with revised and updated versions of some of my favorite articles from the site. (I’m also including my personal list of the weirdest questions people have submitted.)

So that’s 320 pages of what-if coming in at under $20, with loads of new and revised material. Yay!

I’m nearly as excited about this book as I am about Raising Steam.

I think a few other people are too, because apparently, 6 months before publication and a day after it’s announcement on Randall’s site, it is already a best seller on Amazon:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
                     #1 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Puzzles & Games > Trivia
                     #1 in Books > Science & Math > Physics

Quite an achievement, if you ask me.

Now, I will be pre-ordering it eventually, probably in August after we get back from our southern travels, to ensure it is in my lap as early as possible, but if someone wants to be very generous and gift me a copy, then they only have to say so. 🙂


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