58 books like Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection

By Carl Sagan,

Here are 58 books that Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection fans have personally recommended if you like Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Promise of Space

Ian Ridpath Author Of Star Tales

From my list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space.

Who am I?

I am an author, editor, lecturer, and sometime broadcaster on astronomy and space. My early interest in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and interstellar communication led me to write my first books, Worlds Beyond (1975) and Messages from the Stars (1978). This interest also led me to investigate UFO sightings, but I soon realized that their explanation lies in human misperception and not ETs. My investigation and explanation of the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO case of December 1980, widely regarded as one of the top-ten cases worldwide and sometimes known as Britain's Roswell, can be found hereIn conjunction with the outstanding Dutch celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, I have produced two standard observing guides for amateur astronomers. 

Ian's book list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space

Ian Ridpath Why did Ian love this book?

Although Arthur C. Clarke is usually regarded primarily as an author of science fiction (think 2001, Rendezvous with Rama) he was also a masterful exponent of science fact. Written at a time when humans were still preparing to land on the Moon, this book opened the door to the vistas of outer space for this budding author. A man generations ahead of his time, Clarke would have been as disappointed as any at our slow rate of progress in space exploration since the Apollo Moon landings. An uplifting view of our technological future, some of it still to come, from a true visionary.

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Promise of Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When Clarke wrote this volume in 1968, humanity stood on the brink of bursting forth from this ball of dirt into the universe. It is full of hope for the Space Age to come, and a rather sad thing to read today. Still, it's a great book, crammed with technical diagrams, astronomical photographs, and good solid science."


Book cover of UFO Sightings: The Evidence

Ian Ridpath Author Of Star Tales

From my list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space.

Who am I?

I am an author, editor, lecturer, and sometime broadcaster on astronomy and space. My early interest in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and interstellar communication led me to write my first books, Worlds Beyond (1975) and Messages from the Stars (1978). This interest also led me to investigate UFO sightings, but I soon realized that their explanation lies in human misperception and not ETs. My investigation and explanation of the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO case of December 1980, widely regarded as one of the top-ten cases worldwide and sometimes known as Britain's Roswell, can be found hereIn conjunction with the outstanding Dutch celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, I have produced two standard observing guides for amateur astronomers. 

Ian's book list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space

Ian Ridpath Why did Ian love this book?

Skeptical books about UFOs are rare, and this one is a particular treasure. Sheaffer, a Silicon Valley engineer, and amateur astronomer, has been documenting the UFO field since the 1970s, and continues to report on developments via his blog Bad UFOs. This book is an updated and expanded edition of his earlier work called The UFO Verdict of 1981 in which he concluded that "UFOs as real and distinct entities simply do not exist." Forty years on, nothing has emerged to change that conclusion. If you have ever wondered whether UFOs are worth taking seriously (and why scientists do not), then this thoughtful book will provide your answer.

By Robert Sheaffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked UFO Sightings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Engaging and entertaining, UFO Sightings: The Evidence is the most up-to-date overview of the UFO phenomenon, a controversy that gains strength with each new report of strange happenings in the sky. Written from the skeptical perspective, and applying the scientific method to the cases explored, this book differs greatly from the proparanormal tomes widely available today.

"Most broad survey UFO books contain absolutely uncritical presentations of sensational claims," says author Robert Sheaffer. "Typically, pro-UFO books deliberately omit all facts that tend to discredit the cases."

UFO Sightings is unique because it gives the reader a broad overview of the world…


Book cover of Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning

John M. Saul Author Of What the Stork Brought: African click-speakers and the spread of humanity's oldest beliefs

From my list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs.

Who am I?

As a geologist, I met and shared meals – occasionally under the stars – with individuals with strikingly different backgrounds. In time I realized that, whatever their DNA, they all shared certain beliefs, that the happy dead eventually go upward, for example, even if they start by going down or out to the horizon. Eventually, I concluded that the entire human adventure began in a single moment the day one of our forebears asked another "What shall we do about death?" and was understood. Humans have a single genetic heritage; we also have a single cultural heritage.

John's book list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs

John M. Saul Why did John love this book?

Allen (1838-1906) was described as a "walking encyclopedia" by people who knew him. It was only after acquiring a reprint of his great book, a decade before the internet, that my own research into ancient cosmology took off. Star Names was first published in 1899 and as Wikipedia notes "there is no direct modern equivalent." As is the case with the internet, large sections can also be plucked out and read for pleasure.

