Another review of Death!

By Phil Plait | January 18, 2009 4:00 pm

I just found another review of my book, and (yawn) it’s another overwhelmingly positive one. Doesn’t anyone hate my book? Can’t I convince some fringe lunatic group to burn it, or yell about it, or ask if anyone won’t please think of the children?

My next book will have to be about kicking puppies. That’s the only way to generate controversy.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!, Humor

Comments (48)

  1. Ani

    Nooooooooo! Not the puppies!

  2. I’m reading it now and I’ll have some strong critique for you, don’t you worry. There really isn’t enough death and doom for my liking. Pah! You can aim your GRB at me as much as you like, I’m not scared…


  3. chief

    Why not send a couple of boxes of books collect to some of the fringe wacko groups, ie flat earth society, some of the board of directors of the schools in alabama and texas who want to kill science teaching etc. I’m sure some of the feedback would be a hoot to the rest of us who look forward and up.

  4. Grand Lunar

    I suppose you could write a book entirely about the moon hoax.
    Then, you’ll have hate reviews (or at least, hate email) coming from the conspiracy theorist crowd.


    Phil Plait: “Doesn’t anyone hate my book? Can’t I convince some fringe lunatic group to burn it…?”

    Yes, if only Muslim fundamentalists would burn your book, Death From The Skies, in public, like they did with Salman Rushdie’s book, The Satanic Verses, the sales would rocket as a result of all the free advertising! 😉

  6. Well finished the book a while ago really liked it. Sorry that did not live up to what you wanted
    but I still need to find a place to store the book.

  7. Quiet Desperation

    Doesn’t anyone hate my book?

    What’s it worth to you?

    My hate can be readily purchased at reasonable rates.

    But I just started “The Black Hole War” by Leo Susskind, so it may have to wait.

  8. Well… If you pay me enough and send me a copy, I may be able to come up with a devastating review. Devastating. Like dinosaur-killing devastating.

    Or not.

    Who knows, I may actually like it. 😉

  9. Andy

    Ya know Phil, the only bad thing I can say about it, is that the whole idea of the universe ending is such a bleak outcome, that you’ll probably end up with an honorary qualification as a Christian missionary (if there is such a thing) with the number of people you encourage to find God as a result 😉

    But seriously. Great book. I did Physics at university and I avoided astronomy. It never interested me. Now… I’m seriously tempted to buy a telescope.

  10. Mena

    No kicking puppies, how about something simpler, like a forward by Ann Coulter? She should need the money by then.

  11. So, write a book about religious stuff… that’ll bring ’em running with the torches.

  12. Well, I intend to write a review, but it will be in Portuguese and you will never know if I’m saying positive or negative things about your book. 😛
    I’ve read it some days ago and… well, I really liked your book :)

  13. As it was hinted before, a book on religion would do the trick. But not just one of them, list them all, give the reasons why they are wrong and get personal. Attack specific points for each of them. That should get you more Hate then you can handle before the book goes into print.

    In the mean time, I’ll start kicking puppies in anticipation of your next book… 😉

    Be careful what you wish for. :-)

  14. Mike

    What can you say? It’s a great book! I’ve recommended it to everyone.
    Definitely looking forward to the puppy kicking book.

  15. You can always write a book about apocalyptic disasters that didn’t happen, like Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. A catchy title like “No Death From the Skies” and y0u’ll be all set.

  16. MadScientist

    It looks like everyone has read the book but me! I’ll look for it in the local book shops but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Despite the presence of a decent university I find it incredibly difficult to find any educational books in Canberra. On the rare occasion that I spot someone looking at a book that requires the use of a few brain cells I can’t resist the temptation to tell them “thinking is banned in this part of the world and I’m pretty sure that book requires some thinking”. Some people just laugh and stop to chat; others look at me like I’m some kind of weirdo and run away.

  17. TheWhitePhoenix

    What happened to eating kittens? Come up with a recipe book and watch the hate start rolling in.

  18. Kicking puppies? That’s not particularly subtle. A better idea would be co-writing your next book with PZ Myers. He’s pretty good at getting himself mired in controversial issues, like Crackergate and Expelled!

  19. Almighty, ex post (literally) facto doesn’t count.

  20. Romeo, in fact in an early idea I’d have a chapter on disasters that didn’t happen (Millerites, Planet X, etc). But the real stuff got too long, so we dropped it. Another book, perhaps. The Day The World Didn’t End.

  21. Bryan

    Seeking truth or controversy? or just traffic?

  22. ABR.

    I remember an essay by the late great Mike Royko in which he told the story of a librarian or irate person out there who contacted him to say that his latest book was going to be banned. His response? “What can I do to help?”

    Banned books sell well. I’m just sayin’.

  23. Gary Ansorge

    Just make your next book about the WOO-WOOs of the world and watch the hate,,,er,,,I mean money, roll in. Trash virgin births, pareidolia, anti-vaxers, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum,,,

    I still have Asimovs book on the bible and let me tell you, it should have ended up with a witch burning. He was SO honest,,,not so good in a world of flagelants and delusional woo-wooos.

    GAry 7

  24. Charles Boyer

    “The Day The World Didn’t End” by Dr. Phil Plait

    Phil, that’s actually a very good idea, and you should write it and schedule it for publication on 12/22/12. We’ll all be here, barring the unforeseen.

