Book Review: What If?

Book Review: What If?

by Payal Mugunda, Editor

Not to be confused with the Marvel series, “What If?” is a book that takes absurd situations and adds science, often resulting in interesting and hilarious outcomes. 

The author, Randall Munroe, is a former NASA roboticist and creator of two webcomics, “xkcd” and “What If?”. The latter, allowing readers to submit questions about outrageous situations ranging from creating a periodic table out of bricks of the actual elements to building a jetpack out of machine guns, is the inspiration for this book.

Spoiler alert: At least half of these scenarios end in either death or the end of the world. If you feel uncomfortable reading about either of those things, then this book probably isn’t for you.

First, the positives. The premises of these questions, while usually odd, may not seem to guarantee hilarity, but Munroe’s dry humor and stick-figure comics made me laugh through the entire book. I also happen to like science. So, I loved the parts where the author explained the science behind the results of each scenario, and my curiosity always kept me reading. Finally, my sense of humor is rather morbid, which perfectly matched the premise of this book. 

On the other hand, if you don’t like science or math, you may become bored as you read. It rarely goes very in-depth with the science, however, it does use a substantial amount of technical terms and math equations. And, as I said before, the scenarios often end in death or global destruction. I liked it, but it may not be something you want to read.

Overall, I loved this book. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but if you like science, slightly dark humor, and comics, this is the book for you. I give it 5/5 stars.