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What is going to cause our extinction? How can we save ourselves and our future? End Times answers the most important questions facing humankind End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable-and inevitable-end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nucl What is going to cause our extinction? How can we save ourselves and our future? End Times answers the most important questions facing humankind End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable-and inevitable-end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, 15-year veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race. In End Times, Walsh examines threats that emerge from nature and those of our own making: asteroids, supervolcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, disease pandemics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial intelligence. Walsh details the true probability of these world-ending catastrophes, the impact on our lives were they to happen, and the best strategies for saving ourselves, all pulled from his rigorous and deeply thoughtful reporting and research. Walsh goes into the room with the men and women whose job it is to imagine the unimaginable. He includes interviews with those on the front lines of prevention, actively working to head off existential threats in biotechnology labs and government hubs. Guided by Walsh's evocative, page-turning prose, we follow scientific stars like the asteroid hunters at NASA and the disease detectives on the trail of the next killer virus. Walsh explores the danger of apocalypse in all forms. In the end, it will be the depth of our knowledge, the height of our imagination, and our sheer will to survive that will decide the future.


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What is going to cause our extinction? How can we save ourselves and our future? End Times answers the most important questions facing humankind End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable-and inevitable-end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nucl What is going to cause our extinction? How can we save ourselves and our future? End Times answers the most important questions facing humankind End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable-and inevitable-end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, 15-year veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race. In End Times, Walsh examines threats that emerge from nature and those of our own making: asteroids, supervolcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, disease pandemics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial intelligence. Walsh details the true probability of these world-ending catastrophes, the impact on our lives were they to happen, and the best strategies for saving ourselves, all pulled from his rigorous and deeply thoughtful reporting and research. Walsh goes into the room with the men and women whose job it is to imagine the unimaginable. He includes interviews with those on the front lines of prevention, actively working to head off existential threats in biotechnology labs and government hubs. Guided by Walsh's evocative, page-turning prose, we follow scientific stars like the asteroid hunters at NASA and the disease detectives on the trail of the next killer virus. Walsh explores the danger of apocalypse in all forms. In the end, it will be the depth of our knowledge, the height of our imagination, and our sheer will to survive that will decide the future.

30 review for End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World: Asteroids, Super Volcanoes, Rogue Robots, and More

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Many thanks to Hachette Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review The basic message of this book is: We're all gonna die... we just don't know how quite yet. This book was entertaining and fascinating! Highly recommended for those who enjoy science or want to learn about all the ways the world might end. | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram Many thanks to Hachette Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review The basic message of this book is: We're all gonna die... we just don't know how quite yet. This book was entertaining and fascinating! Highly recommended for those who enjoy science or want to learn about all the ways the world might end. | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  2. 4 out of 5

    Grumpus

    The grumpus23 (23-word commentary) The demise of humanity. Asteroid? Volcano? Nuclear? Climate change? Disease? Biotechnology? Artificial Intelligence? Aliens? Excessive political editorializing not appreciated. Just the facts, please.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lissa00

