Will the world end in a bang or a whimper? Unless pre-empted by human-induced disaster or one of many scientifically possible catastrophic scenarios, life on Earth will end a billion years from now in a sizzle.
Predicting the end of the world is an old story, argues the author, presenting evidence in brief surveys of eschatologies from the world's major religions and mythologies of ancient civilizations. Miller also notes how end-of-world scenarios have captured humanity's imagination in their frequent appearances in science-fiction novels and motion pictures. (Disappointingly, the reasons for this ongoing fascination are not explored.) A chapter about imminent predictions for 2012 explains the Mayan prophecy and a theory about a phantom planet called Nibiru crashing into Earth. Another chapter examines pseudoscientific end-of-world theories such as planetary alignment and pole shifts. The primary focus is on scientifically plausible scenarios: self-destruction through nuclear war or continued environmental exploitation; humanity wiped out by a pandemic; an asteroid or comet strike destroying Earth.
Attractively designed and handsomely illustrated, this informative text introduces teens to many intriguing angles on a high-interest topic that should inspire many to further explore the subject. (chronology, glossary, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)