By Richard H. Allen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Star Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is an unusual book for anyone who appreciates the beauty and wonder of the stars. Solidly based upon years of thorough research into astronomical writings and observations of the ancient Chinese, Arabic, Euphrates, Hellenic, and Roman civilizations, it is an informative, non-technical excursion into the vast heritage of folklore and history associated with the heavenly bodies.
From his studies of the writings of scores of ancient astronomers, the author has come up with a fascinating history of the names various cultures have given the constellations, the literary and folkloristic uses that have been made of the stars through the…


Book cover of Universe

Ian Ridpath Author Of Star Tales

From my list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space.

Who am I?

I am an author, editor, lecturer, and sometime broadcaster on astronomy and space. My early interest in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and interstellar communication led me to write my first books, Worlds Beyond (1975) and Messages from the Stars (1978). This interest also led me to investigate UFO sightings, but I soon realized that their explanation lies in human misperception and not ETs. My investigation and explanation of the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO case of December 1980, widely regarded as one of the top-ten cases worldwide and sometimes known as Britain's Roswell, can be found hereIn conjunction with the outstanding Dutch celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, I have produced two standard observing guides for amateur astronomers. 

Ian's book list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space

Ian Ridpath Why did Ian love this book?

I love books full of facts and figures, and for astronomers, this is one of the best. Now in its fourth edition (the first appeared in 2005), Universe (subtitled The Definitive Visual Guide) harnesses a team of expert writers with Dorling Kindersley’s designers, editors, and researchers to produce a sumptuously illustrated review of the Universe from the Earth to the Big Bang, including extensive sections on the night sky and how to view it. Dorling Kindersley’s books are natural successors to the great Reader’s Digest reference books of my childhood. If you want an encyclopedia of the Universe, this is the one to have.

By Dorling Kindersley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marvel at the wonders of the Universe, from stars and planets to black holes and nebulae, in this exploration of our Solar System and beyond.

Universe opens with a look at astronomy and the history of the Universe, using 3D artworks to provide a comprehensive grounding in the fundamental concepts of astronomy, including the basic techniques of practical astronomy.

The core of the book is a tour of the cosmos covering the Solar System, the Milky Way, and galaxies beyond our own. Explanatory pages introduce different celestial phenomena, such as galaxies, and are followed by catalogues that profile the most…


Book cover of The Science Of Aliens

David A. Aguilar Author Of Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

From my list on understanding the first science: astronomy.

Who am I?

I am a naturalist, astronomer, space artist, and a Harvard world lecturer living in the Rocky Mountains outside of Aspen. So far, I’ve written and illustrated twelve kid’s astronomy books for National Geographic and Penguin Random House. I directed the Science Information Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge Massachusetts for fourteen years then left in 2015 to join NASA’s New Horizons Mission Team becoming one of the first humans to see the planet Pluto up close and personal. I am also a Grammy nominated songwriter/musician, astrophotographer, telescope maker who enjoys scuba diving at night and occasionally has been known to parachute out of perfectly operating aircraft.

David's book list on understanding the first science: astronomy

David A. Aguilar Why did David love this book?

This marvelous book will rock and sock the fun part of your brain when it comes to the possibilities of alien life out there among the stars. The Science of Aliens provides authoritative speculation on a whole range of possibilities including bizarre alien body structures, enhanced senses, capabilities, life at the edge, alien sex, social structures, religion, and lifestyles. 

If you like captivating mental gymnastics and broad, almost humorous depictions of alien life as seen in Hollywood films and sci-fi books, then run, fly, leap, scurry, scoot, teleport or slime your way to the nearest bookstore and pick up this gem. Remember, in this universe, ALL of us are aliens!

By Clifford A Pickover,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Science Of Aliens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If extraterrestrials ever landed on Earth, they would find us extremely strange. Their first intimation of our existence might well be a Super Bowl broadcast or a stray transmission from the Playboy channel. But, of course, they might seem equally strange to us. How strange? Their senses could be entirely different from ours,they might see in the infrared or hear" radio waves.What would aliens look like? An intelligent octopus-like creature is certainly plausible. What about odd numbers of limbs,a three-legged alien with three arms and three eyes? What about an entire planet of immobile, silicon-based trees" that communicate with each…


Book cover of Revelation Space

Andrew Fraknoi

From my list on science fiction books that use good astronomy.

