The future is here...in an adventure of cosmic dimension. In December, 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who - or what - is out there? In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future - and our own.
©1997 Carl Sagan (P)1997 Simon & Schuster
"Contact deals with issues...worth pondering.The range and depth of ideas is quite uncommon." (New York Times Book Review)
"Like a good mystery, Contact keeps us curious to the end...ingenious and satisfying." (Newsweek)
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
This story is a wonderful tribute to its author, a man of infinite hope and unquenchable optimism - it just can't be as lonely out there as our sole existence would demand it is! But, in his typical style, preferring to educate than to dictate, by letting the discovery fuel the desire to learn more, Sagan takes the listener on a journey to a most unlikely plane, or, maybe, a not so unlikely one.
These days, most people who love this book have seen the Zemeckis film. For many it disappointed. But it is important to remember that it was Sagan and his wife, Ann Druyan, who wrote the screenplay and, thereby extended their blessing to that interpretation. I mention this because it is hard now to listen to or read the book without picturing Jodie Foster or Matthew McConaughey (the latter in a much elevated role when compared to the book). I found that difficult. A better listener might be able to overcome that condition (or might actually like it).
I enjoyed this production, but probably not as much as my first read of this book many years ago. The first reason for this deficit is the one that I have mentioned (which is constantly in your face, even to the point of it being on the cover art). The second is that I found Laurel Lefkow's reading, although fine in most respects, a bit "sing-songy" in parts, particularly the sentimental parts.
Overall, this is a great story, sagaciously envisioned and well worth the effort to read or listen to.
Not very subtle and quite naive for my modern taste, but I really enjoyed it. It does turns into a lecture from time to time, but still never bores you or goes over your head.
I love this genre and thus greatly enjoyed the story. The reader did a tremendous job with keeping you interested with the many voices for characters. She's very talented. It had two short skips in the audio but for a whole book that was no issue. I would recommend and have already. Enjoy.
it was kinda slow at first and didn't really hold my interest but got much better as it progressed. It was very interesting to see how Sagan viewed the future, year2000, from 1985.
I am a fan of the movie, although it certainly has it's faults. I have always wanted to read the book and finally got around to it recently.
I didn't enjoy much of it. It was a struggle to make it to the end. Mr. Sagan gets bogged down trying to explain this and that - religion in particular. You can sure tell this was written by someone who was not a fiction writer. What could have been great parts of the book were just blurted out with no real build-up or meaning.
Ms. Lefkow's performance is also stiff and lacks any kind of power.
I am not sorry I read it, but it is hard to recommend.
My firstly and foremost misunderstanding, was that this was a work of fiction.
When I originally picked the book up, seeing it written by the great and influential Carl Sagan, I was hoping to find some information to take with me from this book. About halfway through it was when I realised this take was not of our timeline, and then struggled to enjoy the story following.
I found myself annoyed with the narrator at times due to a large number of segments that the narrator's tone and voice change slightly, but enough to be noticeable, and frequent enough to be tiresome.
A good work of fantasy, but unfortunately not my cup of tea.
"Beautiful, but infuriating at times"
I'm not well enough read to know for certain but this exploration of SETI and its implications are probably some of the best in fiction. However, it sometimes comes across as unrealistic. Although the story features dissenting voices and antagonists I feel it has a slightly naïve view that the world would pull together altruistically in the face of such an event, rather than turn on each other. I think the Internet initially showed this might be possible but as the Internet of 2016 and the attitudes to climate change show us the public at large and the media are impatient and easily distracted and wouldn't have time for this despite the perspective it should have given them.
The narrator's character voices were quite distracting at times. Perhaps the audio book can't convey a sense of awe as effectively as film or prose, but the story felt a little flat where it should have been inspiring. The croaky voices and dodgy accents didn't do much for me and Laurel's voice was often exhausting after a long session.
Carl Sagan was an inspiration. If you'd like to take a journey into his imagination then this is the place to do it. Or if you need some hopeful optimism about our place in the universe, some well grounded science and excited descriptions about the buzz of discovery then give it a try.
"Very poor audio book"
If you liked the film then don't buy this audio book. The narration is very poor and monotonous. This is one of the very few audio books I haven't got to the end of. Chapter 8 was the furthest I managed. If I could get my money back I would ask.
I would definitely listen to Contact again and not just because it was a brilliant story or because I know I'm going to get more from revisiting it. I spent much of the first listen comparing it to the film but now I've done that, the book will be foremost in my mind and I'll be able to relax with the story.
I can't think of a direct comparison, but there are elements of The Wizard of Oz and Narnia in there - in a really small way!
My favourite scene was the debate between Ellie and the 2 pastors on the nature of her belief in science versus theirs in religion. If I can pick another, the way Ellie's position is flipped about at the end is fab and I enjoyed the reversal. As far as I can tell, belief, faith and respect for each other's views is the heart of the book. I don't know much about Carl Sagan, but I get the sense he didn't believe in absolute certainties and he handles both viewpoints fairly and with an open mind in the book. He leaves you thinking.
If you like lots of technical detail and science alongside your philosophical debate, then you'll really enjoy this story. Personally, I tend to focus on the latter, but I didn't find the science overwhelming or overly uninteresting and zoning out on the odd detail didn't detract from what was an excellent book.
First class narration too.
Interesting and very well read.
The narration and the differences to the film version
I thought it was Jodie Foster?
The narrator's impeccable reading style brought this great book to life. She breathed and became the characters, creating the illusion of reality, involving the listener in Ellie's experiences.
"Classically Good SF"
Brilliantly read, well paced and characterised science fiction by a seminal scientist that informs so much that came afterward.
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