XKCD Creator to Talk What If? Book at Harvard Book Store

Here's your chance to say hi to stick-figure drawer-explainer Randall Munroe.

“I can’t draw.”

That’s the phrase completely thrown out the window by XKCD.com creator Randall Munroe, who for nearly 10 years has been entertaining audiences both nerdy and not with hilarious web comics.

XKCD comics, for those who don’t know, fall somewhere between Freakonomics and Hyperbole and a Half, dissecting life in a practical, illustrious, and funny way.

Munroe’s main characters? Crude stick figures. His humor of choice? The geek variety. Math and science jokes are used to explain everyday topics such as love, work, pop culture, transit, and politics. Our favorite of late still remains the click-and-drag comic with an Elizabeth Warren easter egg.

Two years ago, Munroe launched a new blog on the site called “What If?“, which (nooo! really?) attempts to answer all kinds of hypotheticals and questions submitted by readers. Examples:

What if there was a robot apocalypse? How long would humanity last? [Answer]


If you went outside and lay down on your back with your mouth open, how long would you have to wait until a bird pooped in it? [Answer]


What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant? [Answer]

That last one, Munroe noted at the time, was one of the most popular questions submitted to the blog.

Munroe, a Massachusetts resident, was actually inspired to create the “What If?” blog was after taking a weekend program at MIT. And it was only a matter of time before he had enough material to ask the question, “What if I wrote a book?

Unlike previous XKCD books, which have been published under Creative Commons and DRM-free, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is being published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Update: The author event date has changed: What If? comes out September 2. Munroe will discuss the book at a Harvard Book Store event on September 2; visit harvard.com for more info.