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Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Paperback – September 8, 1997
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Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Otherwise, the book is very enjoyable, and provides a cogent discussion of where Carl Sagan thinks we should aim our space program.
Pale Blue Dot is a journey in time and space. Beginning with the assertion that we're natural wanderers, being the only species to settle across our world, it continues with a plea to extend further our exploration of space. The early chapters challenge restrictions on our desire to explore and learn. Sagan demonstrates how foolish minds have restrained our quest for knowledge of the cosmos. He then takes us on a tour of the solar system, exhibiting the wonders revealed by the fleet of robot probes. He reminds us of the forces the cosmos can unleash, sometimes right in our neighbourhood. Like many of the rest of us, Sagan was awed by the collision of a comet with the Jovian gas giant. It was a hint of what might lay in store for us if we fail to understand the universe better than we do now. The space probes also returned images of worlds invalidating existing theories of planetary formation. If our own neighbours can present such bizarre structures, what kinds of worlds ride beyond our ken, circling suns we can barely imagine? What Sagan can't portray, he can conjecture. With his firm working scientist's foundation, Sagan's speculations command respectful attention.
This book must be shelved alongside Richard Dawkins THE SELFISH GENE and THE BLIND WATCHMAKER.Read more ›
I have never written a review on Amazon before, and I have been coming here for years. I had to say something about this. After I finish this, I plan on emailing the publisher with the same review.
Wow. A book named Pale Blue Dot, inspired by the famous photograph of the Earth of the same name. It is referenced in the first few chapters heavily and Prof. Sagan asks us to visit and revisit the photo several times as he builds his introduction. I think to myself "Great! Can't wait to see it. Now where is it?" This then led to the disappointing finding that there are no pictures at all in this printing. None, not one, not even just the one of the Pale Blue Dot image itself. How can you publish a book inspired by a photo and not include the picture itself, not even a low res poorly printed picture? All you get is a few instructions to look at it, but you won't be able to look at it in here. Apparently, the hardback and first soft-back printing had photos. I guess I can understand (not like, mind you) why the decision was made to eliminate photos, but to get rid of the Pale Blue Dot photo is mind boggling. Surely this decision couldn't have been made on purpose. Surely, this was just an oversight. If this was a conscious decision, then it speaks volumes about how Ballantine views this work and it makes you wonder if they have any idea why it was written in the first place.
Anyway thanks for listening.
Sequels are usually disappointing. This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the original. I had read this book in hardcover and ended up buying my own paperback copy while in Ithaca (Sagan's hometown) because I had nothing to read and a long ride back home.
I'm a fan of Sagan - can't help it - because even though he's a brilliant scientist, he somehow manages to be a great writer as well. This book is no exception. Sagan's basic idea is that the destiny of humanity is to expand out to the stars. And even though this idea reeks with echoes of Manifest Destiny, I have to agree. In Manifest Destiny, there were Indians - here, no intelligent life that we know of. And if there is something out there, wouldn't we want to know about it?
Like so many great works of popular science, Sagan starts out by tracing the changes in our views of the world, from our conceit that we were the center of the Universe to the backwater position that we're in today. Sagan's idea of generalized chauvinisms comes up - first in place (the obvious), then in time (if there was other intelligent life, it's not around any more), and, if I recall correctly, in chemical basis (life must be made out of carbon). He refutes all these ideas - and why not? Who said that silicon can't conquer the universe?
My personal favorite part of the book is Chapter 5, "Is There Intelligent Life On Earth?" Sagan asks us to "[imagine yourself as] an alien explorer entering the Solar system after a long journey through the blackness of interstellar space". As we examine the Earth at finer and finer resolution, what do we see?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Presented with the title, one might be inclined to assume that this is either a non-fiction book about spaceships or a science-fiction novel along the lines of Contact (an... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Austin Scott Collins
A must-read for amateur astronomers and general space enthusiasts. A book filled with profound yet simple ideas and insights that can never really be "dated".Published 21 days ago by Kyle R.
Everyone should read this book. And have a chance to hear him speak.Published 1 month ago by hockey guy
A great read. Gives us a perspective about our place in the universe.Published 2 months ago by Apurva
I love Carl Sagan, and liked his quotes, so I ordered the book. Some parts are more technical and complicated than I was interested in going.Published 2 months ago by Sandra D.