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The Science of Aliens by Clifford A.…
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The Science of Aliens (1998)

by Clifford A. Pickover

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Very informative, the first non-fiction I've finished in a while. ( )
  ragwaine | Dec 12, 2006 |
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Epigraph
Nowhere in space will we rest our eyes on the familiar shapes of trees or plants, or any of the animals that share our world. Whatsoever life we meet will be as strange and alien as the nightmare creatures of the ocean abyss, or of the insect empire whose horrors are normally hidden from us by their microscopic scale.
--Arthur C. Clarke, 1962
The heavens call to you, and circle about you,
displaying to you their eternal splendors,
and your eye gazes only to earth.
--Dante, 1300
How would it be if we discovered that aliens only stopped by earth to let their kids take a leak?
--Jay Leno, 1997
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the cheela, hyperintelligent slugs dwelling on a distant neutron star.
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I first became obsessed with the notion of alien life-forms as a child watching black-and-white episodes of the 1960s TV series The Outer Limits.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0465073158, Paperback)

Scientist and author Clifford Pickover poses the question, "Can creatures dream of things beyond their sensory capacity?" Clearly Pickover thinks humans can--to some extent, at least. To this end, he wrote The Science of Aliens, an intriguing book featuring chapters such as "What Aliens Look Like," "Origin of Alien Life," and "Alien Abduction." And, of course, "Alien Sex." (Don't say you weren't curious.) To stimulate the reader's imagination, Pickover focuses on the characteristics of the earth's creatures--their appearance, their senses, their environments, their sexual behaviors--and argues that this diversity pales in comparison to the far wider possibilities in alien worlds.

Whether or not you believe in life on other planets, the artist's renditions of creatures such as Cheelas, Mesklinites, and Radiates from SF novels, as well as mathematical "alien messages" to decipher, are a real treat. (Here's an easy one: "Aliens are waiting for humanity to replace the question mark with the next value in the sequence before they will consider us worthy for further communication: 77, 49, 36, 18, ?") He also raises interesting issues; for example, what form would art take for creatures sensitive to smells or heat rather than light? To top it off, Pickover includes examples of potential interplanetary humor taboos: "Don't make puns around Scolexes because it outrages their sense of linguistic symmetry, which they've fought holy wars over." SF fans will enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking book. --C.B. Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:45 -0400)

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