Who am I?

I am an astronomer and college professor who loves science fiction. For many years, I have kept a webpage recommending science fiction stories and novels that are based on good astronomy. I love explaining astronomy to non-scientists, and I am the lead author of OpenStax Astronomya free online textbook for beginners, which is now the most frequently used textbook for astronomy classes in the U.S. I actually learned English at age 11 by reading science fiction comics and then books for kids,  After many decades as a fan, I have recently realized a long-held dream and become a published SF author myself.

Andrew's book list on science fiction books that use good astronomy

Andrew Fraknoi Why did Andrew love this book?

I discovered Alastair Reynolds, who is now my favorite science fiction writer, by reading this book, which was a mind-opening experience. I especially enjoy his combining a kind of “film noir” sensibility with realistic science ideas (the latter is not surprising since he has a Ph.D. in astronomy.) 

This first novel in his series is an excellent way to delve into his marvelously imagined Universe, where humanity exists in a number of genetically modified variants, and intelligences have to contend with ancient and powerful machines that deem organic life too war-like to be permitted to live.

By Alastair Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Revelation Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The legendary space opera that kicked off the ground-breaking, universe-spanning series.

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something wiped out the Amarantin. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld Resurgam, it's of little more than academic interest, even after the discovery of a long-hidden, almost perfect Amarantin city and a colossal statue of a winged Amarantin. For brilliant but ruthless scientist Dan Sylveste, it's more than merelty intellectual curiosity - and he will stop at nothing to get at the truth. Even if the truth costs him everything. But the Amarantin were wiped out for a reason, and that…


Book cover of Astrobiology: The Search for Life Elsewhere in the Universe

Mike X Cohen Author Of Linear Algebra: Theory, Intuition, Code

From my list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic.

Who am I?

I am an associate professor of neuroscience at the Donders Institute in the Netherlands. My research lab focuses on discovering how the brain uses electrical signaling to compute information, and transfer information across different regions of the brain. I also have a few decades of experience teaching scientific coding, data analysis, statistics, and related topics, and have authored several online courses and textbooks. I have a suspiciously dry sense of humor and insufficient patience to read five books on the same topic.

Mike's book list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic

Mike X Cohen Why did Mike love this book?

“Are we alone?” An age-old question that we may never answer. Andrew May walks us through the scientific study of whether there might be life elsewhere in the universe, and how we might identify it. And by “scientific study,” I mean actual scientific investigations, not wishy-washy sci-fi fluff. The book is both inspiring and terrifying, because the immense distances in space and time make you realize that intelligent life is both incredibly insignificant and incredibly precious.

By Andrew May,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Astrobiology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Extraterrestrial life is a common theme in
science fiction, but is it a serious prospect in the real world? Astrobiology
is the emerging field of science that seeks to answer this question.

The possibility of life elsewhere in the cosmos
is one of the most profound subjects that human beings can ponder. Astrophysicist
Andrew May gives an expert overview of our current state of knowledge, looking
at how life started on Earth, the tell-tale 'signatures' it produces, and how
such signatures might be detected elsewhere in the Solar System or on the many 'exoplanets'
now being discovered by the Kepler…


Book cover of Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space

Bonnie J. Buratti Author Of Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar: A Guided Tour of the Solar System

From my list on the planets and life outside the Earth.

Who am I?

As a child I was fascinated by space, planets, and the stars. Now I am a planetary scientist who has been involved with NASA’s interplanetary missions for four decades. I am curious, passionate about space exploration and discovery, and have been in leadership roles on some of these missions. I am also passionate about communicating these discoveries to the public. Learn about the planets from an expert, an insider who was there in the thick of the action during key times and who wants to communicate this excitement to you.

Bonnie's book list on the planets and life outside the Earth

Bonnie J. Buratti Why did Bonnie love this book?

