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    Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

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      Non-dune discussion

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    Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Omphalos » 09 Dec 2009 23:11

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    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..
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Dune Nerd » 10 Dec 2009 00:24

    I have about 50 pages left on this one and I actually really enjoy the faith vs rationalism elements, probably some of my favorite discourses in the book. I am enjoying it also but I know that my brother in law (a baptist youth pastor) gave me a very odd look when he saw what I was reading for no reason other than the fact that Sagan was not known as a proponent of christianity not b/c he had any idea about the book itself.

    Oh well, I agree Omph very good book thus far.

    BTW have you read Demon Haunted World? It is not Sci-Fi but aimed more at the scientific aspects of his thinking and much better even than this book is, imho.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Omphalos » 10 Dec 2009 00:43

    Havent read that one. You should give The Listeners a try when you finish Contact.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Hunchback Jack » 10 Dec 2009 03:05

    I highly recommend Demon-Haunted World. It gets a tad diatribish in places, but overall it's a fantastic discussion about science vs. pseudo-science. Must reread it at some point.

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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby TheDukester » 10 Dec 2009 17:14

    Holy guacamole, Contact was a book first? I always thought of it as "that Jodie Foster movie that's been #13 on my Netflix list for like three years."

    That's definitely my "learn something new every day" thing for today. I had no idea.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Omphalos » 10 Dec 2009 18:05

    A very enjoyable book, actually. In the eternal debate of "which was better - the film or the book," I'd go with the book, but the film did a great job with the story it tried to tell.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandChigger » 11 Dec 2009 02:26

    Oh yeah, definitely read the book! :)
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby 13athroom » 12 Dec 2009 04:26

    i Heart this thread. and Contact. and Demon Haunted World. and Dragons of Eden. pretty much anything Sagan related gets Hearted by me.

    does Agent Smith in el matrix remind anyone besides myself of Carl Sagan? is there a crunchier pickle than Vlassic? why is this post so chock full of whimsical questioning?

    i hope someone here has answers. BILLIONS of them. BILLIONS AND BILLIONS.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Omphalos » 12 Dec 2009 05:02

    I think you mean "billyums and billyums." Welcome back. Were you deployed?
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby 13athroom » 12 Dec 2009 05:25

    nope. Im a lurker these days. i come in here at least once a week and have a look around. i havent gotten back into my old routine since returning home. finally read PAUL OF DUNE though... DYNAMITE! fantastic book. im sure you guys felt similar during your readthroughs.

    Sagan though... that guy was friggin AWESOME. Billions and Billions of Awesome.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Omphalos » 12 Dec 2009 07:03

    Well, glad to hear from you. It's been too long.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandChigger » 12 Dec 2009 07:27

    (Ditto! Kewl new avatar, too! :D )
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby trang » 12 Dec 2009 22:30

    read it when it came out, dug it then, still dig it. Movie pretty dam good too. Cosmos was just unbelievable, watch it periodically. When it came on PBS I had recorded all the episodes to VHS, but I believe he did some updates later and they were incorporated to a DVD set, havent got around to getting those yet, but need to.

    guess the unanswered question was, Sagan one of us? or was he a Visitor?
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandChigger » 13 Dec 2009 09:46

    (I really hate that "aliens helped us build Stonehenge/the Pyramids/etc because our recent-to-the-ground ancestors were WAY too stupid to have done it on their own" shit. :lol: Sagan was one of us. ;) )
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby trang » 14 Dec 2009 06:19

    ::::in a terrible baritone singing voice::: "soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of CRANKY?"
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandChigger » 14 Dec 2009 18:45

    That's ME! :D
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandRider » 02 Jan 2010 17:09

    not much of a question about "book v. movie" - movie was waste of time, etc.


    this book has almost been as important to me as parts of Dune,
    if only for the ending, and the mystery of Pi

    I've used that example over and over again around campfires when
    the talk turns to the nature of God - while Sagan used this idea
    fictionally, I have no doubt that one day mathematicians & physicists
    will discover something similar -not like they haven't already, there are
    amazing clues to the nature of "creation" already discovered if barely
    understood, but I think one day we will be faced with some clear cut
    proof, and it will come thru math & science ....
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Jan 2010 03:25

    I would agree (I think...) I doubt there is anything that could ever even come close to proving the existance of a creator, but if anything ever did then I think it would come from the field of mathmatics.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SadisticCynic » 04 Jan 2010 12:50

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:I would agree (I think...) I doubt there is anything that could ever even come close to proving the existance of a creator, but if anything ever did then I think it would come from the field of mathmatics.


    No doubt if there was such a proposition it would end up being one of the undecidable ones Godel tells us about; at least if I was the creator, that's what I would do, just to annoy people. :)
    Ah English, the language where pretty much any word can have any meaning! - A Thing of Eternity
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Hunchback Jack » 06 Jan 2010 18:09

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:I would agree (I think...) I doubt there is anything that could ever even come close to proving the existance of a creator, but if anything ever did then I think it would come from the field of mathmatics.


    Or physics, maybe.

    It sure ain't through biology tho. Our bodies are a mess.

    HBJ
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 06 Jan 2010 18:16

    Hunchback Jack wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:I would agree (I think...) I doubt there is anything that could ever even come close to proving the existance of a creator, but if anything ever did then I think it would come from the field of mathmatics.


    Or physics, maybe.

    It sure ain't through biology tho. Our bodies are a mess.

    HBJ


    No kidding, what kind of fool god would combine our breathing tube with our eating tube? Rediculous design flaw.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandRider » 06 Jan 2010 21:42

    or put the sewer right in the middle of the playground







    BTW:

    ridiculous, godsdammit ....
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Mr. Teg » 07 Jan 2010 00:06

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:No kidding, what kind of fool god would combine our breathing tube with our eating tube? Rediculous design flaw.


    Rediculous? Or Redundancy?
    To coin a phrase from Sandrider, sometimes called the "second fish sucker!"

    Btw, nice sig Sandrider. Great series!
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby Omphalos » 07 Jan 2010 00:32

    That's ridundant.
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    Re: Book Review - Contact, by Carl Sagan

    Postby SandRider » 07 Jan 2010 01:12

    Mr. Teg wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:No kidding, what kind of fool god would combine our breathing tube with our eating tube? Rediculous design flaw.


    Rediculous? Or Redundancy?
    To coin a phrase from Sandrider, sometimes called the "second fish sucker!"

    Btw, nice sig Sandrider. Great series!



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    what was stupid was for IFC to run the entire original series in the weeks before
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