Levin takes us on an evocative exploration of black holes, provoking us to imagine the visceral experience of a black hole encounter. She reveals the influence of black holes as they populate the universe, sculpt galaxies, and even infuse the whole expanse of reality that we inhabit.
... you have a black hole, a region of the universe that those outside it can never see into — unless we decide to cross that event horizon and take a look. Levin’s book is dressed up as a 'survival guide' to doing just that. It’s a conceit that doesn’t have a lot of mileage because, as she is forced to admit fairly early on, black holes aren’t survivable. It hardly matters: so much about them demands we suspend disbelief that the fact you are being simultaneously shredded and pulverised by gravity during the ride is justa detail ... Just like its subject this book is a seemingly miraculous compression of a vast amount of material into an implausibly small space. It’s packed with revelations. As you approach the event horizon, for instance,you’ll reach a point where spacetime is so distorted that light orbits the hole — with the entertaining result that you could look straight ahead and see your own back ... this mind-bending little book is still, unavoidably, a difficult read at times. It’s a hugely enjoyable one, though. At the end of it you will know a lot about black holes, but you won’t understand them. At least you will have the comfort of knowing that nobody else does either.
... illustrated by painter and photographer Lia Halloran, [this] is an exuberant, flashcard-size book of 13 chapters with, naturally, a black cover that draws you in, as it depicts an astronaut similarly attracted toward a mirror-like sphere, perhaps exploring it. Levin takes us on a virtual adventure to black holes, a safe trip that we can actually survive as long as we stay far enough away. Her writing is clear and so colloquial that it sometimes seems as though she’s right there chatting with you, telling a story in a conversation so compelling that you hardly notice the complexity of the actual physics. That’s her trick of talking about science to a lay audience ... Not only is Levin a brilliant physicist, she’s a gifted writer, sensitive to language and its nuances ... From her new book’s first chapter 'Entrance' to its final one 'Exit,' Levin’s writing is heightened by an often poetic voice ... this is a science book for poets.
Black holes are in need of something of a makeover, argues astrophysicist Janna Levin in her new book, Black Hole Survival Guide , which revisits how we think about black holes ... One issue, she said, is the perception that black holes mercilessly suck in any matter in its gravitational grasp ... This slender volume will get the reader quickly up to speed when it comes to black holes, without equations or torrents of jargon.