The Coffee Table Book of Doom by Steven Appleby & Art Lester. Plume, $20.00, 200pp, hc, 9780452298668. Comedy.
Y2K didn’t get us. The Mayan end-of-time apparently wasn’t. So what do you have to worry about?
More than you know.
Steven Appleby and Art Lester’s The Coffee Table Book of Doom is an amusing discussion of just what there is left to worry about. How will it all end? And when?
The comic illustrations are wonderful; the text is a little more serious than one might expect. Then again, when the topic is “all the incredible and believable ways the world might end… sooner than you think,” there’s probably not a lot of humor to be had.
The book is broken up into manageable subsets of doom scenarios—Cosmic, Eco, Medical, Geophysical, Climate Change, Technological, Social/Political, Religious, Philosophical, and Personal—along with suggestions for how to live with impending doom. And a cute little feature of the book is the page numbering, counting down to doom, rather than up and up as most books do.
If you think you’ve been too happy and upbeat, this is the book you need to bring you back to Earth (and perhaps under it). If you’ve had a general feeling of malaise, but no specific reason for it, this book will give you some reasons. It might be gray goo, invading aliens, human pollution, or something else. But remember, even if we avoid all of the man-made and man-feared potential endings for our species, we’ve only got about 5 billion years left (when the Sun blows up and destroys the planet). So get reading!