    Then again, a small book version of your Apollo Hoax Debunking stories might make for some entertaining reading, not to mention the permanence that the web still lacks, quite honestly. That’s how I found your old site originally. And it is still an excellent reference. Just wish it were up to date in 21st century web coding (hint hint)

  25. Nicola Mazbar

    “Kicking Puppies Into Orbit Around Distant Suns”?

    where do I pre-order?

  26. dz

    I didn’t like the cover. But I rather enjoyed the content!

  27. Jimmy

    I hate to disappoint you too, but I loved the book. The only criticism I can come up with is why the use of the English measurement system rather than the metric? Hell even the British are using metric these days. Us poor, provincial Americans are among the last to convert.

    In your role as a science educator I would have thought that you’d have seen put to edge us toward that goal in your own book. Or at least have put the measurements and distances in both formats. After all that would save time and money when having to do editions for the rest of the world.

  28. Gareth

    You want controversy?

    In the second edition of the book, just add this chapter:

    “Oh, by the way…

    God does not exist.”

    Then sit back and watch the hatred flood in.

  29. Lee

    I’m reading “Death from the Skies!” now and (sorry to say) thoroughly enjoying it. My only complaint… the chapter on Black Holes gave me a headache. So maybe the book could be banned on health grounds?

  30. Bein'Silly

    Death : A review

    Death is a painful experience, full of the agony of dying and the terror of knowing one is about to die. In your last moments you kick and scream and soil youself. Then comes that bright white light as you see your new corpse lying on the ground! 😉

    Then you awaken again as a vampire / ghoul with an insatiable appertite fro brains / blood .. 😉

    … and write this review.

    Death was pretty horrible I wouldn’t recommend it at all!

    Phil’s book OTOH was awesome! 8) 😉

  31. Bein'Silly

    If you *really* want negative reviews have you tried sending copies to the Creationists & Apollo Hoax consiracy theorists and Richard Hoagland and Sylvia Brown and the anti-vaxxers and so on .. 😉

    I’m pretty sure they’ll oblige you .. If that is *really* what you want! :-O

  32. Bein'Silly

    I would love a book containing the best of the blog as someone once suggested here .. You could add lotsa rteallycontroversial hornets -nest-stirring stuff in there.

    A best of the BA blog *&* Pharngyula with PZ Myers – Now *that* should have the fundies & Woo-lovers screaming and frothing at the mouth – and providing heaps of extra publicity! 😉

    Might be worth considering ..

  33. eddie

    Doc, I’ll just burn a copy in my Hibachi grill on the back deck, while slinging homophobic slurs toward you.

    You know, on my deck, right next to my freezer containing the Bigfoot costume and entrails.

    Happy MLK Day, everybody.

    Forty-six years later, maybe we’re starting to realize “The Dream.”

  34. Sapjes

    Haha, kicking puppies :’)

    I still haven’t read the book, although it has been laying beside my bed for quite some time. I prefer audiobooks, so maybe I should wait for that release (or it’s already there and I have to be bitchslapped)

  35. Todd W.


    First off, the world-didn’t-end book should be titled The Day the Earth Still Stood. Second, send Death to the Creationists, Moon Hoaxers and Flat Earthers, as well as the plasma cosmology/electric universe crowd. I’m sure someone among them will have some negative things to say.

  36. Sili

    Well, I hate the fact that the I got for my friend for Crimbo from JREF still hasn’t arrived. Good enough?

    But I’d buy a book about puppykicking for myself. I’ve never had much bodily coördination, so I’d savour the opportunity to enjoy the fun by proxy.

  37. holastefan

    Er, wait a minute — your book *doesn’t* contain chapters on puppy kicking?!? That’s a mandatory topic in any self-respecting astronomy book.

    I would assume it at least has an appendix regarding clubbing baby seals then, yes?

  38. Andy Beaton

    If it was 20 times bigger, it would balance my CRC handbook. But it doesn’t. CURSE YOU!!!

  39. Hoku

    I think you need to get it on Oprah.

  40. Instead of a book titled The Day the World Didn’t End, how about The Day the Earth Kept Moving?

  41. Hal's Dave

    Just got the book, havent open it yet though.

  42. BaS

    Here are some time-tested ideas for becoming more reviled:

  43. Ade

    I got it for Xmas, but haven’t gotten round to reading it yet (it’s next on the list), but I can say some nasty things about it if you like. I thing I’ll enjoy it though. It’s because of your first book I discovered and started reading your blog, and the intro to DFTS made me chuckle… I *always* feel like the universe is trying to kill me.

  44. Cindy

    Hmm, I’ll have to ask my husband. He had a few criticisms on the last book, but I don’t remember him making any this time.

    I read it and enjoyed it, but can’t remember if you used “mass” as verb in this book like the last one. If you did, well, Phil you know my opinion of that:

  45. Grand Lunar

    “But the real stuff got too long, so we dropped it. Another book, perhaps. The Day The World Didn’t End.”

    Yes! Do that!

    And as someone else stated, try for a date after December 21, 2012.

    And spare no words, Phil. Make sure the people that were so sure about the doomsday senerio feel as foolish as you can. >:)


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