Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
The unthinkable finally happened. I held in my hands the audiobook case for Neily’s new book. I stared down at the text along the bottom of the cover art. I read the simple sentence over and over, sure my eyes deceived. I popped the first disc into my CD player and listened, dejected, as an older, white male began to speak. I knew, deep in my heart of hearts, that it was a pipe dream. And then, it happened.
That’s right, y’all. This biotch is read by the author. Three and a half glorious hours of your personal astrophysicist in your ear, explaining the inexplicable universe. The fundamental problem, though, is that his smooth tone distracts from the content. Several times through my listen I shook myself awake as I sat in traffic, lolled to ease by his unmistakable voice. I would regain awareness in the middle of a sentence and realize I had no idea what he spoke about, which is a tall hurdle when string theory is on the slate.
Needless to say, I did not get as much out of this novel as I would have if I had taken the time to sit down and read it… with Google open in a browser on my phone, constantly researching the topics he touches on. But if I had that amount of time, you would never find me anywhere other than blogging in the science section of this site. Plus, read by the author. I can’t stress this enough. It might take me a few listens to absorb all the information, but I’m more than willing to make that sacrifice.
Astrophysics… forPeopleinaHurry (this is probably only funny if you heard Neily’s interview on Probably Science) is a novel for which I can’t guess the target audience. For people who obsessively follow all of Neil’s work, it’s repetitive in a lot of ways. You hear the same stories (the grains of sand on the beach comparison to stars, mentions of items from the inexplicable universe, favorite quotes from StarTalk, the calendar for the beginning of the universe from the Cosmos, etc. etc. etc) you’ve heard from other outlets. For those largely unfamiliar with Neil’s work, you are going to be flooded with information and most likely overwhelmed. Even I, a self-professed nerd for everything in the cosmos, felt lost at times (I try to keep up on the multiverse, but string theory still confounds me). But I think there’s a little something in this novel for anyone with a love for the universe around us and with the patience to handle some frustration at being positively bamboozled. And if you do have a lot of time on your hands to Google topics mentioned in this novel, you’re in for a fascinating, mind-blowing ride. If you don’t, well the audiobooks only three and a half hours. So enjoy.