StarTalk: Everything You Ever Need To Know About Space Travel, Sci-Fi, the Human Race, the Universe, and Beyond

National Geographic. Sept. 2016. 304p. illus. ISBN 9781426217272. $30. SCI
Compiled by National Geographic staff with input from the StarTalk radio show and podcast host and astrophysicist Tyson (Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries), this vibrant offering aims to "bottle the show's spirit and character." The text's graphics-rich layout and straightforward explanations of terrestrial and astronomical puzzles and wonders, interspersed with recipes for Tyson's space-influenced drink mixes and snarky text box asides from comics (who regularly appear on the show), achieve the stated goal. One highlight of the scientifically accurate and readable narrative is the minibiographies of scientists scattered throughout. The trope of Tyson as "astro-x-ist" (e.g., "astro-steam-icist") gets a bit tiring by the end of the book, as do some of the comedians' sophomoric jokes, though, in truth the humorous approach does make the title accessible to a broader range of readers.
VERDICT The witticisms, pictures, and graphics in this entertaining addition should entice readers interested in science from junior high on up. The glossy and colorful format will appeal to holiday gift givers and will promote scientific literacy in the recipients.
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