The End of Everything by Katie Mack
My rating: (4 / 5)
We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it went from a state of unimaginable density to an all-encompassing cosmic fireball to a simmering fluid of matter and energy, laying down the seeds for everything from dark matter to black holes to one rocky planet orbiting a star near the edge of a spiral galaxy that happened to develop life. But what happens at the end of the story? In billions of years, humanity could still exist in some unrecognizable form, venturing out to distant space, finding new homes and building new civilizations. But the death of the universe is final. What might such a cataclysm look like? And what does it mean for us?
[I received a copy through NetGalley and Pigeonhole, in exchange for an honest review.]
A fascinating read, if a little too short to my liking—call me morbid but I wanted to see even more various possible deaths of the universe.
In fact, I’m especially fascinated with the vacuum decay theory (incidentally, I had read an article about it by Katie Mack some time ago, and that was what prompted me to request the book in turn). I can’t tell why this one calls to me more than the others—perhaps because, if it does come to pass, we at least know none of us will ever be aware of it, we just won’t have the time to see it coming. Perhaps because it does make a lot of sense. Perhaps because I have something with oblivion in general, or because of the author’s sense of humour that permeates her writing.
I learnt a lot here about other theories as well, which were explained in a way that made them quite easy to understand (some of them I had previously brushed on, but now I feel like I hadn’t fully understood them at the time). What will come to pass, in the end? The Heat Death? The Big Crunch? Will something, anything, get out of it, or will whatever happen put an end to everything, if we are indeed in a false vacuum now? It is scary and fascinating and mind-boggling all together, and it prompts so many thoughts. I found it more exciting than depressing, which is telling, considering when I read it (2020, I’m glaring at you, really).
Conclusion: 4 solid stars.
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