    So a strange thing happened while reading this book.  While reading a chapter about the possibility and consequences of an asteroid striking the Earth, I happened upon a news story about an asteroid coming within such a near distance to the planet that it surprised scientists.  Suffice to say, that definitely brought home the timeliness of the book.  I will say that I have read about this before (but I am a glutton for apocalyptic scenarios) but this was well written and many chapters, especiall So a strange thing happened while reading this book.  While reading a chapter about the possibility and consequences of an asteroid striking the Earth, I happened upon a news story about an asteroid coming within such a near distance to the planet that it surprised scientists.  Suffice to say, that definitely brought home the timeliness of the book.  I will say that I have read about this before (but I am a glutton for apocalyptic scenarios) but this was well written and many chapters, especially the one about aliens, were extremely enlightening.  I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Interesting look at possible apocalypses I enjoyed this book. Despite the subject matter, Bryan Walsh manages to incorporate appropriate humor. Walsh also puts himself into the story, which I generally like. It creates a closer relationship between me and the author. When I started the book, I found the preface was grim and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read the book but the tone of the book was actually lighter than the preface, considering the subject. It wasn’t all doom and gloom as Walsh di Interesting look at possible apocalypses I enjoyed this book. Despite the subject matter, Bryan Walsh manages to incorporate appropriate humor. Walsh also puts himself into the story, which I generally like. It creates a closer relationship between me and the author. When I started the book, I found the preface was grim and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read the book but the tone of the book was actually lighter than the preface, considering the subject. It wasn’t all doom and gloom as Walsh discusses what we as a society can do to try to mitigate the end times. I also found no obvious biases in the book. I am happy that I didn’t let the preface discourage me and that I read the book. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    It is one of the fundamental shortcomings and arrogance of the human psyche to always imagine that your own generation is the one likely to see the end times. Never mind the fact that everyone who has ever existed that thought this way was incorrect, we nevertheless see such nihilistic glee both from religious fundamentalists certain they will be raptured (despite the fact that the leading proponent of this idiotic theory decided to skip the rapture in favor of a heart attack at his desk) and th It is one of the fundamental shortcomings and arrogance of the human psyche to always imagine that your own generation is the one likely to see the end times. Never mind the fact that everyone who has ever existed that thought this way was incorrect, we nevertheless see such nihilistic glee both from religious fundamentalists certain they will be raptured (despite the fact that the leading proponent of this idiotic theory decided to skip the rapture in favor of a heart attack at his desk) and the fringe elements of social-media addicts who read an article about supervolcanos and now imagine themselves fully-qualified volcanologists ready to spout their clickbait-born expertise to their "friends." Thus, this somewhat nihilistically-titled work from Bryan Walsh was actually quite an enjoyable read. He plainly tackles the largest issues, both man-made and purely naturalistic, that currently threaten human survival. This includes: asteroids, volcanos, nuclear war, climate change, disease, biotechnology, AI, and extraterrestrial life. While I won't say that he adequately summarizes the probability inherent to each of these issues, he does and excellent job framing them and using the appropriate language to discuss the inherent urgency of most of them (i.e., aliens are not quite the existential threat that climate change or biologically engineered weapons are). Though this is not a cheery subject by any means, it is one that frequently only crops up in extremist tripe on the internet, and as such this extended work that discusses each of these in depth and with the appropriate level of fact and gravitas (and sardonic humor), is a welcome change to the discussion of these issues.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    After getting through the year that was 2020, I figured I'd take another ride on the gloom and doom train. Though COVID-19 being scary in its own right, the book explores those scenarios that could all but end life on Earth. End Times is a fascinating read. Bryan Walsh being a former Times journalist stays away from heady science-speak and brings more of a generalized view on the subject matter. Each chapter is constructed in similar fashion : some historical background on the scenario, some sci After getting through the year that was 2020, I figured I'd take another ride on the gloom and doom train. Though COVID-19 being scary in its own right, the book explores those scenarios that could all but end life on Earth. End Times is a fascinating read. Bryan Walsh being a former Times journalist stays away from heady science-speak and brings more of a generalized view on the subject matter. Each chapter is constructed in similar fashion : some historical background on the scenario, some science to account for their existence and threat level, how citizens of Earth (governments for the most part) are dealing with the the threats (hint : not much) and what it would mean to us and the planet should these events materialize. Summation of the threats and my rating for each : 1. "Waiting For a Star to Fall" - Boy Meets Girl, 1988 (Asteroid) "Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's..." 4/5 2. "Eruption" - Eddie Van Halen, 1978 (Volcano) One word: Yellowstone 3.5/5 3. "Distant Early Warning" - Rush, 1984 (Nuclear) 1962, 1979, 1980, 1983 and 2018: How close we came. Saviors of the world: Vasili Arkhipov, Stanislav Petrov & John F. Kennedy 5/5 4. "Here Comes the Flood" - Peter Gabriel, 1977 (Climate Change) Humans are the asteroid. 3/5 5. "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" - Van Halen, 1979 (Disease) Written in 2019 before the COVID outbreak, Walsh is eerily prescient on how Trump would poorly deal with a possible deadly viral strain. 3.5/5 6. "The Chemicals Between Us" - Bush, 1999 (Biotechnology) A formula for chaos. 3.5/5 7. "Mr. Roboto" - Styx, 1983 (Artificial Intelligence) Mickey Mouse and the broom. 4/5 8. "Contact" - Platinum Blonde, 1987 (Aliens) The Great Invasion or the Great Silence? 5/5 9. "I'm Still Standing" - Elton John, 1983 (Survival) The things we can control and the things we can't. 4/5 Should any of the scenarios in this book ever take place, it will give credence to arguably R.E.M's most popular song, "It's the End of the World as We Know It".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. What is going to cause our extinction? How can we save ourselves and our future? End Times answers the most important questions facing humankind End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. What is going to cause our extinction? How can we save ourselves and our future? End Times answers the most important questions facing humankind End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable--and inevitable--end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, 15-year veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race. In End Times, Walsh examines threats that emerge from nature and those of our own making: asteroids, supervolcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, disease pandemics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial intelligence. Walsh details the true probability of these world-ending catastrophes, the impact on our lives were they to happen, and the best strategies for saving ourselves, all pulled from his rigorous and deeply thoughtful reporting and research. Walsh goes into the room with the men and women whose job it is to imagine the unimaginable. He includes interviews with those on the front lines of prevention, actively working to head off existential threats in biotechnology labs and government hubs. Guided by Walsh's evocative, page-turning prose, we follow scientific stars like the asteroid hunters at NASA and the disease detectives on the trail of the next killer virus. Walsh explores the danger of apocalypse in all forms. In the end, it will be the depth of our knowledge, the height of our imagination, and our sheer will to survive that will decide the future. This is a very informative and scary as all heck book to read - truth be told, we have to accept that the end of the world is inevitable. Maybe not in our lifetime but it will end. We cannot explain the universe ... how does something expand every year into space that does not exist? How can we be billions and billions of light-years away from other stars and planets? How can we find other life out there when we don't have the technology to get even a few light-years aways in less than, say, more generations than we can account on a ship that we cannot build? This book prepares us for life as we can understand it in clear and concise yet still entertaining terms It makes sense but it is not dry or dusty--- it is a well-written and thought out treatise on what is coming even if we don't want to think it will happen to us or our descendants. Read this book --- it is amazing, in my opinion, and if you are the curious type, you will find it fascinating. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🚀🌌🛸🛰🌠

