If you’re like me, or are a version of me from another dimension, you’ve also been looking for a way to get that Rick and Morty fix while we wait for the promised 70 more episodes of the animated show. If you’re jonesing for that Szechuan sauce fix, have I got the squanch for you.
Presenting The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth’s Stupidest Show, by Matt Brady. At 300+ pages, the book dives deep into a wide range of relevant topics, from alien life and evolution, to cloning and body hacking. In the process, Brady addresses Rick and Morty-specific questions, like, “Why dimension C-137?” and, “Are we all just living in one of Rick’s simulations?” Whether you’re a Rick trying to learn to be the Rickest Rick, or a Morty who’s just along for the ride, this book has something for the whole family.
As someone who spends a lot of time reading dry philosophy papers, I appreciated Brady’s writing style and the way he structures the discussions. The book begins by exploring Rick and Morty’s place in the arc of science fiction history, a history that’s inspired many technologies we live with today. It then walks you through each topic while continually tying it back to the reader’s place in the universe.
Take the chapter on alien life. It doesn’t just cover potential forms or the Fermi paradox (the “where is everyone?” problem) — it explains the nature of life and its relationship to entropy, a common theme from Rick and Morty. It discusses what sorts of entities are more or less likely to evolve across our universe, using a plethora of Rick and Morty deep cuts (spoiler: not looking great for the worm with the giant ball sack).
You can really feel the love of the show and the love of making science accessible coming together. When you’re combining pop culture with education, it’s so easy to slip too far into just talking about the academic material, but Brady consistently pulls from specific examples in the series. As a die hard fan of the show, I appreciate the effort, because it’s clearly not just a cash-in on the brand.
I particularly enjoyed the multiverse chapter. We covered the philosophical theories of the multiverse in our first Rick and Morty episode of the “Philosophers in Space” podcast, and it was interesting to see the concept approached from a scientific perspective. It doesn’t just talk about how we may be living in a multiverse; it gets into the details of the Rick and Morty multiverse in particular, explaining terms like “the central finite curve” that are used repeatedly on the show, but never addressed explicitly. Brady even takes some time to explain the existential angst that accompanies discussion of infinity. In an infinite multiverse, how can anything matter?
I also want to acknowledge the illustrations in Science. Like most Jerries, I really enjoy a book with ample pictures, ranging from the amusing to the informative to a pretty detailed guide for construction of a portal gun. Shout out to the hunky, hipster clones.
I suppose I should find something to criticize, though truly I thought this book was thoroughly entertaining. So, lets see. It doesn’t come with a bonus episode of Rick and Morty, nor does it provide directions to the universe where more episodes have already been released. It doesn’t confirm all my personal fan theories about where the show is headed, and in particular, it doesn’t guarantee the return of Phoenix Person. The book would have certainly been much better if it had done all these things, but given that they were not the goals of the author, I can understand why we will have to wait for the follow-up to have these issues addressed.
The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth’s Stupidest Show really is worth the price of admission; there’s a ton I haven’t covered. Most importantly, you can tell the author did his homework with love and affection for the source material. The discussion of science creates a space for talking about much more, just as it does in the show.
This isn’t Neil deGrasse Tyson ruining the fun for everyone. This is a fun enhancer. It’s practically a mad scientists’ cookbook. You still have to work out the portal gun math yourself, but at least you’re given the tools.