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on 26 October 2013
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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on 11 December 2013
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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on 1 May 2014
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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on 22 April 2014
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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on 1 February 2015
He's gripped
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on 7 May 2015
This is a very nice book about the history of the Earth from a different perspective. Highly recommended
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