"Astrophysicist McTier delivers in her debut a delightful report on the Milky Way’s inner workings. . . McTier writes that her goal is to help people 'understand how ephemeral [our] existence is.' She succeeds smashingly. The result is truly stellar."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[C]reative, humorous and enormously entertaining. . . As with any translation from another tongue, readers may marvel at the role of the translator in creating a book that is both informative and truly inspirational. Here, it's clear Dr. McTier has harnessed the sense of marvel she felt as a child, when she imagined the sun and moon as celestial parents who watched over her and talked to her on a regular basis. That childlike wonder, combined with her expertise in mythology and astronomy, makes her the perfect human to assist in telling this story."—Bookpage, starred review
"As a character, the Milky Way is a cross between a Greek goddess and GLaDOS, the artificially superintelligent computer system from the Portal video-game series. She gossips about other galaxies, teaches us about her past and imparts a primer on astrophysics, all the while relishing every opportunity to throw shade on humankind’s egocentrism and closed-mindedness."—Scientific American
"[A] one-of-a-kind look at our galaxy. . . Educational, informative, and original, this will leave readers eagerly anticipating McTier’s next book."—Booklist
"McTier sprinkles humor throughout her whimsical look at the cosmos. . . [T]he author clearly knows her subject and delivers enough fascinating information to keep the pages turning."—Kirkus Reviews
"It's about time we heard the story of the Milky Way in its own words. The good news is that our galaxy is not only ancient and majestic; it's also whimsical, amusing, and downright chatty. Moiya McTier's book is an entertaining introduction to some of the most profound features of our astrophysical neighborhood."—Sean Carroll, New York Times bestselling author of Something Deeply Hidden
"If you want to learn about the Milky Way, who better to go to than the source? Well, up until now, the Galaxy hasn’t been talking – but all of that has changed! Turns out, the Milky Way has a sense of humor, an attitude, and, frankly, isn’t super impressed with us as of late. If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to learn about astrophysics – this is the book for you! "—Kelly Weinersmith, New York Times bestselling author of Soonish
"A direct, fun, and charming mix of the science, folklore, and history of our Milky Way galaxy. And since that galaxy is technically composed at least in part by ME, I cannot help but take some of the credit."—Ryan North, New York Times bestselling author of How to Invent Everything
“With The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy, Moiya McTier gives us an exciting romp through the universe from the perspective of a most unexpected guide: our local sentient collection of stars, gas, dark matter, planets, and its wayward humans. What an exciting way to learn about everything in the universe, from its earliest moments to star births and deaths. Only here will you learn what the Milky Way thinks of its neighbors. McTier invents the genre of cosmic gossip what fun it is!”—Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, author of The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred
"McTier's sharp wit and sharper intellect strike the perfect tone for this breezy take on the history of our galaxy. Truly the biggest tell-all story in the universe!"—Paul M. Sutter, PhD, astrophysicists and author of Your Place in the Universe
“Brilliantly blending astrophysics and mythology, McTier has crafted an out of this world work of genius. The Milky Way is a remarkably clever, eye-opening entry into the astrophysics cannon that radically changes our perspective on space and our place in the vast cosmos. As entertaining as it is informative, this book is an essential read for earth dwellers who want a better understanding of our galactic home.”—Stephon Alexander, author of Fear of a Black Universe
“A deliciously hilarious/irreverent and irresistible romp shimmering with astrophysics facts and cutting edge observations. A first “person” perspective that only an astrophysicist can provide. McTier’s humor and keen eye for detail pens the autobiography that our home galaxy deserves!”—Brian Keating, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics at UC San Diego and author of Losing the Nobel Prize and INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE: Think Like a Nobel Prize Winner
The history of the universe as recounted by a chatty Milky Way.
Astrophysicist, TV commentator, and podcaster McTier, who studied astronomy and mythology at Harvard, employs both to describe the cosmos from its birth in the Big Bang to its death (or fate) in the far future. Both events are speculation but accompanied by a good deal of science, although facts become more frequent as we approach the present day. As the author discovered in her studies, “science and myth weren’t as contradictory as they seemed on the surface. Both are tools that we humans use to understand how we fit in with the rest of the universe.” Rather than narrate in her own voice, she assumes the character of the Milky Way, offering a sort of cosmic tell-all: “Stars, galaxies, even hairy meatbags like you; I want to light a fire—literal or figurative—in them all!” Born about 14 billion years ago, less than 1 billion years after the universe itself, the Milky Way spent millennia watching galaxies drift away, sometimes absorbing neighboring stars and dwarf galaxies, and making “friends” in the process, including Andromeda, “the biggest and brightest and most important” neighboring galaxy. McTier detours regularly to describe creation myths of other cultures, but mostly her narrator follows classical and modern astronomers in their often misguided but sometimes impressive discoveries. Cosmology enjoys a large readership and a steady stream of popular science books. Most of them are straightforward or overly dependent on gee-whiz proclamations, but there are a few outstanding entries, including Dan Hooper’s At the Edge of Time. McTier sprinkles humor throughout her whimsical look at the cosmos, and while some serious-minded fans of astronomical science may grimace at some of the drollery, the author clearly knows her subject and delivers enough fascinating information to keep the pages turning.
A solid education in cosmology for tolerant readers.