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brent Alley

    I read this mainly because I won in the giveaway. I've mainly been reading fantasy so this was a break in between the wheel of time series and it was a good break. It was really interesting. The author clearly put in a lot of work and research to put together a list of the most likely ways for the human population to go extinct. Kind of morbid but not really as he's also researched and put together ways to stop the various threats. A couple of them I don't think are quite as big a extinction thr I read this mainly because I won in the giveaway. I've mainly been reading fantasy so this was a break in between the wheel of time series and it was a good break. It was really interesting. The author clearly put in a lot of work and research to put together a list of the most likely ways for the human population to go extinct. Kind of morbid but not really as he's also researched and put together ways to stop the various threats. A couple of them I don't think are quite as big a extinction threat as he does but for the most part I agreed with what he said and now I have his research to validate my thoughts. In general I like that he inserts his opinions otherwise it would have been a dull read but I didn't really like the Trump bashing. I'm not a Trump fan anyways but it was kinda ridiculous to me to act like Trump's going to end the world, he isn't. Trump does have the ability basically as he has the ability to launch US nukes but it wouldn't benefit him. Trump only does things if they benefit him. There's no motivation for it. It would never happen. Anyways that's really my only complaint. Oh and this author wrote this because he just had a baby and I'm about a month from having one so we're in a similar boat. I want the world to survive and thrive just like he does and I see many ways we can make things better and I think humans are resilient. We got lucky to make it this far but now we have the intelligence and technology to slow or stop most of these threats and I think we'll be around for a long time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World by Bryan Walsh (a former Time magazine editor and foreign correspondent) is nothing short of brilliant! In this thoroughly engrossing and compelling read, Walsh explores the various existential scenarios that might cause the end of humankind. He shares his detailed research into each of the possibilities, gives us important background and probability information along with what has/is being/could be done to mitigate the risk. Though this is complex End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World by Bryan Walsh (a former Time magazine editor and foreign correspondent) is nothing short of brilliant! In this thoroughly engrossing and compelling read, Walsh explores the various existential scenarios that might cause the end of humankind. He shares his detailed research into each of the possibilities, gives us important background and probability information along with what has/is being/could be done to mitigate the risk. Though this is complex information, Walsh does an excellant job in presenting it in a very understandable way. He repeatedly warns, as do many of the scientists that he references, that the biggest obstacle to preparing for these dangers is that people tend to bury their heads in the sand. Research shows that if people feel that the apocalypse will not occur within their lifetime, or the lifetimes of their children/grandchildren, they are content not to give priority to or taking preventative measures that should be already underway. We must take a longer-range view if we are to save ourselves and our planet. This is a very eye-opening book, and a real page-turner. I highly recommend to every person on the planet who can read! Many thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Books who let me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    WOW. If I wasn't worried BEFORE... Seriously - if you are a worrier, this may not be the book for you. I tend to not be one - and even I'm freaking out a bit right now... Walsh has done a marvelous job encapsulating the top existential threats facing humanity - many of which are of our own making - and providing background, thoughtful commentary, and suggestions for mitigating the potential for worldwide disaster. Walsh has an engaging writing style that pulls you into the drama of the horrors h WOW. If I wasn't worried BEFORE... Seriously - if you are a worrier, this may not be the book for you. I tend to not be one - and even I'm freaking out a bit right now... Walsh has done a marvelous job encapsulating the top existential threats facing humanity - many of which are of our own making - and providing background, thoughtful commentary, and suggestions for mitigating the potential for worldwide disaster. Walsh has an engaging writing style that pulls you into the drama of the horrors he describes. He pairs facts with anecdotes and personal stories about the men and women involved in the crises at hand. It makes for a very compelling read. The book is very well written, thoroughly engaging (and horrifying), and entirely timely. My review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    End Times was my first glimpse into a book outside of my comfort zone. I've never read beyond fiction, but this was just so interesting. It's no unknown fact that the world is bound to come to an end soon with the way humanity is continuing to live, but the book gives a glimpse of the way it could end, and the way we could probably try to save it too.The author does a stellar job of merging research and "what-ifs" together. Each chapter leads into the next, and it gets more and more interesting End Times was my first glimpse into a book outside of my comfort zone. I've never read beyond fiction, but this was just so interesting. It's no unknown fact that the world is bound to come to an end soon with the way humanity is continuing to live, but the book gives a glimpse of the way it could end, and the way we could probably try to save it too.The author does a stellar job of merging research and "what-ifs" together. Each chapter leads into the next, and it gets more and more interesting further into the book. Highly recommend!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    You'd think a book about the many ways the world could end would be depressing, but this isn't. It's highly readable and informative and there's even well-placed humour! From an alien invasion to asteroids to a climate catastrophe, this book covers a breadth of potential disasters. I found it oddly comforting because it isn't just all doom and gloom but is also about how we as humans can mitigate these potential disasters. Well done! You'd think a book about the many ways the world could end would be depressing, but this isn't. It's highly readable and informative and there's even well-placed humour! From an alien invasion to asteroids to a climate catastrophe, this book covers a breadth of potential disasters. I found it oddly comforting because it isn't just all doom and gloom but is also about how we as humans can mitigate these potential disasters. Well done!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ben Schnell

