Death by Black Hole Review
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Unabridged Audio Book: 10 CDs (12 hours)
Read by Dion Graham

The mechanics of science rarely invade the media of mass culture, and the reason is obvious. Ignorant of little more than sound bites and so-called “reality” shows, the typical American consumer is not only near-sighted but also insular. While he may own a cell phone, a WiFi accessible computer, a plasma TV, and an iPod, he doesn’t really understand how they work—nor does he care. To interest such a person, one must be both entertaining and provocative, which is just what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is in Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandries, a collection of carefully arranged essays, originally written for Natural History magazine.

The audio version of the book, read by actor Dion Graham, is a patient, simplified cosmic guide that puts into perspective what is knowable about the biggest questions of all: where do we come from, are we alone in the universe, and how does religion fit in. While it can’t answer these questions, it does reveal their depth, dispelling widely-held myths. And the title refers to what may be the most bizarre way to die, (and one that CSI will never be able to investigate).

Seen on the PBS program Nova and possessing innate communications skills himself, Tyson could have narrated this audio book version, had he had the time. But what exactly is time—or gravity? And why can’t he—or anyone—move faster than the speed of light? Tyson patiently explains, wielding the voice of an equally entertaining professional reader, who seems to have grasped the essence of Tyson’s persona. In the process, the listener begins to imagine the Earth as a grain of sand on the cosmic beach. So much for thinking that celebrity awards shows are all that important!

True to ironic form, the audio production of Death by Black Hole is also available in MP3 format for direct download to the now astronomical number of iPods out there.

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