Contact, by Carl Sagan

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Contact, by Carl Sagan

Post by Omphalos »


One of the most interesting themes in SF, and also one of my personal favorites, is the theme of first contact. The theme is not exactly unique to SF - think of European contact with the New World, Roman contact with various barbarians, etc.- though these days it would probably seem so. In SF "first contact" stories deal with mankind's first contact with alien races. Even if you exclude all of the uses of this theme in Star Trek, the genre is chock full of examples. And although it is difficult for me to say for certain which one of the many first contact stories is my favorite, my attention is frequently drawn to two in particular: Listeners, by James Gunn, and today's selection, Contact, by Carl Sagan. Sagan's novel made an enormous splash when it came out: Sagan was world renown as a charismatic, handsome, brilliant and likable popularizer and explainer of very advanced astronomy and physics concepts, and was already associated with the PBS television show Cosmos, in which he essentially explained everything in the universe. Personally I consider Cosmos so well done that it was hard for me to see how Sagan ever could have topped it with another non-fiction product; and in fact he never really did. But when Contact came out I really had to stop and ask myself whether he had in fact outdone himself. I think the answer to that question is yes...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)

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