By Ty Burr
Updated December 23, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

Possibly the least-read best-selling book since The Name of the Rose, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History eloquently explained particle physics and black holes for mainstream readers, who were probably more interested in its author’s personal drama (Hawking suffers from the debilitating effects of Lou Gehrig’s disease). A Brief History of Time: An Interactive Adventure, a somewhat dummied-down version of the book, reorganizes Hawking’s ideas into playful multimedia slide shows. But whether you click around to absorb knowledge randomly or follow the ”linear argument” mode, you’ll be put off by the ornery interface, synthesized-voice narration (Hawking himself, but it would be nice to be able to turn it off), and downright ugly illustrations. For all the interactive huffing and puffing, the book remains the easier read. C