Will the universe end with a bang or a bounce?

The cosiest way to read The End of Everything, Katie Mack’s fast-paced book about universal death, is as a murder mystery. Everything in spacetime, including the reader’s understanding of much of the story, is in the shadows. Black holes, quarks and gluons, Cepheid variables, the Concordance Model? Mere words, strewn across the floor. Believability, restraint and common sense? Left at the door. In the middle of the carpet is our butchered universe. How did it die? Squashed (‘The Big Crunch’)? Boiled (‘Heat Death’)? Eviscerated (‘The Big Rip’)? Burst apart from every pore (‘Vacuum Decay’)? To one side, almost dancing with excitement, is Inspector Mack, a theoretical astro-physicist at Carolina State