What If? Book Review


Aidan Janney, Staff Writer

What If? By Randall Munroe is a fun, hilarious, and surprisingly scientific book, with a great format allowing for a ton of short fun stories about science and explosions. I got What If? last year for christmas, and since then I have read it five times. 

What If? doesn’t have a defined plot, instead it is a collection of short stories. The book is structured in that each section is the author, Randall Munroe, responding to questions from readers of his comic XKCD. Each question is typically an absurd, extreme scenario like a baseball thrown at the speed of light or flying on other planets atmospheres. Munroe answers these questions scientifically but with a lot of humor, and then he takes these already ridiculous questions to an insane level.

This book is a super fun book to read, you can pick it up and read for 5 minutes or 50 minutes and learn fun facts about science along the way. Munroe was an actual engineer and programmer and NASA, and all of the science in this book is accurate. This is a great book, even for people that don’t like science, my sister dislikes almost everything science related but she loved this book. What If? Is simply a fun, interesting, laugh-out-loud book about science, math, and everything else in between. 

Another great aspect of What If? is that when you are done reading, it never really stops. Munroe’s online comic XKCD is updated weekly, with the same wry sense of humor and interesting topics, and on the XKCD website, you can submit more questions for Munroe to answer in future comics or even other books. 

I really like Munroe’s approach to science, he makes it really fun and interesting. The short bits of the book also make it a really fun way to pass short spans of time since I can just pick it up and read a full section in a quick ten minutes. In addition to this, I now have tons of fun facts to shout out during science class. The only downside of this book is that some of the concepts that Munroe mentions may take some extra reading to understand, but for the most part he does a very good job of explaining everything. Ultimately, What If? is a great book, and I highly recommend it to everyone even slightly interested in science or humor.