Contact

By Carl Sagan,

Book cover of Contact

Book description

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?

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Why read it?

12 authors picked Contact as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I especially enjoyed this book because it was written by an astronomer (with some help from his wife, who was a science writer) and because the main character was based on a colleague of mine, Dr. Jill Tarter.

In the book, Carl Sagan tells the story of how a SETI (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence) project might actually go about finding a signal from a civilization around another star. (The book was made into a movie, where Jodie Foster played the main scientist who made the discovery. She actually came out to the SETI Institute, where Jill Tarter worked, and spent…

In Contact, Carl Sagan takes us on a wondrous interstellar adventure in which humanity makes contact with an alien civilization.

Although it is a work of fiction, Sagan, a scientist and a master science communicator, seamlessly blends real science into his gripping storytelling. I loved the main character, a woman astronomer by the name of Ellie Arroway, who is based on the real-life scientist Jill Tarter, former director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute.

A passionate and tenacious scientist who defies gender stereotypes, Ellie’s sense of curiosity and wonder, coupled with her intellect and determination make her…

I’m recommending this book because everyone has seen the movie, but the book throws in a few curveballs that didn’t make it into the screenplay.

Carl Sagan is known for his Cosmos series and his science communication books challenging the growing anti-science sentiment in society, but it’s in this work of fiction where he really gets to speculate on what First Contact might be like and the motivation of aliens reaching out to us.   

Carl Sagan is still one of the most well-known astronomers, renowned for his ability to create wonder and awe in his descriptions of the Universe.

In this book, he’s at his finest form, a science fiction tale of the discovery of an intelligent alien signal coming from space, and how the world reacts to it. It’s a wonderful treatise on religion, science, belief, and evidence.

If you’ve seen the movie, read the book: It’s far superior, and the very last page will give you chills and leave you questioning what you think reality is.

Contact explores the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and humanity's place in the universe. What I loved about Contact is what’s often overlooked in its common description. The contact being made is not only with life beyond Earth but also with those people most dear to us who we’ve loved and lost. This longing to reconnect fits perfectly with the idea of survival, not only for oneself, but for the memories of others.

Sagan's writing is wonderfully descriptive, and he does a masterful job of weaving together science, philosophy, and fiction to create a memorable story. We follow the main character,…

Carl Sagan was a renowned ambassador for science, and his contributions to science were rivalled only by his contributions to science fiction. His novel, Contact, asks us to consider how we would react if we received a real communication from an alien civilization – particularly if it came with a blueprint for how to reach out to them. What kind of dangers come with contacting aliens about whom we know next to nothing, beyond the fact that their technology surpasses our own? This is a time-honoured question, and one which Carl Sagan addresses with a deep insight into human…

A scientist and brilliant astronomer, Carl Sagan was also recognised for his involvement with NASA and the Apollo moon programme. And, perhaps, best known to some for his ‘Pale Blue Dot’ speech, when he referred to the Earth as a small dot, seen by the Voyager 1 space probe at a distance of 5 billion miles away in deep space.

As one of my favourite writers on science and philosophy, Sagan also wrote one of the bestsellers ever conceived about humanity meeting other beings in another universe, aptly named Contact.

I have no doubt, that his scientific works and…

Carl Sagan's PBS series Cosmos influenced my decision to pursue a career in astronomy, but I have always been a science fiction fan. When Sagan released a science fiction novel, I knew I needed it. He doesn't disappoint. He roots his story in the real Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and imagines what could happen if we actually did contact life among the stars and they gave us a way to travel to them. I also love that much of the story is set at the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico, where I worked during my senior year…

Carl Sagan was a planetary scientist I adored in my youth for popularizing science and firmly believing that life exists outside our solar system. Contact, published in 1985, is the one and only novel he wrote in his career. It's a compelling story about what a very realistic first-contact experience might look like if we earthlings were to discover a signal originating from far beyond our solar system. Who could have sent it? And what could they want? Set in contemporary times, and filled with science-loving, nerdy characters, the book struck a chord with a wide swath of readers (not…

I read Carl Sagan’s Contact when I was a young teenager, and it’s stayed with me for more than two decades. It details the dogged efforts of an astronomer obsessed with the question “Are we alone?” and explores what it would be like if she found out the answer was “Nope.” The book was an equal mix of science, story, and thought experiments that got me thinking about some of the biggest and oldest questions humans have asked about the universe.

From Sarah's list on making night sky your new BFF.

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