End Times

A Brief Guide to the End of the World


By Bryan Walsh

Read by Bryan Walsh

Read by Corey Carthew

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In this history of extinction and existential risk, a Newsweek and Bloomberg popular science and investigative journalist examines our most dangerous mistakes — and explores how we can protect and future-proof our civilization.

End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable — and inevitable — end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race.

In End Times, Walsh examines threats that emerge from nature and those of our own making: asteroids, supervolcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, disease pandemics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial intelligence. Walsh details the true probability of these world-ending catastrophes, the impact on our lives were they to happen, and the best strategies for saving ourselves, all pulled from his rigorous and deeply thoughtful reporting and research.

Walsh goes into the room with the men and women whose job it is to imagine the unimaginable. He includes interviews with those on the front lines of prevention, actively working to head off existential threats in biotechnology labs and government hubs. Guided by Walsh’s evocative, page-turning prose, we follow scientific stars like the asteroid hunters at NASA and the disease detectives on the trail of the next killer virus.

Walsh explores the danger of apocalypse in all forms. In the end, it will be the depth of our knowledge, the height of our imagination, and our sheer will to survive that will decide the future.


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The average human can expect to live more than 2 billion seconds,1 but there are only a few moments when everything can change at once. It might be the second after you receive the worst news of your life, or the moment when the person you had always waited for says yes. For me that moment is captured in a photograph. I’m in the hospital room on the day my son is born, standing to the left of my wife, Siobhan. A smile is surfacing through the fatigue bunched around my eyes. My father is standing on the right, beside my mother, as she looks into the lens with an expression of pure joy. She is holding our first child. His name is Ronan. He’s just a few hours old, his fine, thin skull dusted with reddish-blond hair, his fingers curled tightly in fists, his eyes shut against the light. Ronan is here, one of the newest inhabitants on planet Earth, and for us nothing will be the same again.

What I see when I look at that photograph today is the future coming into being. My father, who loomed throughout my childhood, is not just my father any longer, but a grandfather. My mother, the first person I remember being conscious of, is not just my mother any longer, but a grandmother. And I, a son for thirty-nine years, am no longer just a son, but a father, as my wife is now a mother. We’re part of a chain that turns toward the future, one human link at a time. And those links are as fragile as a newborn baby.

Until that moment I’d never really thought about the future, which is ironic, because for a decade and a half as a professional journalist the future was my subject. The first years were spent as a foreign correspondent for Time magazine in East Asia, where I witnessed the greatest victory over poverty the world has ever experienced, an economic and political earthquake that will reverberate for decades. I reported from ground zero on SARS, the first emerging global disease of the twenty-first century, a virus that came out of nowhere and exposed just how vulnerable our interconnected world was to the peril of sickness. I worked for a year in Japan as Time’s Tokyo bureau chief, reporting from a country that lives on the very edge of the future.

After six years in Asia I moved to Time’s headquarters in New York to cover climate change, a force that will do more than any other to reset the boundaries of our future. I attended historic conferences like the 2009 United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, and ventured to the vanishing ice sheets of the Arctic. I trekked to the dwindling rain forests of South America and the drought-stricken mountains of northern India. Everywhere I went, I witnessed the diminishing of humanity’s future, melting away like the glaciers I once watched calving off Greenland.

When people found out that I covered climate change—and if they believed that climate change was real—they would usually ask me if I found the beat depressing. Weren’t we all doomed? I’d tell them something about how climate change was vitally important because it represented the intersection of business and politics and science, all while allowing me to earn plenty of exotic stamps in my passport. Which was true enough. Climate change was important, and I did feel lucky to cover it. I could read the studies, and I could write articles—so many articles—warning that our species was headed for doom if we didn’t make radical changes in the way we lived. But I never really felt it. I didn’t feel the future—its weight, its uncertainty, its importance, and, like my newborn son, its fragility.

But I would.

