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Alien Life Imagined: Communicating the Science and Culture of Astrobiology 1st Edition
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Scientific Teaching Series
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Top Customer Reviews
All that aside, I found the book to be a useful overview of the history of human thinking on alien intelligence, from ancient times through the present day. I got the book because I had just taken an online course in atrobiology and thought the historical context would help round out my understanding, and certainly "Alien Life" does demonstrate a deft grasp of the philsophical sweep over time, relative to "other worlds," other beings, but I THOUGHT (and caveat emptor on me) I was going to get more engagement with some of the prime forces imagining alien life today--the various science fiction conceptions. I felt that without this engagement, the work was not as complete as it might have been.
In the past 100 years, artists, writers, and scientists have tackled the topic with a vengeance. Remember HG Wells? Solaris? 2001? Carl Sagan?
Blake discusses many contributors to the popular understanding of alien life. However, I was irked at some of his omissions. Examples: Did cultures who had never heard of the Greeks have a perspective on aliens? Did women approach the topic differently than men? And there are numerous other authors and movies that have shaped the current Western perspective toward alien life - Alien and Dune come to mind, and I really thought District 9 was powerful. What about the influence of Star Trek, or Star Wars? And what do we know about the relationship of belief in aliens versus fantasy worlds involving hobbits, unicorns, or the Game of Thrones?
The book had more promise than content, the fleshing out of lecture notes rather than a comprehensive review of the topic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I ordered this book expecting that it would be filled with many ideas about how aliens might be formed. Read morePublished on February 20, 2013 by Amazon Customer
The ancient Greeks were as creative a people as any in history and the notion of extraterrestrial life as a viable reality probably begins with them. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by Michael Birman
This is an academic book, written in a very erudite manner, which discusses how alien life was imagined in different time periods. Read morePublished on February 14, 2013 by Metallurgist