    Interesting to think about. I especially enjoyed the section on artificial intelligence — computer scientists are doing amazing stuff. An insight that was interesting — we’re not going to solve climate change anytime soon. The author is pretty cynical in this but he makes good points. There isn’t the economic or political will to address climate change, and there probably won’t be anytime soon, until long after it’s too late. We’ll need some Hail Mary’s to save civilization, like artificially bl Interesting to think about. I especially enjoyed the section on artificial intelligence — computer scientists are doing amazing stuff. An insight that was interesting — we’re not going to solve climate change anytime soon. The author is pretty cynical in this but he makes good points. There isn’t the economic or political will to address climate change, and there probably won’t be anytime soon, until long after it’s too late. We’ll need some Hail Mary’s to save civilization, like artificially blocking the sun by putting something in the atmosphere. It has downsides, but it will probably come to an emergency bandaid like that to save human civilization, even though it will result in enough of its own upheaval to be existentially risky. The only question is will we develop technology fast enough to save ourselves, or will the selfish aspects of human nature be our ruin? More likely the latter, but who knows?

  14. 4 out of 5

    The Inquisitive Biologist

    End Times is a captivating book that, with some reservations, makes for a good first popular introduction to the grim subject of existential threats. See my full review at https://inquisitivebiologist.com/2020... End Times is a captivating book that, with some reservations, makes for a good first popular introduction to the grim subject of existential threats. See my full review at https://inquisitivebiologist.com/2020...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    Really enjoyed this book, lots to think about and I reckon everyone should read. Gives a good perspective on how small we really are and how precious life really is.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric Sullenberger

    Whenever I read a popular science book it is always with one of two hopes in mind- either I will learn something or I will find it useful in my teaching and sharing with students. I certainly didn't learn much from this book, but that isn't because it is poorly written, but rather that I actively try to keep up to date on science topics. I have heard all of these potential catastrophes and know both about the risk and the potential solutions. Where this book fails is its' paranoia, I tend to be Whenever I read a popular science book it is always with one of two hopes in mind- either I will learn something or I will find it useful in my teaching and sharing with students. I certainly didn't learn much from this book, but that isn't because it is poorly written, but rather that I actively try to keep up to date on science topics. I have heard all of these potential catastrophes and know both about the risk and the potential solutions. Where this book fails is its' paranoia, I tend to be pessimistic, but this book was too brooding for even me. That might simply be my own bias leading me to not be too concerned about things that I can't control, but I think that too often a slippery slope argument is used in this book. Although the subtitle of this book lists 3 possible disasters, it quite intentionally leaves off some that would cause others to take it less seriously. Towards the end of the book are concerns about biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and aliens. Although on one hand two of these are within our control and their infancy, their young age also means that public outrage and regulation have not yet had time to be put into place. Certainly, the disaster could come before those things happen, but we tend to be over confident about near-term predictions of technological breakthroughs. Although certainly technology could be the cause of some of these problems, it could also be the solution to them. However, even here lies another flaw of the book- the same slippery slope argument of "what could go wrong" or "what's the worst that could happen" could lead to total paralysis in regards to engineering a solution. I do tend to think that we will be able to innovate our way out of some of the problems of our own making and the long-term natural ones like asteroid impact, although some (like super volcanoes) might lie completely out of our control, and other will never happen. However, if we give into the fear of technology and scientific advancement then we will succumb to one or all of them. The author does address in the last chapter the tendancy for people to argue that we should change our behavior, but act as if technology will save us. Another quote that stuck with me from this section is that, “it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism." He mentioned that someone who relayed this quote to him suggested that we might need to find ways to use technology to change human behavior so that we can look out for ourselves. Lastly, as a Christian I feel obligated to mention that the complete destruction of human life on Earth goes contrary to my beliefs, but that is not to say that things couldn't get really bad. I am frustrated at the number of young Earth creationists who argue that because of the young age of the Earth- past extinctions can't be as bad as they seem, and that we don't need to be responsible or concerned about anything like climate change, because scientists are interpreting the data wrong. We are to be stewards of Creation and God will allow us to reap the consequences of our actions- therefore it is imperative that we care for the Earth and life on it. If you are not well-versed on the potential hazards, then this book does a good, if not paranoid, overview. It also suggests some possible solutions while blindly ignoring that put up against the same "slippery slope" arguments many of the solutions would be another concern that would take up another chapter of this book- enjoy it, but take it with a grain of salt.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tuna

