Neil is without doubt one of the greatest scientific communicators alive. He is erudite and hilarious with no apparent effort and can always bring the ‘wow’.
I enjoy his podcast and have probably watched near all videos on youtube that feature him. This is the first time that I have tried his written work and I am very pleased with the results.
This work is a collection of editorial pieces that Neil writes for a periodical. They are intended to be short, punchy scientific stories and not form an ongoing dialogue.
In this respect Neil did a brilliant job. I dipped in and out of this book over the last couple of weeks and it was simple to pick up again after each break. I read it while doing experiments in the lab, and I read it while on the toilet.
What let the collection down (just the tiniest smidgen) was that some material was covered twice. Fine for an ongoing column and understandable for a collection, but still, a little work could have been taken to cull and back reference sections.
Don’t get me wrong, I adored this book. And anyone who has not discovered love for Neil needs to read it immediately. You’ll definitely connect with him if you are sceptical, scientific or just a spotter of bullshit.
This book left me wanting more. I want some long form stories, woven into a larger narrative. I have ‘The Pluto Files’ on my shelf. Maybe it won’t be long before I open it.