One of the great pleasures of working on Interstellar has been getting to know Kip Thorne. His infectious enthusiasm for science was obvious from our first conversation, as was his reluctance to proffer half-formed opinions. His approach to all the narrative challenges that I threw him was always calm, measured and above all, scientific. In trying to keep me on the path of plausibility, he never showed impatience with my unwillingness to accept things on trust (although my two-week challenge to his faster-than-light prohibition might have elicited a gentle sigh). He saw his role not as science police, but as narrative collaborator—scouring scientific journals and academic papers for solutions to corners I’d written myself into. Kip has taught me the defining characteristic of science—its humility in the face of nature’s surprises. This attitude allowed him to enjoy the possibilities that speculative fiction presented for attacking paradox and unknowability from a different angle—storytelling. This book is ample demonstration of Kip’s lively imagination and his relentless drive to make science accessible to those of us not possessed of his massive intellect or his immense body of knowledge. He wants people to understand and get excited about the crazy truths of our universe. This book is structured to let the reader dip in to a topic as deeply as their affinity for science prompts them—no one is left behind, and everyone gets to experience some of the fun I had trying to keep up with Kip’s agile mind.
Los Angeles, California July 29, 2014