    End Times is an interesting overview of several topics of interest regarding the many different existential risks associated with ways that humanity and even Earth itself can end. From common topics such as super volcanoes, nuclear winters/autumns, asteroids to more outlandish discussion points like alien invasions or wars and the rise of generalized artificial intelligence deeming the existent of humans are at odds with their own existence, concepts are covered with excruciating yet intriguing End Times is an interesting overview of several topics of interest regarding the many different existential risks associated with ways that humanity and even Earth itself can end. From common topics such as super volcanoes, nuclear winters/autumns, asteroids to more outlandish discussion points like alien invasions or wars and the rise of generalized artificial intelligence deeming the existent of humans are at odds with their own existence, concepts are covered with excruciating yet intriguing detail. The insights from experts in the field of the topics selected are really what sets this book apart from others. I came away from the book feeling like I’ve not only learned something new but gained invaluable insights into ways that some people are working to bring awareness of the some of the risks associated with scientific research, communications with aliens, and even ways we can perhaps alter the climate so that we can push off some of the harmful effects that our ancestors are presently making us endure and ones that we will make our successors experience. Some of the historical research is also intriguing in that the writer covers topics from a personal point of view from reporting in the field, such as SARS, or the climate aspect in a northern territory country, to visits with observatories. There is this kind of personal connection with the issues that makes it feel more than just another nonfiction book but something like a realistic, suspenseful, and enlightening report. This makes it a great read. One of the faults with the book is that several of the end of the world topics are left in a state where there is no hope. There is really no hope against climate change without governments working together. There is no hope against say doing anything to defend against volcanoes beyond well just praying that the small chance that a massive eruption happens at Yosemite truly and does in fact not happen in many of our lifetimes. There is little to no hope against the looming nuclear crisis beyond hoping the countries with them never actually accidently fire one of or have a trigger happy finger and press it due to some mistake or quick reaction. While there seemed to be defenses against something like asteroids of a certain size, the smaller ones that say hit over one of the eastern European countries that razed land and destroyed property are simply not detected and still cause panic. It is only thanks to the small risk of them hitting major cities that they haven’t caused calamity. Really there is this feeling that we only have the small risks associated with many of the topics detailed that continues to allow us to stay hopeful about thriving. The scariest topic was the aspect of their being some evolutionary or galactic/great filter that civilizations/planets go through and that we have yet to cross it which is why we are the only sentient beings in the galaxy. I mean, when you think that no other lifeform exists out there and the reason we haven’t detected them is that they were already wiped out, you kind of get the chills. Perhaps this is a stretch on my part and the writers, but it is scary. On the other hand a hypothesis suggests that maybe we passed it? Overall I enjoyed this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Casey

    I took my time with this one, because who wants to swallow every doomsday scenario all at once? Very well organized book with a shockingly interesting back end. I thought I was all about natural disasters, but the human-produced catastrophes were fascinating. There are a hundred different dread-filled sci-fi story ideas in there. Anyway, GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD! 🌎 🔥💥

  19. 5 out of 5

    Realms & Robots

    End Times is a well-researched account of the many threats facing the planet. We’ve all heard of some, others are less familiar, and a couple seem pulled from the pages of science fiction. The premise is terrifying at times, hopeful at others, and, above all, enthralling to read. Each section goes in-depth into its designated disaster, providing fascinating insights into mankind’s interactions with these given events or objects. In the asteroids section, we get a background on the asteroid that wi End Times is a well-researched account of the many threats facing the planet. We’ve all heard of some, others are less familiar, and a couple seem pulled from the pages of science fiction. The premise is terrifying at times, hopeful at others, and, above all, enthralling to read. Each section goes in-depth into its designated disaster, providing fascinating insights into mankind’s interactions with these given events or objects. In the asteroids section, we get a background on the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs in addition to the discovery of various objects on a collision course throughout our solar system. It’s mindblowing to understand the sheer force of an object like that and what it can do to a planet. The conversation is at times terrifying, but it’s reassuring to get the facts on these scenarios in place of quick shock pieces on every news station looking to fill a few minutes with terror. I appreciated the deep analysis and digging the author did to present such a coherent, well-formed guide. As a science fiction reviewer, it was most interesting to read through the artificial intelligence and alien sections of the book. Admittedly, the likelihood of these extinction events occurring is slim to none, but the facts are presented thoroughly nonetheless. We get a history of our AI discoveries and the advances in robotics. We get a background on mankind’s monitoring of the universe for extraterrestrial life. There was a lot I didn’t know and I appreciated the learning opportunity. As I’ve said, there’s a definite terror element throughout the sections, but it’s necessary to understanding just how important these various issues are. It’s important to remember how devastating nuclear war can be and what it would do to the world if it was unleashed on a global scale. It’s important to understand the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs and most of life on Earth, if only to peruse the countless articles and studies with a better sense of understanding. Above all, it’s important to understand that many of these are preventable if mankind could step up and create meaningful change on a global scale. Climate change, nuclear war, the global spread of disease or virus - all of these are real threats that could be eliminated if we could get out of our own way.  Overall, End Times gives you a lot to think about. It’s a smart look at the things we fear as a species and the facts surrounding their probability. You’ll leave the book better informed about our history with catastrophe and what it would take to get us to a tipping point.  NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chad Guarino

