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Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Paperback – September 8, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Otherwise, the book is very enjoyable, and provides a cogent discussion of where Carl Sagan thinks we should aim our space program.
Pale Blue Dot is a journey in time and space. Beginning with the assertion that we're natural wanderers, being the only species to settle across our world, it continues with a plea to extend further our exploration of space. The early chapters challenge restrictions on our desire to explore and learn. Sagan demonstrates how foolish minds have restrained our quest for knowledge of the cosmos. He then takes us on a tour of the solar system, exhibiting the wonders revealed by the fleet of robot probes. He reminds us of the forces the cosmos can unleash, sometimes right in our neighbourhood. Like many of the rest of us, Sagan was awed by the collision of a comet with the Jovian gas giant. It was a hint of what might lay in store for us if we fail to understand the universe better than we do now. The space probes also returned images of worlds invalidating existing theories of planetary formation. If our own neighbours can present such bizarre structures, what kinds of worlds ride beyond our ken, circling suns we can barely imagine? What Sagan can't portray, he can conjecture. With his firm working scientist's foundation, Sagan's speculations command respectful attention.
This book must be shelved alongside Richard Dawkins THE SELFISH GENE and THE BLIND WATCHMAKER.Read more ›
I have never written a review on Amazon before, and I have been coming here for years. I had to say something about this. After I finish this, I plan on emailing the publisher with the same review.
Wow. A book named Pale Blue Dot, inspired by the famous photograph of the Earth of the same name. It is referenced in the first few chapters heavily and Prof. Sagan asks us to visit and revisit the photo several times as he builds his introduction. I think to myself "Great! Can't wait to see it. Now where is it?" This then led to the disappointing finding that there are no pictures at all in this printing. None, not one, not even just the one of the Pale Blue Dot image itself. How can you publish a book inspired by a photo and not include the picture itself, not even a low res poorly printed picture? All you get is a few instructions to look at it, but you won't be able to look at it in here. Apparently, the hardback and first soft-back printing had photos. I guess I can understand (not like, mind you) why the decision was made to eliminate photos, but to get rid of the Pale Blue Dot photo is mind boggling. Surely this decision couldn't have been made on purpose. Surely, this was just an oversight. If this was a conscious decision, then it speaks volumes about how Ballantine views this work and it makes you wonder if they have any idea why it was written in the first place.
Anyway thanks for listening.
Sequels are usually disappointing. This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the original. I had read this book in hardcover and ended up buying my own paperback copy while in Ithaca (Sagan's hometown) because I had nothing to read and a long ride back home.
I'm a fan of Sagan - can't help it - because even though he's a brilliant scientist, he somehow manages to be a great writer as well. This book is no exception. Sagan's basic idea is that the destiny of humanity is to expand out to the stars. And even though this idea reeks with echoes of Manifest Destiny, I have to agree. In Manifest Destiny, there were Indians - here, no intelligent life that we know of. And if there is something out there, wouldn't we want to know about it?
Like so many great works of popular science, Sagan starts out by tracing the changes in our views of the world, from our conceit that we were the center of the Universe to the backwater position that we're in today. Sagan's idea of generalized chauvinisms comes up - first in place (the obvious), then in time (if there was other intelligent life, it's not around any more), and, if I recall correctly, in chemical basis (life must be made out of carbon). He refutes all these ideas - and why not? Who said that silicon can't conquer the universe?
My personal favorite part of the book is Chapter 5, "Is There Intelligent Life On Earth?" Sagan asks us to "[imagine yourself as] an alien explorer entering the Solar system after a long journey through the blackness of interstellar space". As we examine the Earth at finer and finer resolution, what do we see?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have ever looked up in wonder @ the night sky, then there is a good chance that Carl Sagan was the impetus of this wonder (either directly or indirectly). Read morePublished 28 days ago by D. Roberts
Fascinating ride through the solar system. No science background required. Points about importance of space exploration felt a bit belabored but he was preaching to the choir here.Published 1 month ago by George Ralls
I grew up with Sagan's "Cosmos" TV series, so it was quite an interesting read on how he viewed our place in the cosmos, a good read for anyone who feels insignificant in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by David. J. C.
Good info but it is a book more tuned into saving the planet and just how fragile our little world in space is in our solar system, galaxy, and our universe.Published 1 month ago by Ronald W. Nelson
1995 Edition w/photos. Brilliantly written way to look at our existence and how far we could be going if we would just focus on the truly important things. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Mccay