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At first it seemed impossible - a radio signal that came not from Earth but from far beyond the nearest stars. But then the signal was translated, and what had been impossible became terrifying. For the signal contains the information to build a Machine that can travel to the stars. A Machine that can take a human to meet those that sent the message. They are eager to meet us: they have been watching and waiting for a long time. And now they will more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 108 x 176 x 32mm | 222.26g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Orbit
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1857235800
  • 9781857235807
  • 36,968

Review Text

The famous astronomer and science explicator's novelistic debut: a distended, trudging, overdidactic, near-future affair about messages from space and contact with aliens. Talented radio astronomer Ellie Arroway is director of Project Argus, an astronomical survey hoping to detect communications from alien civlizations. Soon, a message comes in from Vega - which, when decoded, features Adolf Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games! (This was apparently the first Earth TV transmission picked up by the Vegans; they simply recorded and rebroadcast it.) However, hidden inside Herr Hitler is another, more significant Message: instructions, thousands of pages long, for building a mysterious machine! Yet another layer of the Message reveals a "primer" enabling the listeners to translate the main Message. After some international wrangling, three machines are constructed: in the US (sabotaged by religious fanatics); in Russia (technical problems); only the Japanese version is completed quickly - and it appears to be some sort of transporter. A team, including Ellie, is chosen to board the machine; it whisks them off via space "wormholes" to the galactic center, where representatives of an ancient, multigalactic civilization offer a few well-chosen words of encouragement before sending them back to Earth. And the remainder of this unthrilling, overlong tale wanders off into meditations on governmental paranoia, supercivilizations, transcendental numbers, and God. A lot of Sagan's personal hopes and ideas are here - improved international cooperation, an end to the arms race, the search for alien civilizations, the relationship between science and religion - but imaginative leaps are few; so all that patient explaining serves only to pad out a very thin and overworked idea. Still, fans of Sagan's non-fiction will probably be curious enough to browse. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Carl Sagan

Sagan was Dir. of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies & David Duncan Prof. of Astronomy & Space Sciences at Cornell University.He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking & Voyage expeditions to the planets & was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature. He died in more

Review quote

Dazzling...Contact becomes the greatest adventure of all time. ASSOCIATED PRESS Imaginative flair...The Sagan wit on full display...Contact jabs at commericalism, nationalism, sexism ... THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Contact [deals] with issues... worth pondering... The range and depth of ideas is quite uncommon The New York Times Book Review A masterly piece of work blending adroit characterisation and flights of scientific fancy that spring from today's fact Belfast Telegraph A feast of marvels San Francisco Chronicle Who could be better qualified than the author of the highly successful Cosmos to turn the possibility of extra-terrestrial 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... Sagan's informed and dramatically enacted speculations into the mysteries of the universe... make Contact an exciting adventure Publishers Weekly Like a good mystery, Contact keeps us curious to the end... Ingenious and satisfying Newsweek A splendid story whose appeal is universal Yorkshire Post Sagan's continuing compelling plea that we do not destroy the ineffable loveliness of life on this planet is present in every scene and phrase of Contact... It is pleasurable and reassuring to read a popular author in whom the observable and scientifically imagined universe inspires excitement, humour, love, awe Newsday If there is a God and He isn't hiding, He will have left an unambiguous message. What will the message look like? Sagan's answer is stunning and satisfying Los Angeles Times Grand and vivid... a lot of fun The Village Voice One of the best science fiction stories about contact with intelligent beings ever written. Sagan calls on his scientific knowledge to garnish realistically a devastatingly credible account of how contact could be made Sydney Daily Telegraph An astonishingly exciting, precise and involved book Sydney Sunday Telegraphshow more

Rating details

92,443 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 39% (35,976)
4 38% (34,780)
3 19% (17,520)
2 4% (3,308)
1 1% (859)
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