Top critical review
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Maybe showing its age?
on 18 August 2012
I recognise this is a classic book, but having read it 30 odd years after it was written I am wondering if it is now showing its age. A previous 3* review went to town with criticism, so I will keep this very brief.
What I liked:
Written with a great deal of enthusiasm for the scientific endeavour.
The chapter at the end that argues for a worldwide human community, to prevent our nuclear destruction.
The insignificance of we humans in the grand scheme of things is explained very powerfully (assuming you accept the science).
What I didn't like:
I felt there was too much conjecture; particularly about the nature and number of potential lifeforms on other planets.
The complete lack of any diagrams when explaining difficult issues; such as explaining what the world looks like when travelling near the speed of light.
The book seemed a bit unstructured and didn't flow that well from chapter to chapter. I wonder if this reflects the sequencing of the associated TV series.
I felt Sagan tried to cover too much ground in 375 pages. This was at the cost of providing justifications for certain facts which I personally felt were needed (e.g. why does science say we can't travel faster than the speed of light? How does light travel through a vacuum? Why does Sagan think that a self replicating structure can be randomly created, and thus for evolution to begin?)
P.S. I accept the science myself and am not coming from a religious point of view; I would just have liked to have been convinced more about information the reader is required to accept.