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Showing 1-10 of 153 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 517 reviews
on April 15, 2015
In the second decade of the 21st century, we have discovered hundreds of planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. Additionally, we are discovering life on our own planet in the most unlikely and extreme of environments - environments until recently were thought to be unable to support "life as we know it.". These discoveries make the question of life elsewhere in the universe more and more relevant while at the same time we become closer and closer to an answer. Noted astronomer, Carl Sagan was a pioneer and advocate of seeking answers to these questions and posed these themes in his foresightful 1980 novel, _Contact_. Not only does he ponder the question of life in the universe, he also wrestles with the question of how God and how our perceptions of God change if we discover that life does exists elsewhere. Is there a way to resolve the seemingly unresolvable tenets of science and religion? Political manipulation is an additional theme explored in the novel. Sagan successfully weaves these themes into an engaging read that ultimately asks more questions than it answers, but provides a variety of points of view from which we may eventually have to come to some resolution.
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on December 9, 2016
I was curious to read Carl Sagan's writing, and I was delighted to find a book that was original and from chapter to chapter, well organized and well written. And then, there is the question of the content - which I will not spoil for interested readers. Definitely worth reading!
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on May 28, 2014
I rated this book 5 stars because it respecfully portrays human awe in the presence of our philosophic questions: who are we, where are we going after this life, are we alone in the universe? The believers of the many faiths in the world are each one displaying different behaviours when asked this questions, but all are equally considered in the book. It sounds like the very old motto : there are various paths to God.
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.
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on September 27, 2016
Carl Sagan was the best and this book is extremely interesting in many ways. The technical explanations are clear and very easy to understand. The story itself is super and his choice of heroine over hero works out perfectly. Sagan's mission to help us understand science is a very good mission accomplished.
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on September 7, 2017
For some reason I struggled getting through this. It just didn't move. I can't put my finger on any specific reason, Sagan is a great writer and top notch communicator. Ellie is a fantastic main character. Joss and the defense guy are a little two dimensional, as is her mentor. Oh, and Had on, the less said the better. I guess now I see why I had some trouble.
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on August 1, 2012
Good book to pick up.

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.
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on October 18, 2015
One of my favorite films, and now one of my favorite books. This book is heavy on science and light on action, so if that isn't your thing you might not enjoy those parts. I found them exhilarating, but thought the long drawn out discussions about the *meaning* and *importance* of everything was overdone. Still, I thought it was wonderful and look forward to re-reading it many times.
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on November 11, 2016
Reading the book was more of a deep emotional experience than watching the movie. The movie had several moments that gave me chills -- in a good way. The book was more of a slow burn. Far more detailed; far more... everything. In a way, the movie provides more frequent emotional gratification and "wow" moments. It has to -- it's a movie. But this book goes deeper will touch you in a way that only a good book can. It will leave you to contemplate the unknown with a kind of optimism that Sagan is apparently known for. This book makes me want to read more of his work, and will likely do the same for you.
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on May 3, 2017
As most people, I've seen the movie a few times. The book is much different. Good in some ways, not so much in others.
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on November 7, 2016
Loved the movie. Didn't even know it was based on a book until recently. Read the book. Even better than the movie (like they normally are!)
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