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Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence | [Seth Shostak]

Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"Readable and engaging, despite the presence of some weighty scientific material." (Booklist)

What Members Say

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    Jorge Fort Irwin, CA, United States 09-08-10
    Jorge Fort Irwin, CA, United States 09-08-10
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    "Excellent book on SETI"

    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!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 11-12-10
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 11-12-10

    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.

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    "Somewhat Disappointed..."

    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.....

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Steven
    sheffield, United Kingdom
    12/3/10
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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