by Carl Sagan


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Contact 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was astounded when I first watched 'Contact' the movie starring Jodi Foster. I then decided to read the novel by Carl Sagan. I was hooked...this was something I couldn't put down for quite some time. I absolutely was enthralled by Sagan's balance of love, astronomy, religion, and everything else imaginable. I was fascinated by Ellie Arroway, the main character and heroine. She was absolutely brilliant, courageous, and everything else an admirable astronomer should be. She held her head high in the face of opposition and broke through all obstacles facing her way. I cried, laughed, applauded, screamed, thought long and hard about universal possibilities, religous questions, and wanted more and more with the turn of each page. I appreciate this book almost more than any other I've read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If there is one book that I had to pick as my favorite, this would be it. While it may give a lot of scientific detail, Sagan portays the work with great style and tact. His story centers around a scientificly spun story with true moral and intellectual implications that delve into the heart of the human soul. In the book issues such as the roles of politics in science, religion, love, humanity, etc. are discussed and opened up to the reader. If you have to read a book for the summer, or a break, this should be it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's an engaging work of fiction that show a possible path for the unification of science and religion. The truth may be closer than many believe.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The film: ignore it. You're best off doing so right from the start. Theories abound as to why it was so bad, and here's mine: Sagan passed away early in its production, and in his stead rose his wife Ann Druyan; now, this is pure speculation but one has to wonder if she didn't decide to lessen the atheistic tendencies of the book in favour of a more mainstream, and perhaps forgiving, audience.The book itself is captivating, and follows much the same theme as the film - aliens make contact with Earth. Ellie Arroway, a brilliant young scientist, works to decode their message, and to make first contact. That we all know.But what I liked most about the Sagan book is the cold reality of what contact means, about the growth industries that would appear to take advantage of alien technology, about the cultural shifts that would take place; this is, inevitably, ignored on celluloid, but is part of what makes the novel so compelling.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first impression of Contact was the horrible motion picture released all those years ago, and it took me until recently to pick up a copy and actually get around to reading it.Now, since I saw the film, I had learned more and more about Sagan, and how he was actually a bright fellow, so I decided to give him a chance by reading Contact, and I have to say that I did not regret my decision.Like any book that was later adapted for the silver screen, they are liable to alter or remove very vital pieces, or change them for pacing or whatever other things they do to make the movies less than enjoyable. Maybe the film producers are in a way trying to promote literacy, and are thus making horrid movies so you go out an read the original source material, and be glad that you did. Or maybe the mindset that the movie is never as good as the book is less a trend and more a physical law of nature, and these movie makers are helpless to make anything better than the book. These theories would effectively forgive abominations such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (later novelized by the topmost fanfic-er, Kevin J. Anderson. Congrats, you can write a book based on a movie based on a comic book. You want a cookie? What next? Causing an established Sci-Fi writer or two to spin in their graves as you desecrate their magnum opera?), but I digress.Contact, the book, is a great book. It's always interesting to read books written by professional scientists (I have a few), as it lends an air of credibility and believability to the story, versus soft sci-fi tales that are essentially fantasy stories in space. Sagan, however, does not hard sci-fi it up (at least, not to the point that writers like Alastair Reynolds do), so it could actually be enjoyed by people not familiar with quantum physics, or even grade school physics.The story tells a tale of Ellie Arroway, and shows her transition from girl to woman in the first part of the book. Here we learn how Arroway excels at what she does when she puts her mind to it, eventually becoming anything from a slight annoyance to a thorn in the sides of the male physics majors. This she does all while dealing with her horrid physics professor of a step father who discourages her every chance he gets.She excels, and grabs a post at a radio telescope lab where she monitors the heavens for any extraterrestrial signs of life. Then, it happens, and its not a hoax. A transmission seems to come from Vega, and it's too constructed to seem like static. It starts as prime numbers, but beyond that, another layer is discovered in the transmission. Reading layer after layer into the transmission, they discover step-by-step instructions on building a machine, but what the machine does is beyond their understanding.The world must then come together to decided if the machine will be built, where it will be built, and who the five people aboard it will be.This is a great novel, and is bound to be enjoyed by any fan of Sagan's other work (though I suspect for many that Contact provides the gateway to other Sagan works, not vice-versa), and is sure to be enjoyed by most sci-fi readers, particularly those that like a realistic story with sci-fi elements than a plotless journey through an alien wonderland by an avid sportsman with a really big laser gun.
rbtwinky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. What isn¿t there to like: strong female protagonist, sci-fi theory, real-world projection, and even a love story. Sagan wove the story incredibly well into a near future setting, giving the fiction an imminent truth. I also enjoyed that he didn¿t shy away from reflecting the impact of the ¿contact¿ on society.
