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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Has Already Become a Best-Seller 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-before-it-was-big dept.
destinyland writes "Wednesday the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD announced that he'd publish a new book answering hypothetical science questions in September. And within 24 hours, his as-yet-unpublished work had become Amazon's #2 best-selling book. 'Ironically, this book is titled What If?,' jokes one blogger, noting it resembles an XKCD comic where 'In our yet-to-happen future, this book decides to travel backwards through time, stopping off in March of 2014 to inform Amazon's best-seller list that yes, in our coming timeline this book will be widely read...' Randall Munroe's new book will be collecting his favorite 'What If...' questions, but will also contain his never-before published answers to some questions that he'd found 'particularly neat.'"
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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Has Already Become a Best-Seller

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  • More questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StripedCow (776465) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:17AM (#46481419)

    I wished he scientifically answered the following hypothetical questions:

    1. What if patents were abolished.
    2. What if copyright were abolished.
    3. What if programmers ran Congress.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:24AM (#46481477)

    I would love to hear how that was supposed to work. Were human beings programmed to irrationally love things created by people called Randall Munroe, or are you arguing that he owns some sort of mind-control ray?

  • Re:Don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:25AM (#46481489) Journal
    You're right: you don't get it. But don't worry about it.

    Is XKCD overhyped and overrated? Sure it is... like pretty much everything else with a certain level of popularity in the geek crowd. Even so, I often find XKCD funny, sometimes thought-provoking or profound, and generally interesting. And it's often applicable to everyday situations (hence the many "oblig XKCD" references here on /. )
  • Re:Don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dogtanian (588974) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:33AM (#46481535) Homepage
    Whether you find it funny or not, XKCD at least has creativity and intelligence, and it's unfair to compare it with the awful "User Friendly". AFAICT, that only got where it was by targeting and pandering to the geek audience and being an online webcomic in the mid-to-late-90s when the former was still rare and the latter still somewhat novel.

    The fact that it was badly-drawn (*) and not actually that clever in itself- so much as giving its oft-maligned (**) target audience an excuse to feel superior to others- didn't seem to matter.

    As I once commented elsewhere []:-

    Compare that to User Friendly. Aside from its "moderately-promising 14-year-old still showing too much influence from the Teach-Yourself-Cartooning book" drawing style, User Friendly has always relied on its geek-friendly subject matter and viewpoints to flatter the audience and obscure the fact that it's neither creative nor funny.

    Here's a good example:- []

    There's nothing creative about this. The "news" was a real-life item reported in many tech outlets about a year back. The strip itself is just a lazy excuse to let the audience laugh again at that story- it adds nothing to it except an audience-pandering but uncreative aside.

    xkcd has a long way to go before it gets *that* lazy.

    (*) XKCD isn't exactly detailed in the artwork stakes either, but that comes across as an intentional style, whereas User Friendly just looks like a wannabe of better-looking cartoons.
    (**) This is before it was (allegedly) cool to be a geek.

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