Day of DEATH!

By Phil Plait | October 20, 2008 8:48 am

Calloo callay, O happy day, hip hip hooray, and, um… yay.

(Rhyming is hard)

Today is the Official Release Date of Death from the Skies!

I know, I know, it’s been shipping for a week or more now, and some bookstores have had it for days. But today, October 20, was the official day from the publisher, and that’s the date I’ve had in mind for many months now. So here we are.

Pyramid of DEATH!

It’s been quite a long haul to get here: leaving a salaried job, moving across the country, new school for The Little Astronomer, new job for Mrs. BA. Then sitting in my office and writing, phoning astronomy friends and strangers, downloading scientific papers, reading them (many times having to make more phone calls and to figure out what the paper was saying), writing, editing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.

Through it all I have had the support of my friends, my family, and the team of people at Viking and Penguin Publishing. Thanks to everyone.

And to you guys, too: the BABloggees, who have tolerated my endless pimping of this book. I have to admit that won’t stop immediately; there’s more to say. In fact, in my next post I’ll put up an excerpt from the Introduction to give you a taste of the book. I’ll also post an update of my schedule, which includes a handful of radio shows (and a local TV station Tuesday) as well as a couple of public talks.

Again, thanks to everyone for making this possible for me. It was, quite literally, a life-changing event, and I’m glad so many of you were here for it.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!

Comments (50)

  1. waitaminute….

    you wrote a book?

  2. I don’t want the intro, I want to know how it ends.

  3. madge

    madge raises a glass of wine in salute to DftS and to you BA. Congratulations.

  4. BigBadSis

    Heartfelt congrats, Phil. We’ve all been awaiting this day too. The bookstores in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa airports didn’t have it, so I’ll pick mine up today! Balmer loves science!

  5. Keep pimping! As Mr Wilson’s review said, MORE people need to get punched in the face by Sagan. Congratulations.

    Any chance we can get a peek at your world tour book signings schedule?

  6. Gnat

    Congratulations, Phil!

  7. Already have it, and it’s great so far!

    Congrats on the release, Phil!

  8. Shane: the last word in the book is: "Skies". But there’s an epilogue, too. The last word there is "good".

  9. Yay! I just got my check from cafepress for my t-shirt (I won’t burden you with an ad.) You can guess where some of that’s going!

    Meanwhile- Until I read this post, I had forgotten it was my sis’s birthday. Lucky break and incidentally: an interesting gift idea.

  10. PeteG

    Congratulations! I’ve ordered mine from Amazon, but it’s going to have to be shipped across the atlantic and won’t be with me for another month or so, so I look forward to an early Christmas present! :)

  11. BicycleRepairMan

    Big Congratulations, I’ve long enjoyed your blog quite selfishly and free, but the other day I ordered both Death and BA from , they have sent BA, but I got a mail saying they were “still trying to obtain” DeathFromTheSkies, maybe they are sold out already ūüėČ

  12. BicycleRepairMan

    PeteG, if you live in Europe use the UK Amazon site,, or another European retailer that way it might shorten your wait.

  13. Jayson

    I had just finished the first chapter, and went outside to let the dog do his business, when I look up and see a bright, quick flash of meteor (did I use the right term?) zip across the sky. I enjoyed the experience all the more because I understood the phenomena better. YAY SCIENCE!

  14. Kuroko

    I have about 50 pages or so left when I get home tonight and I doubt it’s going to make it through dinnertime. I picked it up on Saturday morning and have read it straight through. Awesome book. I’m not just kissing your butt because this is your blog either. I went it expecting to have a decent read due to liking the writing style here on your blog, but honestly this has been the best science book that I’ve read since Pale Blue Dot. That book changed my entire view of the Earth and this book has made it into an even smaller and more fragile thing in my own mind. Your writing style is exciting and informative at the same time. The stories and scope of the book have made me stop and shake my head on more than one occasion. I have been spouting off about it relentlessly ever since I got to work this morning. I went from being kinda annoyed with the book pimping to being just as bad myself and I didn’t even write the thing.

    You should be very proud of what you’ve put out there Phil, this is a great book.

  15. bendak

    Grats! Mine just came in the mail today from amazon.

  16. Pop

    Going out later today, so I guess I’ll buy the book. Never used the services of a prostitute before, so you’ll be my first. Your shameless display of your wares (new book) puts you in the ranks of the best of them. I’m sure I’ll enjoy every lascivious moment.

  17. You wrote a book…? How come you never made a post about it?

    Congratulations, and I’ll be checking my local bookstore today, but have a feeling I may need to get it in Vancouver.

  18. Celtic_Evolution

    Just picked up my copy. Kudos, Phil, my good man! My you spend a year on the best seller list!

  19. Dangit, Phil! You forgot the spoiler tags!

  20. BAMom

    Dear Phil, the way you write makes reading it flow. I “flowed” right into the wee hours last night. In several places it was like reading a love letter. As for your pimping, I guess I have been a bit guilty of it myself. Congrats!! It is a winner!!

  21. Anyway, since it’s Death Day, I’ll see you at Carousel, hoping for Renewal!

  22. Kevin

    I’m nearly done, and it’s a great read.

    I actually took some photos of it next to it’s “older brother” — Bad Astronomy — next to the telescopes at our observatory. I hope you got my email with the links, Phil. :)

  23. It arrived Friday morning and I’m in the middle of it now (I’d have finished it Friday evening, but for small things like studying and working on my thesis). I love it!

