Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 7 left in stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Listeners has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by selg
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Appears unread. No markings. Eligible for Amazon's Prime and Super Saver shipping programs!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Listeners Paperback – December 11, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

See all 14 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.95
$2.00 $1.99
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$59.99

Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
$15.95 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 7 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Listeners
  • +
  • The Sirens of Titan: A Novel
Total price: $25.47
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fascinating ... view of the many responses of mankind to the coming confrontation with intelligent aliens ... First rate science fiction." -- Publishers Weekly

"A must for any library whose readers look beyond their feet." -- Library Journal

"One of the finest books of speculative fiction ever written ... strong, thoughtful, marvelously human, and ... without flaw ... An unforgettable experience." -- Harlan Ellison

"One of the very best fictional portrayals of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence ever written." -- Carl Sagan

About the Author

James Gunn is the author of 38 books, including The Joy Makers, Kampus, The Dreamers, and The Immortals. He has served as the president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Science Fiction Research Association. He has won Hugo, Pilgrim, and Eaton awards and has been a professor at the University of Kansas for 40 years. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; BenBella Books ed edition (December 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932100121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100129
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on July 18, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't tell you if James Gunn's `The Listeners' is better than `Contact' simply because I haven't read Carl Sagan's book. But I have read Gunn's, and I can say that Sagan would have to have moved several planets in order to come close to the quality of `The Listeners.'
Scientist Robert MacDonald is the director of "The Project," a study of sounds coming from the stars. MacDonald firmly believes that life is out there and that intelligent beings will eventually communicate with humans. He and others like him have been listening for over 50 years, but they've heard only silence. Until now.
A cryptic message arrives, but what does it mean? With the threat of the project being shut down, MacDonald desperately seeks to keep his vision alive, but the cost is high.
`The Listeners' is much more than just a "first contact" story. The writing is excellent and the drama is far above what you would expect. The more we learn about communicating with other beings, the more we find we don't know about communicating with each other. An excellent read.
240 pages
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
On a desperate hunt one summer day for that science-fiction rarity -- a sci-fi story that followed actual scientific laws and did not try my intelligence and patience, I accidentally discovered two books at a used book store. One of these books was The Listeners.
I was in heaven that late summer. This was real science fiction. This book was fantastic! There were no "starships" or "Deathstars." There were only well-drawn, complex, and brilliant characters using their scientific and technical gifts.Obviously, as one reviewer had already observed, this "first contact" novel was the inspiration for Carl Sagan's work "Contact." In my opinion, "The Listeners" is the better-written book, even though I will always remain a huge fan of the late - and forever great - Carl Sagan.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The Listeners by James Gunn was the first of the modern-era SETI radio-telescope contact science fiction novels, and is the best.

Listeners' author James Gunn is a Hugo-winning science fiction Grandmaster, ranked on a short list with Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and other famous SFWA Grandmasters.

As he has explained in print, Gunn started writing what became the novel The Listeners in August 1965, inspired by Walter Sullivan's 1964 prize-winning nonfiction book about SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), We Are Not Alone [a book highly recommended].

Consisting almost entirely of stories originally published 1968-1972 in science fiction magazines (Galaxy and others), some material was added and The Listeners was published as a novel in late 1972.

My jaw dropped when reading some of the misplaced criticism of this novel published in Amazon reviews. Stanislaw Lem's First Contact novel His Master's Voice was first published in English in 1984, a dozen years after Gunn's novel was published in 1972. That was nearly twenty-years after Gunn wrote the first section in 1965. Gunn's novella "The Listeners" was published by Fred Pohl in Galaxy magazine in 1968 before Lem's novel was published in Polish in Europe. Gunn did not steal from Stanislaw Lem.

And to imply that because story material is "dated" it somehow shouldn't be read is absurd. Like Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Austin's Pride and Prejudice, and Burroughs' Tarzan, Gunn's The Listeners is marvelously representative of its time and place.

In 2012, forty-years after it was first published as a novel, James Gunn's The Listeners is still an excellent and thought-provoking science fiction read.
Read more ›
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Carl Sagan’s Contact seems to have mirrored much of this book.
The message, the prime numbers, Arecibo, political/religious controversies, etc. all seem to have been almost “lifted” from this earlier work.
But, to be fair, all of the ideas combined herein were thought up first by scientists (including Sagan) in the ‘50s and ‘60s and earlier.
And Sagan is quoted extensively in the book.
So it wasn’t really stealing.

Some naiveté about politics and economics, but, it was written 40 years ago.

And at the end, a shade of the danger posed in Fred Hoyle’s, A For Andromeda.

It is a great and classic work of first contact, anticipating SETI.

Highly recommended.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book. I loaned out my original book club edition back in late 70's. So this is a replacement. It turns out the book is quite prophetic. I'll leave it at that, would'nt want to spoil it for you. Definetely a good read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
After seeing the reviews of this book I was really looking forward to it. In general I love the hard science fiction stories and prefer them overall. I had to struggle to finish this book and did not devour it like I do most novels I read. The reason for this and the reason I rate it so low are all the quotes in the book. You can't go a page without seeing some quote from another source. I really do like that stuff in my stories but my god every other thought in this story they go off and have to have some verse that has some deep inner meaning and importance. If I wanted to read Dante I would read Dante. If you took out all the extra quotes from other books and stories you would have a book half the size.

Again I usually love little tidbits of thought in my stories but moderation is the key, here it goes way overboard to the point I feel like the story itself wasn't fully developed to the level it could have been.
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Listeners
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Listeners