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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Contact Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is December 1999, the dawn of the millennium, and a team of international scientists is poised for the most fantastic adventure in human history. After years of scanning the galaxy for signs of somebody or something else, this team believes they've found a message from an intelligent source--and they travel deep into space to meet it. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan injects Contact, his prophetic adventure story, with scientific details that make it utterly believable. It is a Cold War era novel that parlays the nuclear paranoia of the time into exquisitely wrought tension among the various countries involved. Sagan meditates on science, religion, and government--the elements that define society--and looks to their impact on and role in the future. His ability to pack an exciting read with such rich content is an unusual talent that makes Contact a modern sci-fi classic. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Who could be better qualified than the author of the highly successful Cosmos to turn the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and humankind's first contact with it, into imaginative reality? This is precisely what Sagan does in this eagerly awaited and, as it turns out, engrossing first novel. The basic plot is very simple. A worldwide system of radio telescopes, in the charge of brilliant astrophysicist Ellie Arroway, picks up a "Message" from outer space. Ellie is instrumental in decoding the message and building the "Machine" for which it gives instructions (despite stiff opposition from religious fundamentalists and those scientists and politicians who fear it may be a Trojan Horse). Then she and fellow members of a small multinational team board the machine, take a startling trip into outer spaceand on their return must convince the scientific community that they are not the perpetrators of a hoax. Sagan's characters, mostly scientists, are credible without being memorable, and he supplies a love interest that is less than compelling. However, his informed and dramatically enacted speculations into the mysteries of the universe, taken to the point where science and religion touch, make his story an exciting intellectual adventure and science fiction of a high order. First serial to Discover Magazine; BOMC selection. Foreign rights: S & S. October 1
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671004107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671004101
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (405 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I couldn't recommend a better science fiction book!
She also evokes all the varying moods of the story, conveying Sagan's sense of awe and wonder at the beauty and majesty of the universe.
Larry Bridges
Every character seems almost perfect from the point of view of the book.
Avid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Atheen on May 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like most of his work, Sagan puts across the sciences and professions of astronomy and astrophysics across for the lay reader with great ability and an obvious feeling for his subject and his readers. I enjoyed the humanness of his characters, the realities of their work world, and the science in which they were involved. I read the book before watching the video and felt, as I usually do, that the book was better. One can always create more side plots and develop to a greater extent the individual characters in a volume of so many pages, which the reader can set aside at will and return to as needed. The director must stick to a central theme and be constantly mindful of budgetary constraints. I also thought the relationship of the heroine with her father was more intense and surprising in the book than in the movie.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A. Ferguson on April 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Contact is grand, it is epic, and it is vast in it's hypotheses and plotline. However, it is also one of the most touching and personable books you will ever read.

I agree with others who have said that the twists and turns in the plot are fantastic. No doubt. But my favorite thing about this book is Ellie's character - her tenacity, her passion, and her undaunted *faith* while yet an athiest and a scientist. Sagan develops an array of interesting characters, with different backgrounds and belief systems, who respond to the first-contact experience in unique ways. As much as Contact is a story about first-contact with aliens, it is as much or even moreso a pondering about humanity, our strengths and weaknesses, and the delicate differences through which we strive to find common ground.

You should know that there are a few significant differences between the book and the movie (I did like the movie very much by the way, and felt Jodie Foster did a superb job as Ellie). The following are "minor spoilers". In other words, they are subtle hints at what you may have missed if you only saw the movie, but, I have not outright told you what is in the book either:

1) Palmer Joss's character looks quite different in the book, and has a different background, than the hot-bodied heart-throb portrayed in the movie by McConaughey (McConaughey did well with the part written for him, in my opinion). Also Ellie does not have a physically intimate relationship with Joss, although she does with more than one other character in the book.

2) Ellie's mom and stepdad have key roles, while her deceased dad does not appear as often.

3) Ellie is not the only person who meets the Caretakers (aliens).
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Larry Bridges on December 21, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
The only science fiction novel by a prominent astronomer who was the late twentieth century's foremost popularizer of science was bound to be something special, and Carl Sagan's "Contact" certainly is. No other science fiction novel is quite like it in its thrilling realism; one can easily believe that a sequence of events similar to that in the book could begin taking place tomorrow. The book is filled with a plethora of wonderful plot twists, fascinating details of scientific fact and speculation, and unexpected bits of characterization that only Sagan could have thought to include. Sagan, who apparently considered himself a "spiritual agnostic," explored religious as well as scientific issues in this work, and the result is arguably heretical if seen from a traditional religious standpoint -- but not heretical in the specific way a reader might initially expect. Indeed, the story's climactic twist makes "Contact" into a twentieth-century equivalent of "Paradise Lost" -- a work which, while subtly heretical, is one of the most awe-inspiringly religious books ever written.
Jodie Foster's reading of "Contact" on this recording is absolutely superb. She differentiates between the voices of all the characters and her own voice as narrator -- even her voice for Ellie Arroway, the character she played in the movie of "Contact," is a subtly more energetic and characterful version of her normal voice. Foster also employs about seven different accents (counting her usual American accent) in the course of the recording, moving effortlessly from one to another when characters from several different countries have conversations.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David Nied on June 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Carl Sagan


You are about to embark on a journey through time and space, and get the opportunity to observe and evaluate the very thoughts of the author and ppreciate the author's scientific intuition. You will assimilate the moral, ethical, and philosophical issues that arise from the discovery of the "Message" and the building of the "Machine." Most importantly, you will discover that a relationship exists between scientific and philosophical disciplines, and enjoy some good old fashion story telling mixed in just for fun.


To understand the book is to understand the man. Our distinguished author has many credits to his name. He was the Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies and David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University. He was part of the team responsible for the Viking, Mariner, and Voyager Expeditions. He received NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and for Distinguished Public Service. He was past chairman of the Division for Planetary Sciences and the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Four hundred of his scientific and popular articles have been published. Additionally, he was the author and co-author of several other books including : "Intelligent Life in the Universe," "The Cosmic Connection," "The Dragons of Eden," "Murmurs of Earth," "Broca's Brain," "Comet," his most famous - "Cosmos," "A Path Where No Man Thought," an expose' of the nuclear winter scenario, and his last - "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors." He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in literature in 1978; he was also a champion of both human and Earth rights.
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