    End Times is an entertaining (albeit terrifying) collection of existential threats to the human race from Bryan Walsh, a long time editor and reporter for TIME. All of the heavy hitters are here that you're most likely familiar with, from celestial impact to supervolcano eruptions, super-intelligent AI to hostile alien races. What sets this book apart from the myriad other end-of-the-world books is Walsh's easy to follow prose, superb reporting, and the willingness to dig deeper into each issue. End Times is an entertaining (albeit terrifying) collection of existential threats to the human race from Bryan Walsh, a long time editor and reporter for TIME. All of the heavy hitters are here that you're most likely familiar with, from celestial impact to supervolcano eruptions, super-intelligent AI to hostile alien races. What sets this book apart from the myriad other end-of-the-world books is Walsh's easy to follow prose, superb reporting, and the willingness to dig deeper into each issue. Instead of merely describing the threat to humanity and moving on, Walsh reports on what is being done to prevent it, what can and should be done in the future, and gives examples of the worse case scenario (these are often graphic but page turning). This is a timely read that people should pay attention to. While the chances of an alien attack soon are very remote, the parts on climate change, pandemic, and AI are relevant to our current political climate and Walsh's research tends to show how unprepared we potentially are for them. Highly recommended. **I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Hachette Books.*

  21. 5 out of 5

    deep

    SA Starred: "Predictions about the end of the world--or at least of humankind--are as old as civilization itself. But that doesn't mean the end will never happen. In End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, science reporter Bryan Walsh explores all kinds of existential threats to humanity. Among them are super-volcanoes, asteroids, climate change, nuclear war, disease, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and, yes, even aliens. Some of these possibilities might sound outlandish, but W SA Starred: "Predictions about the end of the world--or at least of humankind--are as old as civilization itself. But that doesn't mean the end will never happen. In End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, science reporter Bryan Walsh explores all kinds of existential threats to humanity. Among them are super-volcanoes, asteroids, climate change, nuclear war, disease, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and, yes, even aliens. Some of these possibilities might sound outlandish, but Walsh draws on more than 15 years of investigative journalism at Time magazine to get the science right. He also includes interviews with scientists who study various life-ending phenomena, as well as ways to circumvent apocalypse via advanced technology and elaborate warning systems. This is a book that balances doom and gloom with hope and humor. Walsh shows that some of these threats, like asteroids and super-volcanoes, are not without precedent. Casual readers of science may already know that an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs, but lesser known is the eruption of Toba, a super-volcano that exploded more than 74,000 years ago. As Walsh puts it, "Homo sapiens had a very bad day" when Toba blew. The amount of rock and ash spewed from the mountain, he writes, was the equivalent to 2,800 Mount St. Helens eruptions--enough to darken the skies for years and creating "hell on Earth." Rarely is popular science writing this hair-raising. Breezily written but deeply researched, End Times thrills as much as it educates. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor Discover: This exciting work of popular science explores some possible ends to the world in almost cinematic detail."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rama

