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Contact Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1997
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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 the Library Binding edition.
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 the Library Binding edition.
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Whether you believe or not in the arguments Dr. Sagan is presenting, you end the book with a deeper respect for human life and human achievements. You are led to think on how humble our planet is when compared tho the billions of stars (and possible satellite platens). As Dr. Carl Sagan himself often wrote, whether there is extraterrestrial life or not, you end up realizing how important is life here on earth. You start looking at things at a a certain distance and this is very positive.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in speculating about our place in the universe: there are no answers, but suggestions to make you think about Humanity. But I also recommend this book to those who are very satisfied with their faith, because the mere observation of how far human mind can lead a scientist's thought seems to be the reflection a of an Architect's inner thoughts.
No matter what your faith is. No matter if you do not profess any faith at all, or if your mind is purely rational, skeptic, You will end up thinking a lot about your place in the Universe and in my opinion this alone makes the book worth reading. But there are other very pleasant and intelligent qualities in this book. After all it was written by a very respected scientist and science-writer. I have read all other books written by Dr. Sagan and it seems like he poured into this book his very hopes about extraterrestrial intelligence, all based on a very credible and logic reasoning. You end the reading with the idea that you have not been fooled at all. On the contrary, Dr. Sagan's ideas are very logic and after all acceptable.
What Carl has done here is an attempt to imagine what first contact with an alien civilization would be for Earth, but utilizing a background of science rather than science fiction. It's a look at how two civilizations, grown up in different systems with little if anything in common would communicate (spoilers: a long transmission utilizing prime numbers as they don't occur naturally in nature). He proceeds with all the relations to human civilization that such a transmission would bring about, in terms of religion, culture, social interaction, interaction between nations and politics, the economics of (spoiler: building a machine with blueprints that the aliens have transmitted), and the search for what it means to know that we are definitely not alone.
It's deeper than I'm making it sound, of course.
The style is definitely different than most novels, which may be a little odd, but it's worth it. Give it a read or watch the movie. Free on Amazon for Prime members.