In a 2012 poll by Reuters covering more than twenty countries, 15 percent of respondents predicted that the world would end in their lifetimes.2 A 2015 survey of Americans, British, Canadians, and Australians found that a majority rated the risk of our way of life ending within the next one hundred years at 50 percent or greater, while a quarter believed humanity had a better than even chance of being wiped out altogether over that time frame.3 More Americans believe that life was better fifty years ago—when a nuclear holocaust was an everyday possibility—than it is today.4 In 2018, a UN scientific panel reported that the world had just twelve years to sharply reduce carbon emissions or risk a global catastrophe.5 Meanwhile, the tone of the news in the era of President Donald Trump has become nothing short of apocalyptic on both sides of the political divide. And when we’re not reading about the real-life end of the world, we’re watching a fictionalized version: The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, Avengers: Endgame and half the new shows on Netflix. The bloodier and more dystopic, it seems, the more we love it—as long as we’re watching, and not participating. If we fear the end times, part of us seems to crave them—and perhaps believes we deserve them.

What’s ironic is that this existential panic unfolds against the backdrop of a world that—for most of humanity—is better than it has ever been. In 2018, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population qualified as “middle class” or “rich.”6 Infant mortality has fallen by more than half over the past twenty-five years.7 Even as weapons have grown far more lethal, the global death rate from conflict is less than it was six hundred years ago.8 And if numbers like that seem too dry, ask yourself this question: Would I have preferred to be born fifty years ago, not long after a global war killed more than 60 million people? One hundred years ago, before the age of antibiotics, when a simple infection could end your life? One thousand years ago, when human life expectancy was about thirty years?9 I doubt it.

If we don’t appreciate the present, it’s in part because we don’t fully understand the past—even as we make the mistake of assuming the future will be like the present. Psychologists have a name for this trait: the availability heuristic, the human tendency to be overly influenced by what feels most visible and salient in our experience. The availability heuristic can cause us to overreact, as when we hear about reports of a suicide bombing and become fixated on the danger from terrorists, ignoring the longer-term data that shows such incidents are on the decline.10 Risks that are most available to the mind are the ones that we care about, which is why so much of our regulation is driven by crisis, rather than by reason.11 As a longtime journalist, I plead guilty here—the standard definition of the news is the recent and the memorable, so the media plays a role in our overemphasis of now at the expense of the historical perspective. No newspaper has ever led its front page with the story that 100,000 people rose out of extreme poverty yesterday12—yet for years, that is exactly what has been happening almost daily. The myopia of the availability heuristic leaves us fixated on everything that seems to be going wrong today, and blind to how far we’ve come.

But that same psychological bias can also lead us to underreact to far greater dangers and threats that we’ve never experienced. The internet may remember everything but human memory is short and spotty. Few of us have experienced in our own lives catastrophes truly worthy of the name, and no human has seen an asteroid on a collision course with our planet, or witnessed a disease rise and threaten our very existence. These threats have no availability to us, so we treat them as unreal—even if science and statistics tell us otherwise. Our failure to understand that the future could be radically different than the past is above all else a failure of human psychology. And that failure could prove fatal for our species.

In life, as in the stock market, past performance is no guarantee of future results. It’s not just the rising tide of climate change, or the creeping instability at home and abroad, or the deadly natural disasters that seem to be piling up with each passing year. It’s not just the nauseating sensation that our world is spinning out of control, one presidential tweet at a time. Our very future is in danger, as it has never been before, both from an array of cosmic and earthbound threats and from the very technologies that have helped make us so prosperous.

We think we know how bad it can get, but the worst catastrophes that have ever befallen the human race—two world wars; the Black Death, which killed as many as 200 million people in the fourteenth century; the biggest hurricanes and most devastating earthquakes—are mere speed bumps compared to the risks this book will cover, the risks we now face. These risks are darker than the darkest days humanity has ever known. They’re called existential risks, risks capable of putting an end to the existence of humankind, for all time. They are the mistakes we can’t recover from, the disasters that could end the human story in midsentence.

Our species has always lived under the shadow of existential risk—we just didn’t know it. At least five times over the course of our planet’s 4.5-billion-year history, life has been virtually wiped out in great extinction waves, often punctuated by a natural catastrophe that struck on a planetary scale. Asteroid impacts, supervolcanic eruptions, even gamma rays from space—the universe is not a safe space.

The death of the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago, thanks largely to the impact of a six-mile-wide asteroid, was a mass extinction event. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the species that have ever lived on Earth have gone extinct. Some evolved into new species, but most, including every other Homo species we’ve ever shared the planet with, simply died out. And the same fate could befall us.

But if the universe has always wanted to kill us, at least a little bit, what’s new is the possibility that we might destroy ourselves, whether by error or intention. What are called man-made or anthropogenic existential risks were born with the successful test of the first nuclear weapon at Trinity Site in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The bomb gave us the power to do to ourselves what natural selection had done to most other species before us.

