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Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials 2007th Edition
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From the reviews:
"Will we find extraterrestrial intelligence - and should we want to? Such are the questions examined in Contact with Alien Civilizations. Michael A.G. Michaud, a space policy analyst and former diplomat, provides an engrossing overview of the probabilities, promises, and risks of encountering smart aliens. Drawing heavily on the scientific and scholarly literature (he apologizes for not thoroughly discussing science fiction), Michaud's approach is to compile diverse expert opinions on alien-related topics and relentlessly scrutinize premises about what the extraterrestrials would be like. His analysis suggests that contact is a serious - and not necessarily pleasant - possibility....
Space exploration, Michaud suggests persuasively, is a way of spreading humanity's bets amid the current uncertainty as to who else might be out there. If intelligent extraterrestrials are detected, then being a spacefaring civilization will place us in a stronger position to deal with them, whether cooperatively or not. And if no contact occurs, then expanding beyond Earth could help ensure the survival of at least one civilization -our own- in a universe where civilized life is rare and hard to find."
(Kenneth Silber, The Space Review, Monday, July 9, 2007)
"Michaud deals with what may happen when we finally come face to face with beings from distant worlds. … A tremendous amount of research has gone into this book, and the extensive reference lists are by far the best that I have seen covering this topic. … there is no doubt that the reference lists alone make the book essential to anyone setting out to make a serious study of possible intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos." (Patrick Moore, BBC Sky at Night, April, 2007)
"This wide-ranging book … looks into the possibility of contact with ET, examines the implications of SETI from all conceivable angles: scientific, philosophical and cultural. … this book is a remarkably uplifting one in the context of the possibilities it describes and the potential for the human race. Upon reading this superb book, easily the best on the subject that I have come across, what conclusions will you draw from it?" (Keith Cooper, Astronomy Now, 2007)
"Michael Michaud’s Contact with Alien Civilizations is a well-informed, impressively researched presentation of an often fantastical subject. … I’d recommend this book as ideal for anyone interested in a broad … detailed view of a thought-provoking subject." (De Witt Douglas Kilgore, Space Times, July/August, 2007)
"Michaud points to the limits of our technology as well as to SETI searches limited in their coverage. … He highlights the complexities, difficulties, and disappointments that go with trying to establish a code of conduct for the legal aspects of encountering aliens. … This is a timely book; there is not a dull word in it. Recommended." (P. Chapman-Rietschi, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1200), October, 2007)
"Michaud explores the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life and whether humanity should actively pursue or not. … A mind opener to the possibility of extraterrestrial life, beneficial to any reader. Well written and organized; extensive bibliography. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates." (A. Gider, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (11), July, 2007)
From the Back Cover
This book describes a wide variety of speculations by many authors about the consequences for humanity of coming into contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. The assumptions underlying those speculations are examined, and some conclusions are drawn. As necessary background, the book also includes brief summaries of the history of thinking about extraterrestrial intelligence, searches for life and for signals, contrasting paradigms of how contact might take place, and the paradox that those paradigms allegedly create.
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Top Customer Reviews
The text runs to 376 dense pages. There are 72 pages of "References," although I wish there were a separate bibliography in which the works referenced were presented alphabetically by author. I don't find this newfangled practice of omitting a bibliography convenient. Regardless Michaud seems to quote just about anybody even remotely connected with SETI including many scientific lights, Carl Sagan, David Darling, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Drake, Seth Shostak, Jill Tarter, Frank Tipler, et al., along with scifi literary illuminati like Olaf Stapledon, not to mention religious people, politicians, and even a poet or two.
He begins with what he calls "a condensed history of speculations...up to 1959" which is followed by "brief descriptions of the scientific searches" for ETs and their signals, and then he launches into a step by step consideration of the Drake equation. He brings us up to date on the latest thinking. As most SETI knowledgeable people know, the Drake equation on the probability of there being intelligent life elsewhere has been given a big boost in recent years by the discovery of planets revolving around other stars, and by our learning just how inhospitable environments can be and still harbor microbial life, as in deep ocean vents and far down into the earth's crust.Read more ›
I admit being biased a bit. I have worked with the author a few times in trying to make sense of SETI, especially the issue of whether Earth civilization should start shouting at the cosmos ([...]) in order to draw attention to this little planet. This book is among the few places where a reader can get a balanced view of the arguments, hearing all sides and getting a chance to weigh things for yourself.
David Brin (With permission of Cheryl!)
I strongly recommend it for the serious reader. ET is not a laughing matter, it is the most chalenging paradigm shift we will experience in human history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first hard science book, to my knowledge, that deals with UFOs, intelligent design & the anthropic principle with less than a dismissive attitude, so for all you... Read morePublished 14 months ago by J. Taylor
How likely is it that humans will, within some reasonable timeframe, make contact with intelligent aliens? And if we do, what might the consequences of this contact be? Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by K. Bunker
This is an excellent work by one of our most brilliant minds in the field of earthly diplomacy.
We can, of course, have no idea how and where we may discover intelligent... Read more
This book is the most thoroughly-researched and closely-referenced work I have ever read. For another reviewer to give it 1 star is totally disingenuous and quite insulting to the... Read morePublished on July 10, 2011 by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard "Ed"
If one is narrowly focused in ruminating about the notion of Extra-Terrestrial contact, this book ought to advance and instill a much broader range of consideration within all... Read morePublished on January 20, 2009 by Jimbo83478