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Contact (1985)

by Carl Sagan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,424106865 (3.99)209
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.
  1. 20
    The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Stories about man's search for intelligent life in the universe with elements of hard science
  2. 20
    Chindi by Jack McDevitt (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Strange messages from beyond our world lure humans to explore space in the hope of meeting other intelligent life forms.
  3. 20
    Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (5hrdrive)
    5hrdrive: First contact
  4. 10
    Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (beyondthefourthwall)
  5. 21
    2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (5hrdrive)
    5hrdrive: A better "first contact" story.
  6. 10
    Born into Light by Paul Samuel Jacobs (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Well-drawn, thoughtful humanistic sci-fi (though both occasionally drop the ball slightly when it comes to BIPOC folks).
  7. 22
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (Konran)
    Konran: A first contact tale on the pessimistic end of the spectrum. Also, space vampires. Done well. And they're not the aliens.
  8. 01
    The Big Eye by Max Ehrlich (infiniteletters)
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» See also 209 mentions

English (101)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
I was surprised to actually enjoy this book. This is a book by the scientist/TV star Carl Sagan. He wrote this for TV and it was published in 1985. A book that addressed many issues still present; the struggle of science, politics, religion and equity. The book addresses issues between religion and science s well as other items of globalism. The whole experience of traveling via machine through various passages, talking with someone she had loved in life and then not being able to prove any of it when she returns all parallels a religious experience of wonder. The book reveals a scientist (Sagan) to not be as hard cored atheist as his reputation affirmed. As a novel, it may have been a bit dry, lacking somewhat in the amount of anxiety, fear and tension that would have resulted from a message from space. With that said, I now think about The Three-Body Problem which also is about receiving a message from space. ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 9, 2020 |
I'm not usually a fan of hard sci-fi, but I really enjoyed this. To be fair, a lot of this book is more about religion than science, but I LOVED the debate and thought the plot was a great idea. Sagan did a great job of not crucifying people of faith (see what I did there :) ) and in the end I felt that he was probably agnostic (I had always assumed he was an atheist). The only thing that seemed to be missing was tension. There was some, but overall, it was pretty "even-keeled" throughout. ( )
  ragwaine | Sep 6, 2020 |
so the only reason I lost interest is because my copy is a big ol' hardcover and I never wanted to lug it around with me. I'll get back to it I promise!
  katebrarian | Jul 28, 2020 |
‘He’s so perverse, Robert’, said Manny at lunch today. We’d been talking about the ending of Contact, which I’d just finished, where there is a message in Pi which proves that there is a Maker. The Maker has put a series of ones and noughts in Pi which make a circle if you care to set them out thus. Manny is quite taken with this. So, I’m like ‘Get off the grass. How could that possibly prove the existence of a Maker?’

‘Yes, that’s just what Robert thinks’, said Manny. I couldn’t tell if he was surprised or sad.

Call me perverse then. If this were the message:

The rest is here:

https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/contact-by-carl-sagan/ ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I really hate it when I lose reviews. Okay, take two.

I was just reminiscing on my younger self's condemnation (or at least his valid annoyances at the plot holes and some of the straight story elements), or the fact that I was trying to compare this classic SF work with other classic SF works that I was making my way through at the time and comparing them unfavorably because I wanted a lot more of the psychedelic naked singularity stuff and aliens, not just a long-winded optimistic synthesis of science, religion, politics, and philosophy.

But now, after having read a lot of so-so average SF, I can easily bump this one up because it balances everything on a good tightrope, including the story elements and the characterizations...

And I'm gonna face it... I'm SERIOUSLY in need of good science and heavy optimism and reconciliations between disparate camps of philosophies.

Whoa... was this novel exactly what the doctor ordered, or what?

I rocked to all the good science. I jammed to the intelligent discussions, whether they were religious, political, or even the ethics of science. Of course, the novel is about aliens and whether or not we're grown up, too, but that's all part of the big package, and what a huge package!

Sagan is rightly considered a god. :) I'm not alone in thinking he should have been writing tons more novels, either, and not just this single masterwork.

So if I ever get the chance to travel back in time and slap around my younger self, I'll do it joyfully. Sure, the novel has a few plot and element faults, but overall, I'm rather amazed that so much was able to come out of the text. As a whole, the book itself is a synthesis, and not only its message.

Oh, and other than that, I've seen the movie like a 10x24 times, as if each iteration was a point in pi, so it was also fun as hell picking out all the divergences between the book and the movie. I was always pretty amazed that not only the spirit was intact, but so was most of the pieces.

Sure, she wasn't alone on her little trip in the book, but both ways were pretty great. Want visual? Or do you want extrapolation and discussion and theory? Pick one. Watch or Read. :) Good, either way. :)

I can enthusiastically recommend this novel to anyone. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (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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Epigraph
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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