• What If?

  • Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  • By: Randall Munroe
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd, What If? gives hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions. How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind - or at least a really big explosion.

This audiobook edition is read by geek icon Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me, The Big Bang Theory) and has been adapted for audio in collaboration with the author.

©2014 xkcd inc (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

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What listeners say about What If?

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really enjoyable on top of being educational

this was a great listen. Wil Wheaton narrated it perfectly and has such a clear voice perfectly suited to the science content of this book

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Great

Outrageous questions and amazing answers. Wil Wheaton was great. loved it ! ! ! !

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Worth it

Well worth it. Every chapter offers a new hypothetical gem ! Will be looking out for more from this author. 4 stars

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So when is the next edition coming out ?

What a fantastically geeky, funny, serious and entertaining book. I've been reading XKCD for years but only found out about this book yesterday. Then finished it this afternoon. Any book read by Will Wheaton is always a treat and he puts in a perfect performance here. What a combination - Munroe and Wheaton. Get this book and prepare to be entertained, learn something and have a laugh.

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  • Dr L Madden
  • 12-01-14

Good fun that descends into silliness

Would you try another book written by Randall Munroe or narrated by Wil Wheaton?

Certainly Wil, who is high energy and adds an awful lot to what's here. Randall perhaps on the basis of his overall reputation or as seriously light relief. Not on the basis of this book!

Could you see What If? being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

This isn't really that kind of book. It's comedy nonfiction bite sized chapters on different topics. I chose it for going to bed or quick moments to listen, and it suits that. The whole book in one go is a bit too much of the same and it stops being funny.

Any additional comments?

I went in expecting something like the New Scientist series of light hearted questions to things you've always wanted to know. I liked this book less, because how it works is a reader puts forward a completely strange question, Randall answers that question in about half the chapter, and the second half is taken up with an even more outlandish aside to the question that interests Randall. This invariably involves MORE explosions, MORE mass deaths, or MORE planets being destroyed.

I can see some readers really enjoying that,but I found it same-y.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-14-14

Amazing book for Geeks

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I certainly would. What if answers all the questions you wanted ask but didn't know who to ask.

What did you like best about this story?

Will Weatons narration

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The question about the periodic table

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wish!!

Any additional comments?

Just get it, its amazing.. Please do another!!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 11-02-20

Interesting but boring

Great explanations but the questions start getting very boring. Ended up skipping a lot.

Wil Wheaton does a great job keeping energy levels up & keeping you interested.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 02-17-17

If you love xkcd you'll love this!

We all do it, daydream about what might happen if an off the wall hypothetical situation were actually to happen. Randall's sheer dedication to helping us understand the 'what if' is incredible with ever source listed and every tangent explored. He's managed to translate the humour of his comics' brilliantly into the writing.

Will's narration is spot on, with great comic timing and a confidence that would make you believe that he'd written the book.

I've listened to 'what if' three times now and I'm not done yet. If you want accessible, fun science written by a genius mathematician and ex nasa employee then this is for you!

Thanks Randall, I really hope a second book is on the way!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Justin
  • 09-21-16

Very well researched and entertaining

Enjoyed it very much, found the questions interesting and the answers even more interesting! A great listen

1 person found this helpful

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  • Doug Monk
  • 09-22-14

Brilliant, just brilliant!

If you could sum up What If? in three words, what would they be?

Funny insightful entertaining

What other book might you compare What If? to, and why?

Not nearly as funny, but just as informative - Death from the Skies by Phil Plait

Any additional comments?

I love the website, and the book is even better. Wil Wheaton was a perfect choice for narrating this, he really makes this book and brings it to life.
Recommend this for anyone who has ever pondered what would happen if the Earth suddenly stopped, if the sun has ever set on the British Empire or what would happen if a baseball was pitched at you at the speed of light. Couple this with Randall Munroe's almost obsessive need to blow things up in ever increasingly bizarre ways and you have an excellent read! Hope he releases a volume 2..

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sarita
  • 07-29-21

Laugh out loud science

Well written, enthusiastically researched and a good choice for who read it! I laughed out loud, just what you want from this kind of book.

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  • Thomas McKinless
  • 07-08-21

Enjoyable but not my sense of humour

I really enjoyed this book. I would review it 5 stars but the author answered a lot of questions with a joke, and it didn't find any of them funny. That being said, I do recommend it.

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  • Chuck stuff
  • 06-27-21

Interesting but not funny.

A book full of questions to impossible situations with the most scientific realistic answer possible. From how fast can you hit a speed bump and survive to what if you made the periodic out of all the elements.

Interesting is a word that is used most to describe this book. And that's because it is interesting. However, funny isn't one I'll use as most of the jokes are just cringy and eye rollingly bad. I get that it's just silly questions with real answers but Randall Munroe you really aren't funny.

Also about halfway through I got bored with some of the questions as they weren't really fun. I was hoping for more over the top sci-fi questions such as what would happen if you drop a T-Rex into a Sarlacc's pit which is on the front cover but isn't even in the book but instead I found out what would happen if you put a hairdryer in a box and turned it on...exciting stuff.

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  • Lauren N. Davies
  • 06-25-21

funny and interesting

Really funny and interesting throughout. thoroughly enjoyed content and performance...perfect for someone with adhd who needs constant stimulation and interesting surprises.

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  • Kyal
  • 08-26-16

Wildly Funny

Very funny, intelligent and full of fascinating things. XKCD has long been a favourite. And Dr Munroe is well smart.

2 people found this helpful

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  • max barr
  • 07-30-16

well read by will wheaton, very entertaining!

if only will wheaton was around to read me bed time stories all the time! “what if we use mooooore power?!?”.... good times

1 person found this helpful

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  • askjohn
  • 01-26-16

Great read

I love this book. The author has a sharp wit and has done his research well..

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cayden
  • 01-06-16

Comedic science, love it.

Recommended for anyone with a curiosity for science and wildly impractical scenarios.
To top it off, Wil Wheaton narrates this fantastic read in a way that keeps you laughing and wanting more.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anuj
  • 02-18-21

funny and interesting

Loved it . very funny and informative at sametime liked the way it was presented.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-14-21

Great performance not so much the content

This book is probably better as an actual book than audio book. You don’t know what the topics and forced to listen through the whole thing. Some things are interesting but gets pretty boring. The performance is great however and was the only thing that kept me interested.

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  • Maxwell
  • 10-12-20

awesome

one of the funniest books I have ever read. no books make me laugh except randall's

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-21-20

Loved it

Randall Munroe? genius, XKCD? awesome, What if? brilliant, bring those together with Will Wheaton? nothing can compare.

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  • Chainzz
  • 08-16-20

lots of fun mostly useless knowledge to be found🤣

absolutely loved this book but I live wired science kind of things. really interesting stuff. Will Wheaton dose a brilliant job of bring the excitment and absurdity of the book to like. but I'm sill wanting to know "How many cats meowing at the same resonants would it take to bring down an airplane"

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  • Haydos585
  • 03-11-20

Very funny, very interesting

I found this book to be very funny and thought provoking. I've recommended it to multiple people and I'm happy to recommend it here.