Review of 'what if? 2'

what if? 2 by Randall Munroe

what_if_2.jpg “what if? 2” provides “Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions”, following on from the original, incredibly amusing, what if?. In this second book we learn what would happen the solar system was filled with soup up to Jupiter (nothing very good, it turns out), whether or not you can start a fire using moonlight focused through a magnifying glass (no), what a billion-billion story skyscraper would look like (VERY big), and just how many government regulations effect each of us. In addition to answering some truly amazing questions there are “short answers” and “weird and worrying” (questions) chapters.

Randall once again brings his wit and insight into preposterous questions posed to him by the public. I found this second book, if anything, even funnier than the first with the ironic humour turned up to maximum along with the willingness to extend answers beyond the realm of reason just to see what comes out of it which, in most cases, turns out to be absolutely hilarious. Accompanied by his famous XKCD stick figures, Randall has the ability to explain in easy to understand terms even the most complicated ideas and uncovers some genuinely interesting things despite the insane questions. To be fair, there are some extremes he goes to that stretch the answer well beyond breaking point to the point of tediousness but mostly it is just a whole lot of fun.

Highly amusing and surprisingly interesting, “what if? 2” continues to answer absurd questions with serious scientific thought.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2024-01-28

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Publication Date: 2022

ISBN: 9780593542903

Other reviewed books by Randall Munroe: