Super Volcanoes: What They Reveal About Earth and the Worlds Beyond | Book Review & Recommendation

Robin George Andrews

I have one question: why did a book about volcanoes make my eyes swell with tears of wonder and the hair stand on my arms? Seriously. The language, the way things were explained, and how facts interweaved with personal stories… beauty! I would have never expected a book about volcanoes, however mighty and beautiful, to use such poetic language. It read better than many presumably wonderfully written fiction books (and I do like fiction).

To be fair, I must point out that I’m a journalist by day, a fiction writer by night, and a geology nerd all throughout so this book really hit just the perfect spot. But I’ve never read a better-written science book in my life. Andrews is now my hero, and I aspire to be at least half as good a writer as he is.

Pop culture references are a win when served by Andrews. Now, I’m probably more behind on pop culture than anyone else on this planet. Still, even I could appreciate the seamless “…he found layers of obsidian up to 15 feet thick—easily enough dragonglass to defend yourself against an entire horde of White Walkers.”

If you’re not into pop culture, you can still enjoy yourself with tasty comparisons as Andrew’s has something for foodies, too: “… like bits of mozzarella on a pizza melting together to form one cheesy mass,” he explains the origin of the volcanic rocks of Yellowstone.

My point here is that Andrews makes his writing fun, understandable, and exciting even for people for whom science isn’t the most exciting thing out there. He gives us accessible science, and that’s what we need. (Andrews described Mars’ moons as “Lilliputian space potatoes” and if that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is.)

I know people say to never meet your heroes, but if I got the chance to spend one afternoon listening to what Andrews has to say about probably literally anything, I would be waiting at the meeting spot since sunrise.

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