XKCD Creator Randall Munroe Is Publishing a “What If” Science Questions Book

XKCD Creator Randall Munroe Is Publishing a “What If” Science Questions Book


Randall Munroe has been writing the irreverent, nerdy (in the best way), super-smart webcomic XKCD since 2005, and released xkcd: volume 0 in 2010. But did you know that in addition to his deeply searching commentaries on love, math, and language, he’s also been answering all of your burning scientific questions? If you haven’t been subscribing to Munroe’s “What If?” section of the XKCD site, now’s your chance to get caught up, with his forthcoming book, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.

Munroe announced the book, which comes out September 2 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Some background: In addition to updating his webcomic, Munroe also answers “What If?” questions every week, providing science—and his signature stick-figure illustrations—to readers’ ridiculous queries. Recent comics cover the prospect of police radars actually slowing down cars over the speed limit, and the possibility of “rocket golf” up in space.

Sometimes he even challenges his readers with his own questions, such as when he ended this comic about the accuracy of hitting a comet by asking readers to place bets on a spacecraft engineer performing eye surgery vs. an eye surgeon landing a probe on a comet:

As fun as those responses have been to read, we get the impression that he’s saved the best for his book. He explains:

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.)

Bring on those questions! We can’t wait.

All images © xkcd.com/Randall Munroe


Natalie Zutter
Seeing as Natalie spent her childhood reading Star Wars and Tamora Pierce novels, she’s used to being the token geek at anything from celebrity websites to book websites. (Though she’s also a recent romance convert!) A graduate of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, she stages plays about superheroes, sex robots, and Internet fandom in her spare time. As a pop culture blogger, she has written for Tor.com, Crushable, Quirk Books, BlackBook, and other outlets.


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