- Hardcover: 466 pages
- Publisher: Copernicus; 2007 edition (November 14, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0387285989
- ISBN-13: 978-0387285986
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials 2007th Edition
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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.
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Top customer reviews
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Planning for any form of alien encounter (radio contact, beacons, actual visitors, solar system artifacts, etc.) carries with it an exhaustive array of assumptions, unintended effects, uncertainties, and wild cards: how do we prepare for and what can we expect when the day of reckoning arrives? We are basically clueless and our history/anthropocentric experiences are of little help. Quoted book contributors do not provide answers, but instead explore ideas, possibilities and issues.
The material also covers matters regarding why contact has not already occurred, different types of communications, cultural reactions, religious implications, plausible political impacts, potential economic consequences, SETI efforts, the Drake Equation and its variations, the role of probability, and a plethora of imaginative related topics. This is a multidisciplinary subject.
This is a really good, fascinating read and can easily digested by anyone interested in the subject; physicists, chemists, biologists, economists, historians, linguists, politicians, and the causal reader; it is well done.
The author covers the search for extraterrestrials and what might happen if we find them from just about every angle in considerable detail. Significantly, he brings us up to speed with the latest thinking on the Drake equation, and his considerations go some way to answering the Fermi Paradox.
It's very difficult for a work as dense and complicated as this to provide a review that does it justice. I would simply urge anyone with an interest in SETI and possible contact scenarios to read this book. It does indeed seem to be the mother of all such books in this genre and clearly represents many years' of learning and experience - as well as work - on the part of the author.
To his credit the author keeps the tone of the book soberly factual and objective throughout, when it would have been easy for him to delve into areas that are the preserve of science fiction fans. If he's repetitive, its because its difficult not to be in a work that is treating a purely speculative subject. Personally, I don't feel the relatively small amount of repetition is a problem - it merely serves to highlight the totally speculative nature of the entire discourse. We may or may not encounter extraterrestrials for a myriad of reasons. They may or may not wish to communicate with us for another myriad of reasons.
But easy bedtime reading this is not - it's a dense, tightly-packed theoretical work loaded with thoughts, theories, questions and issues touching on science, philosophy, ethics, politics and history. In my view the author does full justice to what must be a very difficult subject to write well about.
This book is not easy but is well worth the effort - I urge any interested reader to pick it up. It's definitely a title I'm going to be holding onto.
Most recent customer reviews
We can, of course, have no idea how and where we may discover...Read more