Nuclear war, though, is just the first man-made existential risk, one that has grown no less lethal even as it has receded from our attention. With every passing year, billions upon billions of tons of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are added to the atmosphere, increasing man-made climate change. Given enough time—along with some bad luck—global warming could begin to threaten our existence. Even more frightening—and far harder to predict or control—are the existential risks arising from new technologies like synthetic biology or artificial intelligence, technologies that could create threats we can hardly imagine, bombs that could explode before we even know they’re armed.

How much danger are we in? The Canadian philosopher John Leslie, who helped invent the field of existential risk studies with his 1996 book, The End of the World, gave a 30 percent chance that humans would go extinct over the next five centuries.13 In his final published remarks, the late Stephen Hawking put our species on an extinction clock, writing: “One way or another, I regard it as almost inevitable that either a nuclear confrontation or environmental catastrophe will cripple the Earth at some point in the next 1,000 years.”14 At a 2008 symposium put on by Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI)—one of a new array of academic groups formed to study existential risk—a group of experts collectively put the overall chances of human extinction before the year 2100 at 19 percent.15 That may leave us with a better than four-in-five chance of making it to the twenty-second century, but as the existential risk expert Phil Torres points out, even a 19 percent chance of human extinction over the next century means that the average American would be 1,500 times more likely to die in an end times catastrophe than they would in a plane crash.16

In a 2003 book, Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal and the cofounder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at the University of Cambridge, put the odds of humanity successfully making it through the century on par with a coin flip—fifty-fifty. “Just a few people or even an individual can, by error or by design, cause a catastrophe that cascades very widely, even globally,” Rees told me when we spoke in 2018. “I like to say the global village will have its village idiots.” And now those village idiots are armed and dangerous.

Rees is right to focus primarily on the existential risk that emerging technologies will super-empower individuals and small groups that may harbor apocalyptic intentions. We’re as vulnerable to planetary disasters like asteroids and supervolcanoes that have wiped out life on Earth before as we ever were. But the very fact that Homo sapiens has survived and thrived for hundreds of thousands of years means that we can reasonably hope our run of luck will continue through the next century, and even longer. By one estimate the probability of human extinction from a natural catastrophe over the next century is almost certainly lower than 0.15 percent—tiny, though not zero.17 And we have something the dinosaurs and other long extinct species lacked—scientists and engineers who can defend us from the dangers above and below, provided we give them the resources and the authority they need.

But the same brains that could protect us from natural existential risks have introduced entirely new ones into the world, technological risks far greater than anything this planet could throw at us. We’re only beginning to understand how these technologies might be used, and how they might be abused. What sets them apart from existing man-made threats like nuclear weapons is that they come not just with risks, but with benefits. Synthetic biology offers us the potential to create immortal organs, powerful drugs, and crops that could keep a growing and warming planet fed. Artificial intelligence may be the most important invention in human history—and possibly the last one we’ll ever need. These technologies are “dual use”—the same science can be used for good, including to counter other existential risks, and for ill. We may not be able to tell which is which until it’s too late. There are no easy answers when it comes to the end of the world.

In 2017, I left Time to begin working on the book you’re reading now, a book that would raise the alarm about the existential threats our world faces, and ask how we might counter them. But even as I began researching the subject and speaking to experts in the field, something about it remained unreal to me, distant and abstract. This is an occupational hazard of existential risk studies. The human mind reels at the numbers—hundreds of millions of deaths, billions of deaths, total extinction. There is a term for this, too: scope neglect, our psychological inability to scale up from the small numbers of a human-level story to the vast figures of mass death. The words may not have been said by Joseph Stalin, but that doesn’t make them any less true: “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic.” I was treating the end of the world as a statistic, just as I had done for so long as a reporter with global warming.

That changed as I began to understand the most salient fact about existential risk: It’s not about us. It’s about our sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces, and all those unnamed billions, even trillions, who might come after them—but won’t, if our human story ends now.

