Book Scene: What if you read this terrific book on hypotheticals?
In 2014, Randall Munroe, the creator of the popular web comic XKCD released his first book, “What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.” The book used Munroe’s background in physics and experience as a former NASA programmer to answer a variety of theoretically possible scientific questions.
For example: What if a major league pitcher could throw a baseball at 99% the speed of light? Answer: Nuclear explosion.
The book was popular and paved the way for two other books, “How To?” and “Thing Explainer.” While unique and interesting in their own ways, neither reached the heights of “What If?.” Munroe has now followed up with a sequel, “What If? 2: More Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.” The novelty of “What If 2” is that all the questions answered are fan-submitted. The effect is that this book feels much less focused than the original, but at the same time there’s a delight to the absolute chaos of the questions.