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The Universe Next Door: A Journey Through 55 Alternative Realities, Parallel Worlds and Possible Futures

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  29 reviews
It's lucky you're here. But for a series of choices, accidents and coincidences - any of which could have gone otherwise - your life would have been very different.
The same goes for reality. We live in just one of many possible worlds - but we can imagine parallel universes in which dinosaurs still rule the Earth, the Russians got to the moon first, everyone's a vegetaria
Paperback, 262 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by John Murray
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James Hartley
Half-decent. Basically a collection of answers to more and less interesting science-based questions on multiple universes, the future of humanity and lots of ´what if´s´. There´s nothing new here and nothing you couldn´t find out with a quick Google search but as a toilet book or flight read (as it was for me), it´s adequate. Definitely an appetiser and not a main meal.
Artur Coelho
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Os cenários E Se... costumam ser característicos da ficção científica e especulativa, mas tem-se tornado moda a sua utilização noutro tipo de contextos. É o caso deste livro, onde analistas e cientistas são convidados pela New Scientist a fugir ao rigor científico e a especular sobre cenários prováveis. Começa de forma quase psicadélica, com o potencial mind-bending das teorias de multiversos, e segue depois pelos caminhos habituais da história das ciências, perguntando-se o que teria acontecido ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I expected more parallel worlds, but instead got a lot of future possibilities. It was still interesting and worth reading, but I am a little disappointed. I'm not sure what I expected to read specifically, but it was more fantastical, I think? ...more
Miguel Pinto
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
well written,
its a nice thought experiment on the what if...
If you're into science and history this would be a good read.
Jon Officer
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Quite interesting and certainly amusing as a thought experiment. Lots of entertaining ideas of what kind of life parallel universes might hold but none that haven't been explored previously by B-movie science fiction pulp and have since become clichés.
Don't expect any new ideas within this book but it's interesting to follow one or two of the referenced articles for further reading to learn more of the research that backs up these theories. Not to be taken too seriously but entertaining never t
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, essays
Can we rewrite the laws of physics without destroying the universe?
What if earth didn't have a moon?
What if we find ET?
....And what if we couldn't?
What if we could start over?
Could the climate be controlled?
AD 100,000: Journey to the Deep Future - Will we still be here?
Are all societies doomed to collapse?

Each of these questions, from a fundamental exploration of the properties of our universe and potential multiverse through to the 'journeys end' of the universe, explore a myriad of intriguing
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
[I should probably say that I was given this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I was not required to give a review and my opinion is my own. Just like to be upfront about these things.]

This is a book of articles all pondering "what would happen if x". It is, therefore, quite diverse in topics, and obviously not intended to be in-depth at all. However I did find that some of the articles were too short to really be of any interest, while some felt too long and repetitive of ideas that had previously
Genetic Cuckoo
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I was not sure what to expect with this book. It was similar to other new Scientist books, like ‘why don't penguins feet freeze’ which is probably the best known, so lots of little stories and anecdotes. I preferred ‘why don't penguins feet freeze’ more than this book, partly because I have a greater interest in biology than physics. I think another factor what that other books have explained biological process
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great
i felt this was a very good book that has more meat and info and thought put into it than the average popular science book. For instance, I learned about the history of the use of coal, and an intricate exploration of how the world would have developed if we went straight from biomass to hydroelectric power without relying on fossil fuels-- Canada and Scandinavia would have been prosperous, but no imperial powers could be dominant in a world without the endless expansion afforded by fossil fuele ...more
Peter Ellwood
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
There’s a lot that’s good about this collection of articles daydreaming about the outer reaches of current scientific thinking, but it leaves you wanting more.

For starters, the title The Universe Next Door is slightly misleading, especially when you bear in mind the sub-title of A journey through 55 parallel worlds and possible futures. It’s true, in the sense that everything can be defined as being possible in a multiverse somewhere or other: but otherwise, it all comes across as a bit random
Chris Harris
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A collection of essays that originally appeared in New Scientist magazine, presented as an examination of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (I was pleased to see that not only does Hugh Everett get a mention, but his son Mark was actually interviewed) . More than one of the subjects has ended up as the macguffin in a work of science fiction. Some, like the idea of quantum Russian roulette, are very disconcerting (and brought to mind the idea of quantum immortality, which drives ...more
Robert Day
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted more science fiction. I recognise that now. I wanted the drama and the swoop and flutter of lives lived and lost. Instead, I got science. It's probably unfair to give this book only three stars on the basis of my thwarted expectations, but the cover and the blurb egged me on, so what can I say?

This us actually quite a decent tour of possible worlds. It covers pretty much anything you might think of (albeit without the melodrama) and so you should be happy. I should be happy. I live the
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Good enough for the science nerds and geeks , it discusses different topics ranging from past era to future,for me it answers most of questions elaborately and in a concise way for a general reader to easily consume,Some very interesting scenarios are discussed but some answers are lacking in a sense that it doesn't convey that matter truly,also because of shortness and difficulties in some topics that the reader won't find any conclusion in that,otherwise still a satisfactory read for general r ...more
Carmilla Voiez
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, sci-fi
I came for parallel worlds, but left with a wide array of thought experiments about energy sources, alternate futures and what ifs? I enjoyed it, but the articles were too short to get to anywhere truly fascinating. Instead of this I'd recommend Michio Kaku's "Parallel Worlds" if you're considering this from the same point of interest. ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a very beginner's level of popular science.
I like the part of "multidimensional the most.
It described what will happen happens, the bad thing happens in this universe, we just expect that the other way around (good result) happens in another parallel universe.
There are not dry and difficult words or equations in this book, simply offer you more angles to think about life.


The whole what if thing really got to me it's so annoying. I thought I'd learn about math and formulas, proof about other universes. The first chapter was like that but afterwards it's just a bunch of what-ifs that will benefit me in no way whatsoever.
Ryan Young
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physics
scientists speculate. what will the world be like in 60 years or 100,000 years. what if some of the most bizarre scientific theories are true? to me it was a bit like a sci fi novel without a plot...

easy and fun, also my birthday present from my son.
Sep 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is a good compendium on intriguing 'what if' scenarios based on the alternate universe theory. For any physics, science or space aficionados this book will be a fascinating read. For others, this still makes for an interesting and thought provoking read. ...more
Karim Nas
Great topics. Would definitely gave it four stars if it wasn't an anthology of articles. ...more
Fascinating and eye-opening.
Shelby Miles
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very, very interesting read. Completely opened my mind to new theories and “what if” explorations. A great first “New Scientist” experience for me!
Regina Cattus
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Not enough parallel universes, too much looking into the future. Don't get me wrong, those parts were interesting, just not what I was there for. ...more
Kym Taborn
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic
A fun read that makes you think.
Martin Willoughby
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, and written in way that most people can understand the science.
Rachel Welton
This is a collection of What-if tales that reads like a brainstorming conference for the next sci-fi novel you are planning. I kind of expected more science and less speculation. It had a few interesting scenarios but lacked being really inspiring.
Craig Stephens
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting collection of thoughts.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Fun book, exploring weird but sometimes serious questions. If you enjoyed this book, you'd enjoy 'What If?' by Randall Munroe even more. ...more
Toni Heinänen
rated it liked it
Jul 24, 2019
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Dec 05, 2017
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