Since the first Martian “canals” were charted in 1877, space aliens have captivated skygazers, night travelers, and television-watchers worldwide. Polls show that nearly half of all Americans believe in extraterrestrials, and many are convinced they’ve visited Earth. A fair number of scientists also suspect that aliens exist, and for decades they’ve been seriously searching - using powerful antennas and computers to scan for radio waves coming from other star systems. This engaging memoir reveals the true story of the Search for ExtraterrestrialIntelligence (SETI), and discloses what we may very soon discover.
Chronicling the program’s history with insight and humor, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak assures us that if there is sentient life in the universe, we are within decades of picking up its signal. Methodically busting urban legends about alien crash landings, crop circles, and the like, Shostak pits scientific truth against speculation and delivers important news on the state of our knowledge. He answers a host of questions about SETI, including where its antennas are aimed…how we know which frequency to monitor…what our response might be…and why, if a signal is detected, “it will be one that’s deliberately beamed into space, not the Klingon equivalent of I Love Lucy.”
Contrary to popular opinion, any aliens found by SETI will not resemble the squishy, big-eyed creatures on cinema screens. Rather, they will have already invented their successors: super smart post-biological thinking machines vastly beyond our own capabilities.
Edgy, amusing, and remarkably profound, Confessions of an Alien Hunter addresses the startling possibilities awaiting us in deep space and in humankind’s own future.
©2010 Seth Shostak (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Readable and engaging, despite the presence of some weighty scientific material." (Booklist)
This is simply the best book dealing with the science behind SETI, astrobiology and the steps humanity has taken in support of these endeavors. Shostak is brilliant and entertaining, mixing science with popular culture, and explaining why the question “Are we alone?” is so important for humanity. I read the book first and just finished the audiobook. The audiobook is just as good and I’ll probably listen to it many times. Just listen to the first chapter and you’ll be hooked!
Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.
While this book did have some good material in it, I was somewhat disappointed over all. In my opinion, the author spent way too much time discussing the possibility of life arising by chance on other worlds, and not enough time on current methods used by SETI to hunt for extra terrestrial life today.
I was impressed by the author's skepticism about aliens already having visited our planet, however I thought he spent too little time defending other arguments against intelligent life in the universe.
The narration was good, and the author has a good sense of humor, but all in all, I was expecting much more.....
The least helpful reviewer on audible.
I have just recently listened to Paul Davies's book entitled "The Eerie Silence" so I can't help but make comparisons. There is a lot of overlapping information between the two books.
I have to say that I thought this one was slightly better. While this book has a lot of science in it, it didn't get as bogged down as the other book did. Seth Shostak is more up beat and seemed to get down on my level a little more. He seemed more optimistic than Davies. At no point in listening to this book did I get bored or felt like I wasn't grasping the subject matter.
There was also less speculation in this book, and it had more information on what it is SETI actually does and more importantly what they don't do. I felt like I learnt more.
If you are interested in this topic my suggestion would be to listen to this book first. However, you would be doing yourself an injustice by not also listening to the other book as well. Both are great.
"Fascinating and entertaining"
This is a hugely enjoyable account of the serious science involved in the search for extra terrestrial intelligence, written by the SETI Institute's senior astronomer. There are also entertaining diversions into things like the depiction of aliens and space travel by Hollywood, the cuts in NASA funding for searching for extra terrestrial intelligence brought about by a politician looking to attract publicity for himself, and UFO conspiracy theories.
Seth Shostak presents the 'Are We Alone' podcast, and listeners to the podcast would probably enjoy hearing his own thoughts and an account of the research being done by the SETI institute. The narrator is excellent, although it would have been even better if someone had persuaded Seth to read it himself.
This has to be one of the best popular science books in the last few years.
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