mobill76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the book first. It's very different from the movie. I like both. I think the movie took a lot of liberties with Sagan's vision that certainly pissed off the purists. Readers of the book will not find the same sympathy for faith that was exhibited in the movie. The book is a tour de force of science over religion. It's a good story. Sagan's writing shows a definite ivory tower disconnection with what passes for believable social situations. But the story is compelling enough to drag you through these. If you didn't enjoy the movie, you may be interested in the atheistic theme presented in the book. If you did enjoy the movie, you should read the book to hear what Sagan was really trying to say. You'll appreciate the genius of the filmmaker even more that he was able to turn Contact into a statement of faith.
lauawill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when I was sixteen years old. I re-read it every few years and discover something new and beautiful about it each time. It's one of a handful of books I can point to and honestly say, "This book had a lot to do with who I am today."
Dadbrazelton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Much better than the movie.
dandelionroots on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Earth receives a message from the star Vega detailing how to build a machine. I appreciated the way he portrayed humanity's reaction to an extraterrestrial message - scientifically, religiously, nationally, commercially. The book largely centers around the personal story of Ellie, the director at Argus (the array of radio telescopes searching for extraterrestrial intelligence), but her story didn't really intrigue me. The overall message for the cosmos was... anti-climatic. Really, we're back to humanity's earliest attempts at explaining the world around us? All you need is love.
ChristopherTurner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The movie and the novel aer both enjouable for different reasons, though the basic storyline is one that will always make me feel that the author actually gets that I want to be challenged and that I dont need to see what teh alien culture looks like in order to accept them as real characters in the story. I also liked the fact that the politics of science was dealt with in way that didn't hide from the fact that discoveries of greater truths often have their work stloen from them by the very people than ran their work down. Just try getting a grant to fund your research - it is soul destroying!
sgerbic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an awesome book. I had seen the movie of course and thought the book would be the same, it was in the basic content of the novel, but different enough to enjoy for entirely different reasons. I skipped over most of the science as it was completely over my head and I didn't know how much of it was made up anyway just to continue the story. The characters are well done, the conversations concerning religion, alien contact and nationalism are well thought out and clever.6-2010
amerynth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great exploration of the divide between science and religion and where skepticism falls on the spectrum. Interesting story of Earth's first contact with off-planet lifeforms.
maunder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Books about contact with extra-terrestrials are adime a dozen however what makes this one worth the read is the fact that a scientist of significance (Carl Sagan) has written it. The plot started aittle slowly however his description of how the world might react to a message from space and what action it might take is quite interesting. I haven't seen the movie however I enjoyed the bokk immensely.
kthclark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story really makes you think of what would you do if you discover a signal from space. I enjoyed this book and there was also a movie based on it starring Jodie Foster. I¿m sure many more people have watched the movie rather than reading the book but I suggest that everyone should give the book a try. The book is very captivating and the movie does follow very close to the book.
boweraj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite SF novel. Sagan proves he can captivate the public not only with his non-fiction, but also with his fiction. Amazing story.
saskreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carl Sagan has interesting things to tell us, but he best not in a fiction format.
saravanants on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have found this book as unique as any other. This one of the books that I would love to the end of my life. Carl is a genious. Especially in his unique approach to visualizing the aliens in such a manner as no other book I have read so far. Most of the authors see aliens as similar to humans with advanced capabilities or with some hideous looking creature from outer space. Carl is totally unique in that matter.
steveforbertfan More than 1 year ago
I was quite disappointed in this book, started out amazing, then it just bogged down with a lot of techie, sciency stuff. The characters got lost in the very technical story, there was really no build up as to the excitement of the Message, and the Machine...well, it was almost a side story getting lost in all the droning on and on and on. A great disappointment.
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What1 More than 1 year ago
As is often the case, the book is much better than the movie. There were enough differences, some significant, between the two to keep the story fresh. Sagan did a beautiful job overall but I felt the science vs. religion debate was just beat to death. I know it played a significant part in the main character's development but come on, we get it already. The story itself definitley gives you the sense that there is so much more to the universe than the small rock we're standing on. I felt humbled by the thought. We (humans) were almost childlike in "their" eyes. It was like they were teaching us to walk. At some point they may teach us how to run. Great book overall.
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MarcusWench More than 1 year ago
I was very surprised to find the science spokesperson wrote a piece of fiction with such human tenderness and sense of wonder, as well as being very interesting for the science and philosophy explored. I really identified with the numinous wonder of a child growing up and exploring the unknown. The book was better than the movie, in my opinion.