The Oxford moral philosopher Derek Parfit proposed a thought experiment. Imagine three possible futures. In the first, there is peace. In the second, there is a nuclear war that kills 99 percent of the world’s population, leaving a sliver of survivors to carry on. In the third, a nuclear war kills 100 percent of the world’s population—every man, woman, and child, resulting in the total eradication of the human race. It doesn’t take an Oxford PhD to conclude that the first future is the best of the three, or that the third one—the extinction scenario—is the worst. And most people would instinctively conclude that the difference between peace and a nuclear holocaust that killed all but 1 percent of the world is much greater than the difference between the death of 99 percent of the global population and the death of 100 percent. Certainly that’s what the raw numbers would say. But Parfit disagreed, writing the following in his 1984 book Reasons and Persons: “Civilization began only a few thousand years ago. If we do not destroy mankind, these few thousand years may be only a tiny fraction of the whole of civilized human history. The difference between [possibilities] 2 and 3 may thus be the difference between this tiny fraction and all of the rest of history.”18

Extinction, as the environmental slogan goes, is forever.19 The true horror of the end of the world is measured not by our own deaths, and the deaths of everyone we know and love, not just by the deaths of our children and grandchildren, but by the nullification of all who would come after them, all those who would live and love and carry this species forward. An existential risk realized is the death of the future.

Basic morality calls us to do what we can to save a single life. If the world were in immediate existential peril—if, for example, a very large asteroid were bearing down on Earth—we would do whatever we could, spend whatever we had, to try to save the billions of people who live here. By that same token, shouldn’t we be even more motivated, even more desperate, to protect the future generations who would take their turn on Earth—provided we don’t destroy it all now, or let it be destroyed by inaction? If we include the future—all of the future—the stakes of what we do or don’t do in the present moment become unimaginably enormous. We could have thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of years of civilization ahead of us, but that future depends on those of us alive in the present moment.

That is what I feel now when I look at that photograph of my new family. It is the past and future made tangible in a single moment. I think of the endless chain of events that had to fall into place in the past to make my son a reality. And I think of the events that are unfolding even now to bring the entire human future into being. That chain could have ended at any time, cut short by disease or catastrophe or simple bad luck. And until very recently, if that end had come—if this species had gone extinct like so many others—there would have been little we could have done about it. Our ancestors couldn’t deflect an asteroid, or invent a vaccine to cure a killer disease. But we can. This could be the end of our times—or just the beginning. The choice and the responsibility are ours.

In the pages to come, I’ll offer a tour of existential risk, and plot a path to survival. I’ll survey the threat of asteroids and comets from space, and hunt with astronomers for the near-Earth objects that could extinguish our future on this planet. I’ll explore the underappreciated danger from the supervolcanoes that have disrupted life on this planet over and over again, including one that sits beneath America’s first national park. I’ll travel to the birthplace of man-made existential risk—Trinity Site in New Mexico, where a terrible beauty was born. I’ll tell the inside story of the climate change conferences that have failed to stop the frightening pace of global warming, and ask just what the present owes to the future. I’ll share what it was like to live through the first global disease outbreak of the twenty-first century, and why a simple virus can wreak havoc on an interconnected world. I’ll stand looking over the shoulders of the scientists remaking life with synthetic biology, and I’ll ask whether the rise of superintelligent artificial intelligence (AI) is something to be welcomed, feared, or merely disbelieved. I’ll search for extraterrestrial civilizations, and scour the so far silent cosmos for any clues it might offer for our own fate. And I’ll explain how our species can survive the unsurvivable, should existential catastrophe finally arrive.

Make no mistake—we are in mortal danger. But the existential risks that follow in these pages have called forth dedicated scientists and experts who are doing their part and more to defend our future from the end times. New organizations have been created to study existential threats across disciplines: the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, the Future of Life Institute in Boston. Combatting existential risk isn’t just a matter of devising asteroid deflectors or ensuring our future robot overlords are peaceful. It demands a new kind of scientific method, a willingness to grapple with planetary uncertainties and cosmic numbers. Original thinkers like Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Milan Ćirković, Olle Häggström, and others have shed fresh light on the ultimate fate of human beings, a subject that, despite its obvious importance, has been less studied than the life of the humble dung beetle.20 Their work inspired this book, and I will return to it again and again through these pages.

To save ourselves we need to think about the unthinkable, and not merely understand the future but feel its gravity. Our greatest existential challenge isn’t technical or political, but conceptual. We have to believe that the end of the world can happen, and at the same time we have to believe that we can do something about it. But our track record is poor.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is an academic journal founded after World War II by some of the same people who helped develop the atomic bomb. In 1947 the artist Martyl Langsdorf was tasked with creating a cover for its first issue, and she channeled her dread of the new weapon into what would become one of the most iconic symbols of the Cold War: the Doomsday Clock, its hands inching toward midnight.

