Evanston Public Library's Reviews > Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End...

Death from the Skies! by Philip Plait
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's review
Jun 26, 2009

Read in June, 2009

There's pulp fiction and pulp science fiction, but is there a genre called pulp science nonfiction? If there is, Plait's book certainly qualifies. With a lurid cover in eye-catching, fiery orange (that's the burning asteroid hurtling toward Earth), and a title that screams terror and destruction, this lively book will take you on a cheery tour of the many ways the universe is out to get us. Perhaps a meteor will barrel down to obliterate us. A nearby star going supernova would engulf the solar system, but at least we'd have our fellow planets as companions during the apocalypse. If we survive long enough, our sun will eventually fizzle out just as T. S. Eliot predicted in his poem "The Hollow Men" ("This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper."). The list goes on--black holes, alien attack, gamma ray bursts, and more--Plait delights in telling us the gruesome details of how each scenario would play out. What happens on Earth for the most part is the stuff of a Will Smith Hollywood blockbuster. We learn the science behind the various phenomena, and what, if any, heroic actions we Earthlings can take to avert our common fate. If you need something really, really big to worry about (bigger than the economy), enjoy good science writing crafted to engage the non-scientist, and simply like the idea that all of us are in this together (the universe is an equal-opportunity destroyer), this is the book for you. (Barbara L., Reader's Services)

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