    An interesting perspective for the future of the planet The author offers an interesting view for the future from a variety of catastrophes; asteroid impact, volcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, diseases, biotech, artificial intelligence, and aliens. He articulates these world-ending apocalypse with passion. It's not just the rising tide of climate change and the deadly natural disasters that seem to be piling up with each passing year. Our very future is in danger as it has never been before An interesting perspective for the future of the planet The author offers an interesting view for the future from a variety of catastrophes; asteroid impact, volcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, diseases, biotech, artificial intelligence, and aliens. He articulates these world-ending apocalypse with passion. It's not just the rising tide of climate change and the deadly natural disasters that seem to be piling up with each passing year. Our very future is in danger as it has never been before, both from an array of cosmic and earthbound threats and from the very technologies that made us prosperous. We know how bad it can get; the two world wars; the Black Death which killed 200 million people in the fourteenth century; the biggest hurricanes and most devastating earthquakes. These risks are darker than the darkest days humanity has ever known. Our species has always lived under the shadow of existential risk we just didn't know it. At least five times over the course of our planet's 4.5-billion-year history, life was wiped out completely, but each time it was reborn with vengeance. It is good to know that life regenerates itself when the planet offers interesting possibilities. Solar system has another 4.5 billion years to go and earth may shape into new future.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    A non-religious and well-researched look at what is most likely to kill all of mankind is in the End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World. There are eight threats to mankind’s continued existence described within this book: • Asteroid • Volcano • Nuclear Bombs • Climate Change • Disease • Biotechnology • Artificial Intelligence • Aliens (from another planet, sorry Mr. President ) Which of the above is more likely and which should be left to fiction? This book will attempt to answer that question. A non-religious and well-researched look at what is most likely to kill all of mankind is in the End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World. There are eight threats to mankind’s continued existence described within this book: • Asteroid • Volcano • Nuclear Bombs • Climate Change • Disease • Biotechnology • Artificial Intelligence • Aliens (from another planet, sorry Mr. President ) Which of the above is more likely and which should be left to fiction? This book will attempt to answer that question. End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World would be a good reference for thriller writers (I’m looking at you Clive Cussler) or screenwriters of disaster movies (RIP Irwin Allen). It is also an interesting read for open-minded readers. Even though the topic is inherently grim, the author manages to infuse some hopeful notes. 4 stars! More if you are a writer looking for ideas. Thanks to Hachette Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    Nothing about this book would qualify it is a "fun," read. He catalogs several ways in which humans are dealing with threats to our survival. Some are human-made, such as climate change or nuclear war. Others are natural, such as asteroids or super volcanoes. And some are almost science fiction, such as AI or aliens. The writing is lucid, well researched, and broadly sourced. And, in the end, the book left me aching for more by way of antidotes and answers than Walsh leaves us with. Might we inv Nothing about this book would qualify it is a "fun," read. He catalogs several ways in which humans are dealing with threats to our survival. Some are human-made, such as climate change or nuclear war. Others are natural, such as asteroids or super volcanoes. And some are almost science fiction, such as AI or aliens. The writing is lucid, well researched, and broadly sourced. And, in the end, the book left me aching for more by way of antidotes and answers than Walsh leaves us with. Might we invent our way out of trouble? Create more ethical humans by genetic manipulation? Build deep earth shelters? Just hope? I'm preaching on the many failed predictions in scripture about the imminent return of Jesus. It would be nice if Walsh's worst case scenarios were wrong too. But if we are going to change course, it will take education, insight, and enthusiasm for the sacrifices we're going to have to make as humans. Maybe spirituality can contribute positively to those necessities.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Much Of This Book Should Terrify You. Walsh does an excellent job of sharing the current state of research into the various existential crises humanity faces - crises that would make the human species extinct if they fully come to fruition. He lays out the narrative in such a way that after beginning with asteroids, each crisis leads into a discussion of the next. Some of his own commentary is hit or miss and different readers will appreciate more or less, but overall the work is solid in its jo Much Of This Book Should Terrify You. Walsh does an excellent job of sharing the current state of research into the various existential crises humanity faces - crises that would make the human species extinct if they fully come to fruition. He lays out the narrative in such a way that after beginning with asteroids, each crisis leads into a discussion of the next. Some of his own commentary is hit or miss and different readers will appreciate more or less, but overall the work is solid in its journalism standards. Very much recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Riann

    A very interesting read which introduced me to existential risks which could lead to humanity's end. The author's detailed explanations allowed me to better under the existential risks he was presenting as well as what can be done in order to try to mitigate those risks. I like the author am hopeful that humanity's growth will also ensure our survival in the face of adversity. A very interesting read which introduced me to existential risks which could lead to humanity's end. The author's detailed explanations allowed me to better under the existential risks he was presenting as well as what can be done in order to try to mitigate those risks. I like the author am hopeful that humanity's growth will also ensure our survival in the face of adversity.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Frandsen

    Interesting topics but not technical enough for my liking, doesn't get much deeper than political talking points Interesting topics but not technical enough for my liking, doesn't get much deeper than political talking points

