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. 1. What if I ordered the ebook version and it needed to be signed? Would it arrive translated into ASL, or would it arrive via raptor as both a negative and a positive version?

    2. What if it was signed by the bobcat AND the raptor, but the Canadian version did not translate its lynx into English?

  2. Have you considered using some of your comics as illustrations too? will there be an eBook version? (Leading a nomadic lifestyle I can’t carry around hardcovers.) Pre-orders (for those who read this and wondered:) are there to let the publisher guess at the initial number of issues to print (otherwise in this day and age pre-ordering would make not that much sense given today’s technology of printing). So for those who contemplate ordering anyway, you’ll make the logistics guys’ job far easier if you ‘fess up now :-)

  3. I did preorder it!
    If it sucks, Randall at least gets some € from me for the many xkcd comics I enjoyed! (and ordering shirts and the like to europe sucks because of the shipping :( ) Also it might be good to bring old monitors into a more ergonomical height or make a fire!

    But on the other hand, I am pretty sure it won’t suck!

  4. What if I hate Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but still want an ebook version? Can I just give you some $ and get it via email? Or by velociraptor carrying a USB drive, if you insist?

  5. Is there a way other than digitial to have it in non-coomonwealth European countries?
    I’m cool with velociraptors.1

  6. Is there a non-digital way to get it in non-commonwealth Europe?
    I’m cool with raptors.

  7. Any chance the what-if book will have an appendix with choice samples of what-if numbers?

  8. If I buy the hard copy and the title text doesn’t work I am going to be severely disappointed.

  9. What will be the difference between the “normal english” version and the UK and Commonwealth edition? I want the 100% uncensored unfiltered original one.

    Thank you and much success

  10. Will the science behind the answers in the book be printed as well, for us geeks-but-not-physicists to play around with, too? I’d like that.

  11. Well, all those people up there want delivery by raptor. I want delivery by bobcat. They’re decently native to this part of the world.

    Also, will there be an iTunes edition? If there is I’d totally buy it.

  12. קוראי xkcd מדהימים לואיס Hulbert וירדן ג’ו שמו לב שאיגוד האסטרונומיה הבינלאומי, הארגון אחראי על הצעות למתן שם להיה אסטרונומיים לוקח רשמיות על מה ששם אובייקטי מערכת שמש קטנים. הם הגישו את השם שלי לאסטרואיד (4942) 1987 DU6, ובעקבות זאת הייתה שם 4942 מונרו.

    אני באמת נגעתי. ביליתי את כל סוף השבוע לספר לכל מי שרצה לשמוע (וכנראה כמה שלא) על האסטרואיד. درب اتوماتیک کرکره ای
    הדבר הראשון שעשיתי היה לנסות להבין אם 4942 מונרו היה גדול מספיק כדי להוות איום ני היה נרגש לשמוע ש, המבוסס על האלבדו שלו (בהירות), זה כנראה כ 6-10 קילומטרים בקוטר. זה דומה בגודלו לזה שהרג את הדינוזאורים, בהחלט גדול מספיק כדי לגרום להכחדה המונית!

  13. I think all 5 of my Norwegian grandkids would like this (they are proficient in English). I also have the urge to donate a copy or two to local schools and libraries, to encourage STEM interest. Maybe one to file under “Humor” (for the unsuspecting, bwa-ha-ha!), and one under science.

  14. Just out of curiosity, will there be giveaways or contests for signed editions?

  15. Pingback: Summer reading list: graphic novels | Hihid News

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  17. Why no epub format (for example for Sony reader and Kobo reader users, and many others)? I hate these lock-in systems. But it seems you don’t…

  18. I’m buying the physical book on amazon, it’s there any way I can also a digital version (epub)?

  19. Writing a book may be the desire of every individual. I’ve written a novel that I have not published it. Someday I’d like to read this book to all

  20. You should probably write a post on all the posts on this post…

    Or maybe I could use more specific terms.

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