In December, 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who — or what — is out there?
In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future — and our own.
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. ” – Publishers Weekly
“Like most of his work, Sagan puts across the sciences and professions of astronomy and astrophysics across for the lay reader with great ability and an obvious feeling for his subject and his readers. I enjoyed the humanness of his characters, the realities of their work world, and the science in which they were involved. I read the book before watching the video and felt, as I usually do, that the book was better. One can always create more side plots and develop to a greater extent the individual characters in a volume of so many pages, which the reader can set aside at will and return to as needed. The director must stick to a central theme and be constantly mindful of budgetary constraints. I also thought the relationship of the heroine with her father was more intense and surprising in the book than in the movie.” – Carl Sagan
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About the Author
Carl Sagan was Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft expeditions to the planets, for which he received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize and the highest awards of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, and many other awards, for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. His book Cosmos (accompanying his Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning television series of the same name) was the bestselling science book ever published in the English language, and his bestselling novel, Contact, was turned into a major motion picture.