What if I wrote a book?

For the last couple years, I’ve been answering your science questions on What If.

Today, I’m excited to announce that the What If? book is coming!

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions will be published September 2nd by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Starting today you can pre-order it from your favorite bookseller (Barnes & NobleAmazonIndie Bound).  There are also foreign editions, including a UK and Commonwealth edition and a German edition.

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.)

Preorder today to get a copy as soon as it comes out!

1,099 thoughts on “What if I wrote a book?

  1. What if there would be a website where i can buy the book for delivery within western europe and see the price in euro? = with reasonable delivery costs (i’m not interested in a German version ;-), english version please)

  2. I have just preordered the Kindle edition for my, well, Kindle. I guess I will miss the Velociraptor part, maybe the lava, too. I hope Amazon can guarantee high velocity, though.

  3. The Le-a name is NOT a myth. My sister goes to school with a girl who’s very name on her birth certificate is La-a, pronounced La-dash-a. Not making this up, the subs stumble on her name every time they call her for roll.

  4. What If I chuck this book at a velociraptor that is riding at high velocities on a river of lava flowing from the depths of Tartarus?

  5. Then that velociraptor would not be very happy and you will not go to space today. :)

  6. I will definitely buy the book. I do hope I understand at least a little bit of the science in it.

  7. Can I find German versions of the article online, or were they translated specifically for the book?

  8. What if ARC “advance reading copies” were available, for select people to review,
    and post comments IE “reviews” prior to the release date, how many select individuals would have to jog in a direction counter to the earths rate of spin to “make the earths motion” change IE slow or increase the rate of rotation. Those select individuals could claim the earth moved for them in their pursuit of an ARC copy while contemplating “What IF”.


  9. I will definitely NOT be buying this book. I have spent far too much time on xkcd already. If I added up all the minutes/hours/days that I have mindlessly clicked the ‘Random’ button I probably could have finished the three novels I’ve been working on (but have yet to even begin). Oh wait – notification from Amazon – ‘What If’ book now available to pre-order – got to go …

  10. I would probably be interested int he Commonwealth edition, but will it be available in Canada or will we get the American edition instead?

  11. Instead of what-if book, package contained bobcat. would not buy again.

  12. But how will I click all the annotations and links if it’s printed!!! I demand some kind of hypertext technology in this publication!

    And, seriously, Randall, thanks so much for doing this!

  13. sorry , but what would happen to that starling star at the end of the recent “what if”

    i didnt know how else to ask

    also CAPTCHA=:(

  14. What if I wait for the book being available in the public library? Finally I shall be able to talk to the nice lady, who I want to marry since I was eight years old.
    What if I get an illegal pdf copy of the book the same day I am supposed to pick up the book in the library? I will not go, not speak to her and never will marrry.
    What if I purchase two copies of the book and send her one? She will be impressed and love me forever.
    What if she does not like the book? Can I get the money back, then go to a casino and become millionaire!

  15. I used to be suggested this website through my cousin. I’m no longer certain whether or not this post is written via him as nobody else realize such
    special approximately my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  16. What if you when you begin this project, you originally conceive it as a single book with twelve chapters, entitled “The Art of What If”? What if it ends up being the first three of what you then expect to be a seven-volume set to be published in 2019, 2020, and 2024? What if THEN the first installment of Volume 4 (a paperback fascicle) isn’t published until 2066? What if T H E N the hardback volume 4A isn’t published until 2072. What if *T*H*E*N* additional fascicle installments are planned for release approximately biannually.

    Then what?

  17. Sb “nonlethal”, instead of “nonfatal”.

    Thank you for creating an excellent webcomic.

  18. What If: This book came out early?
    Happy customers? Less preorders? More preorders?!?! Less content?? WE NEED TO KNOW!

  19. What if the book is delivered with an acceleration of approximetly 11 m/s^2 ?
    What if the book is charged and utilizes the Bremsstrahlung principle to slow down upon delivery completion?

    What if I get drunk at work today and read all the comics!?

  20. Could I get one autographed by the velociraptor? My CS students and I have enjoyed your work for years. Look forward to the book. “Compiling” is our excuse for everything.

  21. Are you going to be selling it through any other outlets in the Europe/UK. I’d rather not use amazon!

  22. Sorry if asked already, but how much cartoon will I miss out on if I buy the e-book?

  23. Any possibility of a Chinese version? I’m pleased to hear that “What if” becomes a real book and I want to have one to send my friends. But unfortunately None of them have any friendship with English. Would you please translate it into Chinese, or allow me to translate it, I wonder?

  24. what if the amazon kindle price was more than a hardcopy, what if publisher was living in the past man

  25. Will I be able to poke the pictures and have funny captions pop up? (please say yes)

  26. What if I wanted to get your signature on my book that I purchased? Could I mail it to you?

  27. OK, pre-ordered digital version at google now. They state they can deliver epub. I trust google. Wait, it was the velociraptor I trusted. Too late. Darn.

  28. Happen to arrive at this website from a tech blog… well…don’t remember all the spiders that helped to land here… :p

    Just loving the comics’ and have saved the page under Favorites…
    Glad to know about the book.. Keep up the writing ..

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