From 1947 on, the people behind the Bulletin have shifted the hands of the Doomsday Clock to represent, crudely but effectively, just how close our end times might be. In 1949 it was moved to three minutes to midnight in response to the Soviet Union’s first successful test of an atomic bomb, which kick-started the nuclear arms race. After Washington and Moscow signed the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, putting an end to aboveground nuclear bomb tests, the hands were moved back to twelve minutes to midnight. And while the first decades of the Doomsday Clock focused exclusively on the threat of a nuclear holocaust, the clock continued to keep time after the Cold War ended, broadening out to include new dangers from climate change and emerging technologies. The Doomsday Clock is the closest thing we have to a thermometer of existential risk.

Each fall, the science and security board of the Bulletin—a group of top-level scientists and defense experts—meet and ask themselves two questions: Is humankind safer or at greater risk this year than the last? And is humankind safer or at greater risk this year relative to the entire history of the clock? It’s an imprecise symbol—existential risk isn’t divided up into neat sixty-minute intervals—but a grimly effective one nonetheless. It’s why one of the first trips I took for my reporting for End Times was to Washington, D.C., on January 25, 2018, to witness the Bulletin reveal the new time for the Doomsday Clock at the National Press Club. They did not disappoint. “We have come to a grim assessment,” Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the Bulletin, announced to the world. “As of today, it is two minutes to midnight.”

Only in 1953, after a year in which both the United States and the Soviet Union exploded their first hydrogen bombs—weapons of mass destruction far more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—had the clock been this close to striking midnight. The construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War—none posed as great a threat to the further existence of the human race as the events of 2017, at least according to the hands of the Doomsday Clock. The Bulletin experts cited an array of factors: North Korea’s atomic breakout, uncertainty over the future of the Iranian nuclear deal, a planned U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the spread of cyberhacking, and of course, an unpredictable President Donald Trump. But what mattered more than the reasons behind the clock’s move—all debatable—was the time itself, and how little might remain for us. “These are dangerous, dangerous times,” Bronson told me after the announcement. “This is not your father’s Cold War.”

In the movie version of this story, Bronson and her Bulletin colleagues would have been delivering their alarm to an overflowing crowd of journalists in the nation’s capital. Cable news shows would have interrupted their regular programming to cover the announcement live, and print newspapers would have broken out their wartime headline font. The Doomsday Clock is about nothing less than the fate of the entire human race, all seven and a half billion of us, and all those who might come after. There should be nothing more important.

Yet only a handful of journalists were with me in the audience that January morning in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge, asking only a handful of desultory follow-up questions. The Doomsday Clock would not go unmentioned by the media—fear makes for good press—but most outlets would treat it as one more data point in a world going madder by the day, to be overtaken almost immediately by the next story, the next scandal.

As I walked out of the National Press Club that morning, I could witness the forgetting already unfolding on cable news playing in the building’s lobby. The breaking stories were about how Trump would perform at the upcoming World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland, how global demand for iPhones was slowing down, how the midterm elections were shaping up. On one screen ninety-four-year-old Henry Kissinger, a ghost from an earlier doomsday, croaked his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The clock kept ticking—our clock, our time. And no one seemed to care.

We must care. We can’t give in to apathy, just as we can’t give in to panic or despair. We face enormous challenges, and so many of them are of our own making. But we can overcome them, for our sake and for the sake of generations to come. I know the future that I’m fighting for. I can look in his eyes. And we can begin that fight together, by casting our eyes to the skies above.


The Universe Is Trying to Kill Us



  • TIME MAGAZINE, "11 New Books to Read in August!"