The search for life outside the Earth is NASA’s greatest quest, and this book will bring you up to speed on it. Just a few decades ago, scientists thought life arose on the Earth in shallow seas, warmed by the early sun and zapped by energy-producing lightning. The best place to look for alien life was on Mars, where bacterial life may have formed in the shallow pools that covered the young Mars, and then hunkered down in subsurface spots of Martian water and ice as these pools evaporated. Scientists now suspect life arose in warm vents deep in the Earth’s ocean. Subsurface oceans in the moons of the outer Solar System may contain similar vents that serve as breeding grounds for primitive life. Kevin Hand describes NASA’s current missions and instruments to find this life in alien oceans.

By Kevin Hand,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alien Oceans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inside the epic quest to find life on the water-rich moons at the outer reaches of the solar system

Where is the best place to find life beyond Earth? We often look to Mars as the most promising site in our solar system, but recent scientific missions have revealed that some of the most habitable real estate may actually lie farther away. Beneath the frozen crusts of several of the small, ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn lurk vast oceans that may have existed for as long as Earth, and together may contain more than fifty times its total volume…


Book cover of Ancillary Mercy

Andrew Sweet Author Of Southern Highlands: Obi of Mars

From my list on sci-fi featuring world-changing female badasses.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved science fiction. My father was an Asimov junkie, and our house was packed with science fiction novels and stories from Azimov to Heinlein to Wyndham and Wilhelm. I began writing science fiction in high school, yet only recently published my first 4 novels (one of which won a Bookfest award). I hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science (bioinformatics), and I stay on top of science to inform my writing. It’s through this background that I select novels, seeking out new tropes and ideas in technological advancement. Each of these novels I mention exceeded my expectations and then some. Pick one up today—you won’t be disappointed!

Andrew's book list on sci-fi featuring world-changing female badasses

Andrew Sweet Why did Andrew love this book?

What a phenomenal novel by Ann Leckie! I came across Ann Leckie’s series as I was working through books about cloning while I was writing my books. What do I love about it? The concepts, for sure: AI ships being negotiated, the entire idea of shipping minds around, a leader who sabotages herself to the detriment of her realm. All of these have been done to some extent before, but not at the scale that Ann Leckie takes on. She also manages to avoid some dead clone tropes and dead or dying AI tropes while she entertains. This novel (and series) were done well and the characters pop with personality. Loved it!

By Ann Leckie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ancillary Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Breq and her crew must stand against an old and powerful enemy, the Lord of the Radch, and fight for the right to determine their own destinies in the stunning conclusion to the NYT bestselling Imperial Radch trilogy A must read for fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and James S. A. Corey.

For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist, and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq's enemy, the divided…


Book cover of UFO: The Inside Story of the US Government's Search for Alien Life Here-and Out There

Neil Nixon Author Of UFOs, Aliens and the Battle for the Truth: A Short History of UFOlogy

From my list on making you an expert on UFOs.

Who am I?

I’ve been writing for publication since I was a student, crudely the writing has been a way of medicating the fact I’m incurably curious about a range of things and I’ve also suffered from an over-production of ideas my whole life. Wrestling this under control into writing and live speaking where the subjects must fit within a title, word limit, or running time for a talk has been helpful, beyond which the whole writing career has been a trade off between things I’ve chosen to do because they matter a lot to me, and the occasional accepting of an offer I thought too good to refuse.

Neil's book list on making you an expert on UFOs

Neil Nixon Why did Neil love this book?

This is hefty, recent, authoritative, and well written (the author’s CV includes a Pulitzer Prize nomination).

Over a lengthy historic account, he spins the twin stories of the search by scientists for extraterrestrial life and the – usually – amateur search by ufologists for evidence to support their claims that aliens are already visiting us. Garrett Graff explores the contradictions.

He is clear and concise on the strength and weakness each side’s efforts, and insightful in those moments when both sides have briefly collaborated. For a beginner to the subject who wants the shortest route to becoming truly knowledgeable, this is the perfect primer.

By Garrett M. Graff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked UFO as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Garrett M. Graff, New York Times bestselling author of Raven Rock, The Only Plane in the Sky, and Pulitzer Prize finalist for history Watergate, comes the first comprehensive and eye-opening exploration of our government's decades-long quest to solve one of humanity's greatest mysteries: Are we alone in the universe?

For as long as we have looked to the skies, the question of whether life on Earth is the only life to exist has been at the core of the human experience, driving scientific debate and discovery, shaping spiritual belief, and prompting existential thought across borders and generations. And yet,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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