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Contact (1985)

by Carl Sagan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,889116845 (3.99)217
In December 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who -- or what -- is out there? In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future -- and our own.
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    5hrdrive: A better "first contact" story.
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    beyondthefourthwall: Well-drawn, thoughtful humanistic sci-fi (though both occasionally drop the ball slightly when it comes to BIPOC folks).
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  7. 22
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    Konran: A first contact tale on the pessimistic end of the spectrum. Also, space vampires. Done well. And they're not the aliens.
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English (111)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Review 17 – Contact by Carl Sagan (1985)

ASIN / ISBN: B01NGT5T6A / 978-1857235807

READING DATES: 8 October 2017 to 18 February 2018.

DATE: Saturday, 2 November 2019.

TITLE: Contact: A novel by Carl Sagan (1985)

PUBLICATION: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (20 Dec. 2016), 450 pages, Kindle Edition. £5.99

FIRST SENTENCE: “By human standards it could not possibly have been artificial: It was the size of a world.”

REVIEW (1 SENTENCE): Lost girl finds a way to contact dead father, but no one believes her.

QUOTES: “The great radio telescopes of the world are constructed in remote locations for the same reason Paul Gauguin sailed to Tahiti: For them to work well, they must be far from civilization.”

“The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”

“She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”

“You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”

RATING: Excellent 4 stars. ★★★★
GOODREADS: 4.13 ★★★★ ( )
  ironjaw | Sep 24, 2021 |
This book was wow. Simply wow. It's very technical at times, which isn't surprising considering it's a book about scientists by a scientist, but it offers up philosophical, cultural, and sociological questions that everyone should think about.

Contact obviously broadened my horizons and opened up my mind. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3743873.html

I had read this soon after it came out in 1985 - I was a big Carl Sagan fan, of course, and lapped it up uncritically. Coming back to it a third of a century later, I can see the flaws, particularly those that were addressed by Zemeckis in making the film. There is way too much info-dumping, and too much philosophical debate on subjects that interested Sagan deeply, but are only loosely connected to the plot. Ellie's relationship with the senior government official is much less interesting to us (and indeed to her) than the screen relationship with the evangelical chap. The coda in which Ellie finds the secret message from the Creators to the Universe concealed in the digits of pi reminded me, perhaps unfairly, of the end of Douglas Adams' So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (which was published the year before, so this is mere coincidence). But on the other hand, fitting five passengers into the cosmic journey makes it more interesting on paper, where you cannot see the cinematic special effects. And I should not be too harsh: the whole thing is inspired by a sensawunda that I basically share and sympathise with. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 27, 2021 |
Having re-watched the movie many times, I thought it was finally time to give the book a shot. It matches up surprisingly well with the movie, with smart cuts from the book - I was actually impressed by that. The book goes more into Elles family life, which has a different dynamic than the movie.

The part I enjoyed the most in the book were the discussions between Elle and religious leaders. The book went much more into these discussions than in the book. Probably my favorite quotes from the book was by Elle when discussing world overpopulation: "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism."

Overall some definite differences between the book and the movie, but not so much that you're going to be surprised by what's happening. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
I watched the movie Contact years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no idea who Carl Sagan was when I had seen it. I discovered him about 4 years ago after learning that he was behind the original Cosmos, pre-Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Since then, I have fallen in love with his work. Funny enough, I have read about 5 of his books so far and have yet to jump into Cosmos. Terrible I know.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to jump into his only fictional work.

What I liked about the story was the hard science. This was missing from the movie but that's expected. I didn't expect the strong religion versus science aspect. The movie touches a bit on this but not as strongly as in the novel. Sagan's writing as always is top notch, in my opinion. He has a way with words and explaining things that makes his work a joy to read.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I found it to be a page-turner.

I think I'll going go watch the movie again!

My thoughts on the ending

Religion is based on faith. By the end of the book, Ellie wanted everyone to believe that the events that occurred in the Machine really did happen. But she had no proof. The videotapes were empty. She hoped society would have faith in her and believe her story. She ends up looking for faith. The final sentence in the novel is: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. Maybe Sagan's message was that regardless of what you believe in, love is what gets us through everything. ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
It's bug-eyed monster time again. This time the alien devils are discovered not by Captain Rick Thrust of the US Starship Trousersnake but by mega-boring scientists and lots of hard-work.
added by andersocheva | editNew Musical Express, Steven Wells (May 16, 1987)
 

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sagan, Carlprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lomberg, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkins, IrvingDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werner, MeikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedication
For Alexandra,
who comes of age
with the Millennium.
May we leave your generation a world
better than the one we were given.
First words
By human standards it could not possibly have been artificial: It was the size of a world.
Quotations
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.
You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.
She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
Your religion assumes that people are children and need a boogeyman so they'll behave. You want people to believe in God so they'll obey the law. That's the only means that occurs to you: a strict secular police force, and the threat of punishment by an all-seeing God for whatever the police overlook. You sell human beings short.
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In December 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who -- or what -- is out there? In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future -- and our own.

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