This book is simply brilliant,it flowlessly combines science, science fiction, and a deeply moving story. What would happen if an alien civilization much more advanced than us made contact with us? What would they think about us? How would we feel when we knew that we're no so special as we thought, that there are people more intelligent, more advanced and above all, more civilliced than us? Sagan brilliantly played with these questions along the story, wich tells us about the life of Ellie Arroway, the most deeply involved astronomer in the whole affair of finding a message from allien beings, decoding it, and finally make contact. Through Ellie's point of view, we witness the whole story: Team work of scientist around the globe, political affairs (deep criticism of virtually every political system is descreetly included in Ellie's conversations with her coleages), religious affairs, the achievement of the goal, the hipocrisy and cruelty of politicians, and private aspects of Ellie's life as the death of her father, her relation with her mother and stepfather, her love affairs; this may seem beside the point in this story, but, are scientific questions and doubts such as the existence of extra terrestrial intelligence more important than "simple" personal questions and doubts about our lives? Sagan also played brillantly with this question, and when I finished the book, I started to ponder a few things, as the scientific I am, and as the human being I am. As I said, a deeply moving and exciting story.