Dramatic reading OF DEATH

By Phil Plait | September 16, 2009 12:08 pm

On the last day of Dragon*Con — thus guaranteeing me to be tired, brain dead, unfocused, and generally zonked — I gave a dramatic reading from the first chapter of my book Death From the Skies!, which just came out in paperback and so I shilled it without mercy.

Unbeknownst to me, I was being taped. Normally I would object, but since they didn’t catch me scratching anywhere inappropriately, picking my nose, or cursing continuously, I’ll let you take a look.

Not bad considering what I had been out very late doing the night before. No, I won’t give details, but let’s say that an asteroid impact would’ve felt like a rally. This picture was taken during the jocularity if that gives you any clue.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!

Comments (30)

  1. DrFlimmer

    Well read, Phil! Quite dramatically, indeed! If I wouldn’t have read that specific unknown book already, I would read it now!

    Btw: What does your wife know about that picture? ūüėÄ

  2. Mchl

    OMG! what book is that? Is it Dan Brown’s new novel???

    Seriously, I gotta find a way to bring DEATH home. Where in EU I can get it?

  3. The part about ‘scouring the Texas coast’ sounds interesting…


  4. Paineroo

    LOL at the mistake at the end when you said “the asteriods had a very bad day” instead of the “the dinosaurs had a very bad day”.

    Technically that WAS a pretty bad day for the poor asteroid as well!

  5. Personal SinR

    more! more! I must have this book now. Phil, why couldn’t you have done this earlier? I’d have bought the book by now.

  6. Brandon

    Hi, I’m the guy that filmed that. I didn’t even think to ask your permission to post it, my bad. But since you don’t object, thanks.

    I posted it because it gives a nice preview to the book, I hope it gets the word out more :)

  7. I’m more interested in what happened the night/early morning before…. :)

  8. So, when do we get to see this as a documentary? I’m assuming it’ll be narrated by Morgan Freeman, of course.

  9. kingnor

    vote #1 for an audio book.

  10. bharat211

    @ kingnor: I second!

    I would love to hear the Titanic and the Area 51 story. BTW have you seen Neil de Grasse Tyson’s account of the Apophis asteroid for 2029: http://fora.tv/2007/02/09/Death_By_Black_Hole#Neil_deGrasse_Tyson_Attack_of_the_Killer_Asteroid_Apophis

  11. Sespetoxri

    Special Phil Torture. Make him imitate eraser-y noises for hours on end with no access to water. And nice one-hand cap removal/table toss- good thing you didn’t blow it as you KNOW we’d point it out. :)

  12. MarkW

    Further to Todd W at #3: You read a book :)

    Awesome. I love the Titanic idea lol.

  13. FC

    Phil, have you ever read a short story called “Merlin’s Gun” by Alastair McReynolds? I’d like to know how realistic that Doomsday scenario really is in its scope (Won’t specify to avoid spoilers, but you’ll get the point as soon as you reach the end).

  14. llewelly


    The asteroids had a very bad day …

    How TYPICAL of an astronomer, to mourn for a hunk of rock, just because it came from space, and shed not a tear for the billions of dinosaurs and other Cretaceous creatures that died on that day.

  15. Brett G

    heh, actually, the reading was on Sunday, which is the next to last day, not the last day :) You did the book signing on the last day.

    But close enough. :)

  16. IBY

    Hhmmm… So what is that below UFOs in Area 51? Also, I would like to hear about the short stories on how future travelers hunted dinasaurs down and sank the Titanic. Hey, there should be a “future time traveler causing disasters” collection of short stories! ^_^

  17. Egaeus

    Okay Phil, a question about your reading.

    You have mentioned several times that the popular ideas of small meteors being hot rocks when they hit is a misconception, and that they typically slow to terminal velocity by the time they impact, and are relatively cool.

    Why is it that the ejecta from the Chicxulub impact , at suborbital velocities, would not also have slowed and cooled by the time it landed?

  18. Richie

    Phil, please thank Brandon.

    Because of this video, I’m now buying the book online.

    Ok, yes I admit that I was planning to look it up anyway…. but this just catapulted the book from “look into getting when it arrives in NZ “to “BUY NOW!”

    and I’m definitely interested in a Titanic and A51 Shorties. I recall a small Shortie a while ago in a similar vein – The mystery of the Marie Celeste was caused by rookie time travellers going back and kidnapping them to ask them what happened…

  19. Nice read Phil, you should consider doing ‘Death’ as a audio or maybe podiobook, would be really good. The complicated part would be pages with pictures in them, but it’s really good hearing you reading the chapter, especially the introduction “case” at the beginning of the chapter.

  20. Jeeves

    I looked at the picture and thought: “Hey look, a bad-ass and a bad ass-tronomer!”

    I’ll get my coat. Sorry.

    Nice reading BTW. But what are these Farren Heights you speak of?

  21. BTW the “Dinosaurs hunted to death” idea was done in the British comic “2000AD”… back in 1977. The strip was called “Flesh”. See my name for wikilink.

  22. You should ALWAYS assume that there is always someone recording everything at Dragon*Con! :)

  23. Joe Meils

    Phil got “wenched!”

  24. holastefan

    Agreed with the other posters here, that was really interesting, thanks for posting. After that plot cliffhanger, I think I’ll have to get the book — now I gotta know if the asteroids are joined by more villains later in the story…

  25. ¬ęb√łnez_brigade¬Ľ

    Enjoy that, I did.

  26. I’m with Johny Ho, Phil. A podiobook sounds like a great idea. I know a guy… ūüėČ

  27. ctcoker

    Phil, it’s KT for Kreide-Tertiaer. Kreide is the German name for the Cretaceous (it was so named because of the vast chalk deposits formed during that period in Western Europe; Kreide also means “chalk” in German). Tertiaer is obviously German for “Tertiary”.


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