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Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars Hardcover – 30 Sep 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Current (30 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617230065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617230066
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pat Galea on 26 Oct 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm generally not a big fan of technical topics being told as stories, so I went into this book with some reservations.

But I was in for a surprise. Billings has selected those elements of the stories that put the quest into context, and told each part of the story with passion. It really does make sense to tell the tale this way, as the human factors (economics, alliances, conflicts etc.) play such a key role in the development of the science and engineering of exoplanet discovery and the search for life around other stars.

The book is not overly technical, and can be read comfortably by those who just have an interest in the subject. There are plenty of notes and suggestions for further reading on each chapter for those who want to delve into a particular topic in more detail, and there's a very comprehensive index.

Overall, a superb book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Poku on 11 Dec 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very excited to read this book, but must say I was extremely disappointed. I thought this book would be about the rapidly developing field of exoplanets. That is almost a footnote, this book rambles into oil exploration and other tenuously linked topics. I feel that the author did not have enough to write about in terms of exoplants and so wrote extensively about every related topic instead. Perhaps he felt to delve too deeply would have been too technical but even as a layman I did not enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Lee Billings has created a very diverse, rich and human story around man's journey into space exploration.

He ties neatly together themes of the human spirit, the creation of the universe, and the small but agonising part humanity plays within it.

Interviewing a range of diverse experts, he tells the story of key players in the exoplanet hunt, and clearly revels in the stories of the competition between scientific teams, and the growing knowledge base underlying it.

As a layman, I was never thrown off the compelling story of science and humanity moving forward. Occasionally, some passages become very heavily rich in scientific theory, but Billings's style is never stodgy, but rather light and lyrical, even with some of the most profound subject matter.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next.
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By Bob G on 22 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read, and summation of where we are as a species in understanding whether there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. The last 50 years in particular have been a watershed in the search techniques to establish whether there is anything out there.
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1 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Chris Roberts on 4 Jan 2014
Format: Hardcover
One day in town, we got bored stiff. We hid good behind a park bench. Toby & me hit a cop car with rocks. We ran lunatic like past the General Store and veered off to the left and into the woods. We scrambled up into our tree house. Pretty soon it was surrounded by the laws. We had slingshots & they had guns. I called out it wasn't fair and them fatsos just laughed. They stopped laughing when Toby & me dumped a fifty-five gallon of tar on them. It got all in the gun mechanisms and made them useless. We rained down rocks from our slingshots to cover our escape. We skedaddled out the back way and made for the dooming, closed up woods.

Come nightfall, we lay in a clearing peering up on the sky. It was blacker than a blackboard. Toby went on about taking to the open road, the hobo train life. How we could lay like we were on the plains and stargaze our heads off. I told him that stars were useless, you couldn't reach out and hold them like a starfish or snowflake. A stupid star didn't nearly throw off light like the crazy moon could. The closer you are to one, the more blurry it got. It isn't nothing but gas I told Toby. He said I was taking the fun out of it, so I stayed quiet, looking up.

The main thing about any book, starry or not, is that Toby & me like to use hardcovers as doorstops and throw paperbacks from a slow moving vehicle and we don't need any kind of star falling onto our heads to do it. That's all how Toby & me like to roll.

Chris Roberts, God of Shattering Stars
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