  24. My copy is on its way. I am reading a book on cosmology that will be tabled in favor of reading your book. Bad Astronomy was a good read, and I anticipate Death from the Skies to be even better.

    Are you going to change your name now to the Death Astronomer?

  25. PeteG

    I did try the UK site first, and they were out of stock, with no date for new stock (there seems to be a few from 3rd party sellers now though). It’s my own fault for not pre-ordering ūüėõ

  26. Provider

    Congratulations Phil!

    Placed my order today and can’t wait to dig into it!

  27. JackC


    Are you in the Eastern US? My son tells me that he was waiting for his bus this morning, around 0650-ish ET, and saw a meteor!

    Surely there weren’t two visible in the early morning today?

    We are just north of Newburgh, NY

    Oh – and Congratulations and best luck with sales of the book, Phil. Can’t wait to get mine.


  28. I just got mine today, great book so far Phil!

  29. Fizzle

    Say Phil. Has you publisher contacted Colbert yet?

  30. Phil:

    “Calloo callay, O happy day, hip hip hooray, and, um‚Ķ yay.

    “(Rhyming is hard)”

    Zip-a-de-ay, it’s comin’ my way, be happy and gay, and find our own way, meet me halfway, without a delay, so whaddya say, let’s all jump and play, let’s have a buffet, of codfish fillet, and then a parfait, or maybe sorbet, so anchors aweigh, off Chesapeake Bay, we’ll have a soiree, when it’s underway, put on Mel Torme, we’ll dance and we’ll sway, so lead us astray, we’ll all get risque, a roll in the hay, and another cliche, complete disarray, ’til they take us away, then there’s no more dismay, and we’ll all be okay.

    No, it isn’t. :^P

  31. hale_bopp

    I got mine couple of days ago…right when I had weekend workshops so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet! I fly to Florida for vacation this week, and my plane flights are reserved for it!

    Congratulations…I will put in a good word for you with Colbert…I know one of his writers :)

  32. Christine P.

    Hooray! This’ll help with my holiday shopping. :)

  33. DaveKan

    I received my copy on Saturday and I am excited to start it…pimp away Phil!

  34. PP

    I ordered the book at my local book store (here in Holland) and it arrived today =)

  35. So, when can I buy the paperback? It’s not that I’m a cheapskate (I am, but if that were my reason I’d go to the library), it’s just a preference for books that flex.

  36. Melusine

    I bought the only copy at Barnes & Noble last Saturday. So far I’ve only read the Sunburn chapter (I like the magnetic field explanations ) and Mark’s demise into a fried oblivion. Congratulations!

  37. Congratulations, Phil. I’ve now got my copy…but prior arrangements have pushed it down in my reading queue of doom. Woe!

    I am looking forward to it, though.

  38. Derek in Durango

    Congratulations, Phil.

    It’s on my Christmas list, hopefully my wife comes through!

  39. MarkH

    Haven’t started my copy yet, finnishing up BA, but am looking forward to reading it just based on the comments here.

    Oh and what’s this about “Mark’s demise into a fried oblivion”??? ūüėõ

  40. We are still swapping, right? The “Saucer Fleet” still has about five weeks.

    – Jack

  41. AlanM

    The book, she arrives
    (That’s “Death From the Skies”)
    About life on this Earth and about its demise

    If we end up cursed
    By a gamma ray burst
    And we’re turned into cripsy brown globs of bratwurst

    Or a meteorite
    That eluded our sight
    Slams into us and bids our final good night

    (I just thought of one more)
    Please do not ignore
    The effect of a mutating alien spore

    If a black hole just flys an’
    Its event horizon
    Passes through us and then we all get our demise on

    At least we will know
    Right before we we all go
    That we all saw it coming; Phil Plait told us so!

    (Takes bow)

  42. Phil, LOL. Thanks.

    According to Amazon my copy was shipped on the 14th. So that means it is somewhere between Sydney and the US. I hope the delivery person is swimming as fast as he can.

  43. FrankZA

    Congratulations BA family! I’m sure it will do well. I will first have to get my hands on the first book then get a metric version of this one (or are the British versions metric)?

    Outstanding work AlanM. *Standing Ovation*

  44. antaresrichard

    Hmm, what are the chances of a shipment of your books falling from the courier plane en route? Ooh, given the title, that’s a scenario I hadn’t consider.

  45. Eric TF Bat

    That’s a triangular prism of DEATH, in fact. Bloody astrologers, never get their basic geometry right…

    PS Yay!

  46. Lee Hadley

    My copy is on its way! Looking forward to reading this a lot.

  47. Sili

    That’s a prism, not a pyramid.

    Srsly, congrats!

  48. Larry Hotchkiss

    Just started on “Year Million” but hope to get to it fairly soon.
    Sounds as if they may be contradictory so should be verrrrrrrry interesting.

  49. Melusine

    Mark H. said:

    ‚ÄúMark‚Äôs demise into a fried oblivion‚ÄĚ???

    You have the privilege of seeing the beginnings of an asteroid impact with no spaceship to take you away to a Technicolor planetoid. Sucks, huh?

  50. Bud S.

    Great book, Phil. I preordered mine from Amazon weeks ago and received it early, so I’m nearly finished with my first reading. Before the next print-run (I hope there are many print runs.) Have the typo on page 149 fixed. It reads, “That meant it had to be a black hole; a 7-solar-mass star sould have been be easy to detect.”


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