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shivani Maurya

    Ever wondered, why we love apocalyptic scenarios playing out in movies and TV shows? The Earth on its path to destruction, only to be saved at the last minute by science or superheroes? And if not wholly saved, at least with a portion of population making it to the new day for a new beginning? One look at Netflix's popular series is enough to corroborate the fact. What becomes evident is a perverse and possibly misplaced confidence in humanity and its achievements. Yes, no one believes superhero Ever wondered, why we love apocalyptic scenarios playing out in movies and TV shows? The Earth on its path to destruction, only to be saved at the last minute by science or superheroes? And if not wholly saved, at least with a portion of population making it to the new day for a new beginning? One look at Netflix's popular series is enough to corroborate the fact. What becomes evident is a perverse and possibly misplaced confidence in humanity and its achievements. Yes, no one believes superheroes will start popping up anytime now. But everyone believes in science and expects a similar deliverance in real life. When we see things turning out great on screen, we don't pay attention to the fact that the script is pandering to our confidence in human perpetuity. After all, no one goes to the theaters to get glum over buckets of cheesy popcorn and coke. Q. An asteroid on its way to destroy Earth? A. Send oil drillers to plant a bomb on it. Q. Earth's volcanoes are erupting? A. Make sure the floor isn't lava, have some gallant sacrifices, save the hero and his daughter. Q. Aliens attack the Earth? A. Make the president give an inspiring speech. Get Smith and Goldblum a spaceship. Or just have the Avengers Assemble. Q. Deadly organisms kill off half the world population? A. Make sure the protagonist survives, better if he/she has a fortunate mutation to source vaccination for the rest of the living. Q. AI takes over the planet? A. Make sure you have a terminator and time travel tech. Now, if you take out the fantastical saves from these all too real threat scenarios, the only thing left would be overwhelming fear and despair. We know there are no superheroes out there. And we know science doesn't work out the problems in a matter of hours. But we still hope for redemption. That's where this book comes in. It makes the argument that even with the progress of current times, it pays to be realistic and prudent. It talks about existential threats that loom over our heads as we go about worrying and complaining of gazillion things wrong with life. Bringing home the extent of these threats (wayward asteroids, super eruptions, resistant disease microbes, engineered pathogens, climate change, nuclear warheads, self-aware AI etc.), the author paints a grim picture of how the world is hanging by a thread. And while some may dismiss this book as just another alarmist text, it is worth reading. The author cites quality research in bolstering his argument for more public participation in the fate of the planet. He warns us against falling for the optimism of being saved (albeit at the last minute), when we are hardly taking steps to mitigate any threats. Political and economic upheavals are taking our minds off of the most important thing: the continued survival of our species. Which most certainly has been down to ours being extremely lucky and brief (on geologic scale). But luck does run out, sooner or later. And if it sounds alarmist anyway, that's because it rightfully should. Volcanoes don't just erupt and affect locally for a short time. Climate change doesn't stop even if we do (if ever). Universe isn't partial to humans. Political leaders have been known to be trigger happy. Terrorists might just be on the forefront of innovations. And scientific efforts don't factor morals and intentions. There is just too much out there to believe it is all for the good. And taking no actions despite that knowledge might just be our undoing. Hope is not on offer in this book. Rather there is a request for it. The author is looking for it, just like all of us. And while we are still looking to our politicians with crossed fingers, the author is looking to us. It doesn't take rocket science to realize that everyone has to step up to face down any existential threat. Tax money doesn't always convert to public relief. Giving away the power to act to the select few with safe havens shouldn't be accepted any longer. We shouldn't be ok with only a few of us making through a planetary disaster. What does it speak of us as a self-aware species if we can't save ourselves from the threats we see barreling down towards us, decades if not centuries from now. Maybe it is time to wake up from the false hope overdose and work for the true one. Humans love to say "Oh! It is the end times." . I believe every generation thought the same at some time or the other. And while we can forgive past generations, we can't say the same for the current one. It is the end times alright. Just not the one we couldn't stave off, if we tried.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Yup, it's all there in one book. And it was super cool to hear about all the ways that the end of the world could come about based on the past, present, and future science of things. Clearly Walsh is a smart guy and he wants to share the information- not to intimidate anyone, not to scare the pants off of anyone, simply to explain where we've been and where we'll go with a logical presentation of facts and figures. He isn't in his head and trying to meet laypeople where they're at with understan Yup, it's all there in one book. And it was super cool to hear about all the ways that the end of the world could come about based on the past, present, and future science of things. Clearly Walsh is a smart guy and he wants to share the information- not to intimidate anyone, not to scare the pants off of anyone, simply to explain where we've been and where we'll go with a logical presentation of facts and figures. He isn't in his head and trying to meet laypeople where they're at with understanding the topics, instead, he is the guy who would be fun at a cocktail party telling you all of this because he pays attention and he's endlessly curious. He is a Times editor and correspondent. He's clinical without being unemotional, he's scientific without being too abstract which draws me in. So many others could have made this inaccessible. Let's not get into the topic of pandemics-- as he was reading this chilling chapter I shouted "we're living this RIGHT.NOW!" It's the kind of book that I spewed factoids and thoughts and argued to anyone who would listen as I was reading it and will continue to reference (and recommend). I got a kick out of the author narrating the book when he would seriously (but it is so goofy to hear) do voices for specific scientists sharing information.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    An interesting and enjoyable read, well written and thoroughly researched, on the various existential threats to humanity's continued survival. I particularly liked the way the author managed to move smoothly from threat to threat-- this one is unique because it is inevitable sooner or later, this one is unique because it is unlikely but unstoppable, this one is unique because the only thing preventing it is fallible humanity... the easy, conversational style makes it a pleasant diversion. There An interesting and enjoyable read, well written and thoroughly researched, on the various existential threats to humanity's continued survival. I particularly liked the way the author managed to move smoothly from threat to threat-- this one is unique because it is inevitable sooner or later, this one is unique because it is unlikely but unstoppable, this one is unique because the only thing preventing it is fallible humanity... the easy, conversational style makes it a pleasant diversion. There is one glaring error in the chapter on asteroid impact, where he says the force of the Chicxulub asteroid was equivalent to 100 megatons (and repeats the error when he says it was 6500 times the force of "Little Boy"): that's five orders of magnitude too small, by my calculation, and it's surprising that an error like this made it through the copy-editor. On the whole, though, it's a useful overview of truly terrifying possibilities.

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