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on 15 February 2017
Sagan may have had his critics in the science community, but no one could ever doubt his passion for the subject, or his success in bringing astrophysics, astronomy and cosmology to the wider public interest. He was an imaginative visionary, and in this respect, Contact could be seen as his crowning glory. A certain type of sci-fi fan will hate this novel, but for all the wrong reasons. By avoiding the cliched pitfalls that he could have easily fallen into, Sagan presents a hard SF novel with a fascinating spin on how an alien race might 'manage' first contact with us. Told from the point of view of a very human, warm, yet flawed protagonist, the novel satisfies as a story, dazzles with the science, and is thoroughly readable on every page. Amongst the best novels I have ever come across. Hugely underrated, highly recommended.
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on 25 October 2017
I really enjoyed the film and to the best of my memory it seems the film was true to the book but missed out the more complicated science. I love reading about space, engineering, physics, any science really. I don't claim to always understand what I'm reading but this is where a Kindle e-book trumps a real book, as a dictionary and Wikipedia are at your fingertips. I was really surprised to find all the words I was unfamilar with were actually in the dictionary, as some of the words seemed quite obscure. The Kindle didn't let me down and even though I had to pause to look words up it didn't detract from the story because I felt I was also learning something.

Beyond the science, the story encourages you to condider what first contact would mean. What about our safety, our future, our beliefs? Would the world unite? Would the populace want trillions to be spent on a machine specified by a voice from space, when they don't know what it will do or if it will even work and when millions of people are in need? Carl Sagan looks at these questions. I don't know if his answers are realistic, that's up to you to decide but hopefully you will enjoy the journey that helps you get to that point and if you weren't before, perhaps you will also be captivated by the resplendence of the stars.

Overall, a great read that opens minds to science and out of this world possibilities. Definitely a journey to enjoy.
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on 29 August 2017
The film of Contact has been a favourite of mine for years, and when I saw the book had been released for Kindle users, I didn't hesitate to buy it. What a book! It's a cliche to say that the book is better than the film, but in this case it really is true... in fact there are huge differences in storyline; crucially, one whole aspect of the story is entirely missing from the film, and it is a mind-blowing concept that Carl finishes the book with (I won't give anything away).
I can't recommend this book highly enough, in fact I'd urge you to read it, to enjoy some of the finest sci-fi out there.
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on 3 December 2017
Whatever you think of him, you can't accuse Carl Sagan of not putting his money where his mouth was. He believed in the concept of making contact with alien civilisations. He wrote scientific books and papers about it. He wrote novels. He co-founded SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). And he helped craft the messages that were sent out beyond our solar system with the Pioneer and Voyager probes. His son Nick recorded the message “Hello from the children of planet Earth” that was included on the Golden Record.

He wrote this novel and later the story outline for the film Contact. I saw the movie but have no memories – other than Jodie Foster's face – and so I read the book without preconceptions. It starts well, with the long years of searching and the excitement when a message is detected. But then it lost its way a bit as Sagan introduced new characters and meandered through the jealousies, rivalries and conflicting interests of church, science and politics on a global scale. Yes, how we would react to the knowledge that we are not alone in the universe, that we might have encountered a superior species, is worthy of examination, but don't lose the excitement.

Then, in the final quarter of the book, the story-line becomes more focused again. Sagan doesn't try to tie up all the loose ends but we get enough explanations to satisfy. And, for me, the final thought is truly original and inspiring.
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on 14 November 2017
This book, (which also became an excellent movie), is an inspirational and well written story of 'first contact' between humankind and alien intelligences. For a refreshing change this event is not a story of invading monsters but of a world beginning the struggle to break out of it's old ways of paranoid thinking and, despite the stupid and disruptive elements in our society, to begin the long journey towards our becoming citizens of the wider galactic civilizarion. Carl Sagan was not only a great scientist but also an inspiring visionary, with a belief that our species will one day grow up and cease our petty, chiildish, brutal and destructive actions against each other and our own world.
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on 7 October 2015
Having seen, and thoroughly enjoyed, the film, I looked forward to finally reading
the book. The basics are the same - young lady working with radio telescopes
out in the wilds, eventually picks up messages from outer space.
In time the messages are translated, from which a fantastic machine is built, one
that can transport travellers to the stars.
The book and film have subtle differences, and, in my opinion, the film is a vast
improvement.
The love interest is with a different person from the book, and the final journey, in
the film, benefits from a sole traveller.
The book fills in much more of the complicated theories and data, and sometimes
leaves you gobsmacked.
But all in all a nice filler to the film.
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on 12 November 2017
This is the first book by Carl Sagan that I have read and it has nearly blown my brain. Fantastic story, cleverly crafted, amazingly well edited, not a hint of bad language and utterly compulsive reading.
A word of warning........make sure that the dictionary on your Kindle is enabled, you're sure going to need it!
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on 17 March 2018
I bought this on the strength of the name CarlSagan. Unfortunately while the idea and story is novel the constant clunky insertion.of scientific theory and theological argument is both distracting and annoying. I started skipping sections of over long explanation.The section where there is a meeting with evangelical preachers just felt like it had been crowbared in so Sagan could rehearse the various arguments for and against a creator. In the end I no longer cared about the central character or how the book ended. I just wanted to get to the end so I could start a new book.
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on 23 January 2018
After seeing the film first, on release the first time. Amazing. Recently read the book, so much more in it than the film.
I grew up with Cosmos, an amazing series,recently re-done . To be able to see further than the horizon and to be able to imagine more than the eye can see, showing others that vision is truly a gift. A parting gift from a man with such clarity and foresight. Truly a man destined for the stars.
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on 11 February 2018
Contact was a great film, but the book is absolutely terrible. Sagan, a brilliant popular science writer, clearly had absolutely no idea how to write a novel. The endless didactic musings are frankly a complete turn off, and distract completely from the story. The key to good story telling is "show not tell". Wading through dozens of pages of long-winded explanation is not what is wanted. Frankly I got bored half way through and gave up.
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