    ECO WATCH, "Best Environmental Books of August"
  • "A harrowing chronicle of a range of threats that could bring about human extinction in the not-so-distant future."—The Washington Post
  • "Instead of freaking out, read End Times. It's a wise and weirdly hopeful journey into civilization's darkest nightmares."—Jeff Goodell, author of The Water Will Come
  • "It's not easy thinking about all the ways the world can end, let alone writing a whole book about them. But Bryan Walsh has managed the feat and then some, delivering a book that's as analytically astute as it is terrifically written. It takes a special kind of writer to pull this off, and in Bryan Walsh we found him."—Ian Bremmer, New York Times bestselling author of Us Versus Them: The Failure of Globalism
  • "In End Times, Bryan Walsh has put together the loudest, scariest wake-up call possible. And yet it's not a book without hope: Walsh lays out a challenging series of believable scenarios that can allow human beings to thrive along with our fellow earth-dwellers, in a way that requires only qualities we already have: compassion, intelligence, focus, and determination."—Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and bestselling author
  • "Bryan Walsh has reported from the front lines of the 21st century's first pandemic and the backrooms of the war against climate change. He knows science, geopolitics and more. In End Times, he has put together an invaluable guide to living through the worst of times, and offers hope that we might just be able to survive them."—Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of China Syndrome: The True Story of the 21st Century's First Great Epidemic
  • "We are all going to die, but never before have we been so likely to all do it at the same time. Beyond the alarm and the science, the nuclear showdowns and the climate disasters, rests the bigger question of how we humans contend with the impermanence of our own existence. Bryan Walsh's gripping thought experiment reminds us that the only truly permanent thing we humans can do is go extinct."—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now
  • "It takes a bold reporter and subtle thinker to survey the mortal threats we face and find a way towards hope; yet that is what Bryan Walsh has done in this terrifying, fascinating exploration of existential risk. Cascading catastrophes of the manmade kind are so frightful to consider that we naturally look the other way; but Walsh invites us to reckon with the world we've made, a crucial step towards taking responsibility for saving us from ourselves. The asteroids, the supervolcanoes, the plagues are not of our making; but the nukes, the climate disruption, the weaponized pathogens and challenges of AI are. With a storyteller's art and a scientists tools, Walsh helps us think the unthinkable, takes us to the observatories and laboratories where the future is made. Travel with him to doomsday and back, and nothing looks the same."—Nancy Gibbs, coauthor of New York Times bestseller The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity
  • "Walsh does wonders in unknotting the dizzying agendas fueling many of the existential risks explored in END TIMES."—Scientific Inquirer
  • "A disturbing, riveting, and ultimately hopeful call to arms."—KIRKUS
  • "Walsh interviews people at the forefront of many industries - from government offices to NASA to research labs - working to avoid global catastrophes. Through his findings, Walsh furthers our understanding of what an apocalypse might look like and digs into the biggest threats facing our world."—TIME
  • "Walsh doesn't revel in sensationalistic pessimism. He interviews biologists, climatologists, anthropologists, geologists, astronomers, and even a moral philosopher to grapple with a tough subject: human extinction."—Publishers Weekly
  • "END TIMES isn't all doom and gloom. Walsh adds some lightness to otherwise grim visions of humankind's future by sprinkling in humor and colorful anecdotes throughout the book, like a story about his visit to an insect food fair [...] Ultimately, END TIMES serves as a wake-up call, letting people know that 'we're not helpless.'"—Science News
  • "Grow out your apocalypse beard and strap on your doomsday sandwich board, we're all gonna die! End Times takes an unflinching look at the myriad ways the world might end -- from planet-smashing asteroids and humanity-smothering supervolcanoes to robotic revolutions and hyper-intelligent AIs."—Engadget
  • "A comprehensive, terrifying, but ultimately hopeful new book."—Vox, Future Perfect
  • "Walsh details the science on existential risks, from supervolcanoes to global war - many of them amplified by chaotic governance. [...] as billionaires focus on escape [...] Walsh envisions survival for the rest of us - a scenario of subterranean refugees subsisting on insects, fungi and rats."—Nature
  • "A much needed and very revealing book everybody interested in the universe will enjoy."—Washington Book Review
  • "I travel a lot for work, and End Times is a fascinating book that will make any flight go faster. Walsh lays out all of the insane ways human kind can end. Volcanos, asteroids, hostile AI, disease, and perhaps the most terrifying of all-the robot uprising. Walsh balances out terror by detailing how likely these situations really are, as well as the best strategies for saving ourselves."—Ryan Serhant, bestselling author of Sell It Like Serhant

On Sale
Aug 27, 2019
Hachette Audio

Bryan Walsh

About the Author

A graduate of Princeton University, BRYAN WALSH worked as a foreign correspondent, reporter, and editor for TIME for over 15 years. He founded the award-winning Ecocentric blog on TIME.com and has reported from more than 20 countries on science and environmental stories like SARS, global warming, and extinction. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and son.

Learn more about this author