Scientist and author Clifford Pickover poses the question, "Can creatures dream of things beyond their sensory capacity?" Clearly Pickover thinks humans can--to some extent, at least. To this end, he wrote The Science of Aliens
, an intriguing book featuring chapters such as "What Aliens Look Like," "Origin of Alien Life," and "Alien Abduction." And, of course, "Alien Sex." (Don't say you weren't curious.) To stimulate the reader's imagination, Pickover focuses on the characteristics of the earth's creatures--their appearance, their senses, their environments, their sexual behaviors--and argues that this diversity pales in comparison to the far wider possibilities in alien worlds.
Whether or not you believe in life on other planets, the artist's renditions of creatures such as Cheelas, Mesklinites, and Radiates from SF novels, as well as mathematical "alien messages" to decipher, are a real treat. (Here's an easy one: "Aliens are waiting for humanity to replace the question mark with the next value in the sequence before they will consider us worthy for further communication: 77, 49, 36, 18, ?") He also raises interesting issues; for example, what form would art take for creatures sensitive to smells or heat rather than light? To top it off, Pickover includes examples of potential interplanetary humor taboos: "Don't make puns around Scolexes because it outrages their sense of linguistic symmetry, which they've fought holy wars over." SF fans will enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking book. --C.B. Delaney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Clifford T. Pickover is on the research staff of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. He is a regular columnist for Discover Magazine and an associate editor for the magazines Computers and Graphics, Computers and Physics, Odyssey, and Theta. His many previous books include Mazes for the Mind; Keys to Infinity; Computers and the Imagination; Can You Escape?; Black Holes: A Traveler’s Guide; and The Alien IQ Test.