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XKCD has a new book about explaining complicated subjects in simple ways

XKCD author Randall Munroe is coming out with a new book this year that explains complicated subjects in extremely simple and funny ways. Descriptively titled Thing Explainer, the book uses only the 1,000 most common English words to explain the workings and purposes of things like microwaves, data centers, cells, tectonic plates, and NASA’s Curiosity rover (seen below). The book grew out of Munroe's 2012 comic "Up Goer Five," which used these rules and a simple diagram to break down the Saturn V rocket. Thing Explainer appears to keep the same style, albeit with a bit more detail and some of Munroe's stick figures thrown in.

Munroe has been drawing comics for close to a decade now, but he's only recently started branching out. In 2012, he began an illustrated explainer series called What If? that answers ridiculous scientific questions with surprisingly thoughtful answers (most recently, "Which has a greater gravitational pull on me: the Sun, or spiders?"). Munroe turned that series into a book last year. As with What If? and the XKCD comics in general, Munroe's scientific background — he was once a roboticist at NASA — continues to play a big role in allowing him to take complicated subjects and turn them into a funny and understandable format. That's clearly the case with Thing Explainer as well.

It looks like the book will include around 60 diagrams in all. It'll be released this year on November 24th, and it's already available to preorder in a number of countries.


Courtesy of Randall Munroe / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.