• List Price: $29.95
  • Save: $13.42 (45%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 25? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by apex_media
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ships direct from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $25. Overnight and 2 day shipping available!
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $0.78
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials Hardcover

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
"Please retry"
Rent from
"Please retry"
$16.53 $9.53

Frequently Bought Together

Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials + Communion: A True Story
Price for both: $29.06

Buy the selected items together
  • Communion: A True Story $12.53

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 81%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

100 M&T
100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime
Looking for something good to read? Browse our picks for 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime, brought to you by the Amazon Book Editors.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 2007 edition (December 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387285989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387285986
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 10 customer reviews
If you need your mind stretched, this is a book to buy.
Leo J. Moser
170-71) It's possible that sufficiently complex self-replicating machines could "evolve" into something with intentions very different from that of their creators.
Dennis Littrell
The book is 450 pages long and includes over 1,500 reference notes.
K. Bunker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Before the publication of David Grinspoon's Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life (2003), which I highly recommend (see my review), I was frankly starved for speculations and information about the search for extraterrestrial life. With this volume however I think I am sated. This could be called the mother of all SETI books and then some.

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 ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By David Brin on November 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this excellent tome: Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials, by Michael Michaud. Unlike many other books about the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life, this one does not leap upon a simple, single "explanation" for the apparent loneliness of humanity, but rather lays out some of the scope and range of this wide-open field, showing some of the disputes that have made this such a colorful field in recent years.

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!)
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Troy Gordon on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is most definitely well researched. The author goes to great pains to present every possible angle to the reader and provide them with famous lines from greats in the field like Carl Sagan. The ideas presented can be quite interesting, and likely new to anybody who is not already involved in the science behind the search. The downfall of the book is that the author says the same things a hundred different times in several different chapters. It gets old, repetitive, and boring quite quickly. I honestly feel the 376 pages of text could have been done in far fewer, but somehow a smaller book would have appeared less informed/intelligent/scholarly. The history in the beginning is interesting, but once you get into the thought provoking hypothesizing middle and end, it drones. I can't recommend any other options, and if you can read dry school texts that remind you of English grammar class in high school and enjoy it, this book may be worth while. I was fighting to finish this book, constantly bored with it, and I love to read. Could have been a great read, but the organization and repetition makes you brain wonder what else there is in the world it would rather be doing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert G. Morris on March 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Michael Michaud has performed a service for the specialized as well as the lay reader with this comprehensive review of who might be out there, how do we find out and how might we react. The subject is inherently difficult not only for its immense scope and implications but also for its nearly inextricable linking with the world of science fiction and fantasy. Michaud remains objective throughout and this cold objectivity makes his story all the more fascinating and compelling. The book is free of sensationalism, making no play at all on the science fiction aspects of the subjects. Nevertheless, the author doesn't shy away from popular subjects like space colonization and interstellar flight.

In thirty-three unnumbered chapters the author organizes his presentation under such headings as Searching for Intelligence; Probabilities of Life, Intelligence, Civilization, Technology and Science; Direct Contact, Why Don't We See Them?; a marvelous exposition on Reformulating the Problem; Contact Scenarios, Fears, Dangers; After Contact; and Some Conclusions Drawn.

The arrangement of headings, different typefaces and boxes in the text make the information easily accessible. The language is clear, never pedantic.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?