The English language continually evolves. Just see Ambrose Bierce’s definition of dictionary. New concepts call for new words that often evolve from a new dictum. Astronomy has made its fair share of contributions to this cause. But, Daniel Hudon’s book “The Bluffer’s Guide to: The Cosmos” belies such augmentations. Within, the language is as common and everyday as what you used around the gas pump or barber shop. Yet, the science and information is as exact and appropriate as needed to communicate an idea.
The idea of a bluffer’s guide is, presumably, to allow a reader without formal training to wax eruditely about a particular topic. The Cosmos is, of course, pretty big. In fact it’s about as big as things get from our perspective. Yet, the book’s undaunted brashness allows a reader to become familiar with the heady concepts of cosmology. Its material is current, as noted by the reference to eight planets in our solar system. It’s humorous, as noted by fun sounding words like Zubenelgenubi. And it’s short and sweet, as noted by its small format and brief 86 pages. However, the few pages allow for the book to entertain the reader rather than drown them in details.
The focus on providing for the reader’s entertainment remains a fixture throughout the book. Thus, true to the title’s promise, a reader might be able to bluff their way through a conversation about the Cosmos after having read it. But, this book would better serve those readers who simply want to relate an unknown, difficult sounding subject to their own everyday perceptions. For instance, if the Earth is the size of an apple, then Uranus is the size of a honey dew melon. Or, consider the Big Bang to be like a cosmic burp happening 13.7 billion years ago. With this technique, the book should keep the naïve reader interested and also keep them reading to the end.
With cosmologists continually adding to society’s knowledge base, the everyday person could easily get overwhelmed with new phrases like ‘mysterious energy’. Yet, Daniel Hudon’s book “The Bluffer’s Guide to: The Cosmos” can come to the rescue. It succinctly delivers these ideas into simple, common verbiage and should keep the reader smiling at the same time.