... a pleasure. Mack’s style is personal and often funny as she guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery ... This might seem like the wrong time for a book peering billions of years into the future to examine the ultimate doom and destruction. We have doom and destruction of our own to worry about, arriving faster and faster. These days many people wake up wondering if we’ll make it past November. Plague is rampant. The Arctic Circle is on fire. Still, I found it helpful — not reassuring, certainly, but mind-expanding — to be reminded of our place in a vast cosmos.
... [a] thrilling tour of potential cosmic doomsdays ... Beyond her deep expertise, Ms. Mack’s infectious enthusiasm for communicating the finer points of cosmological doom elevates The End of Everything over any other book on the topic I have read. Merely exploring the various forms of astrophysical apocalypse with witty, conversational prose is not enough. She ensures the reader understands them too, deploying brilliant analogies to explain mind-blowing astrophysical exotica. Most importantly, Ms. Mack is unafraid to grapple with what the end of all things, in its various possible forms, might mean for us here and now, and those wistful uncertainties powerfully resonate throughout the book.
... far from being depressing, Mack’s account mixes a sense of reverence for the wonders of physics with an irreverent sense of humor and a disarming dose of candor ... Already known for her engaging Twitter personality, public lectures and popular science writing, Mack has well-honed scientific communication chops. Her evocative writing about some of the most violent processes in the universe, mixed with her obvious glee at the unfathomable grandness of it all, should both satisfy longtime physics fans and inspire younger generations of physicists ... Reading Mack’s prose feels like learning physics from a brilliant, quirky friend. The book is sprinkled with plenty of informal quips ... Readers will find themselves good-naturedly rolling their eyes at some of the goofy footnotes and nerdy pop-culture references. At the same time, the book delves deep into gritty physics details, thoroughly explaining important concepts like the cosmic microwave background — the oldest light in the universe — and tackling esoteric topics in theoretical physics. Throughout, Mack does an excellent job of recognizing where points of confusion might trip up a reader and offers clarity instead ... Mack continues a long-standing tradition of playfulness among physicists. That’s how we got stuck with somewhat cheesy names for certain fundamental particles, such as 'charm' and 'strange' quarks, for example. But she also brings an emotional openness that is uncommon among scientists. Sometimes this is conveyed by declarations in all caps about how amazing the universe is. But other times, it comes when Mack makes herself vulnerable by leveling with the reader about how unnerving this topic is ... Yes, this is a dark subject. Yes, the universe will end, and everything that has ever happened, from the tiniest of human kindnesses to the grandest of cosmic explosions, will one day be erased from the record. Mack struggles with what the inevitable demise of everything means for humankind. By contemplating the end times, we can refine our understanding of the universe, but we can’t change its fate.