Sagan was Dir. of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies & David Duncan Prof. of Astronomy & Space Sciences at Cornell University.He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking & Voyage expeditions to the planets & was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature. He died in 1996.
Who could be better qualified than the author of the highly successful Cosmos to turn the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and humankind's first contact with it, into imaginative reality? This is precisely what Sagan does in this eagerly awaited and, as it turns out, engrossing first novel. The basic plot is very simple. A worldwide system of radio telescopes, in the charge of brilliant astrophysicist Ellie Arroway, picks up a ``Message'' from outer space. Ellie is instrumental in decoding the message and building the ``Machine'' for which it gives instructions (despite stiff opposition from religious fundamentalists and those scientists and politicians who fear it may be a Trojan Horse). Then she and fellow members of a small multinational team board the machine, take a startling trip into outer spaceand on their return must convince the scientific community that they are not the perpetrators of a hoax. Sagan's characters, mostly scientists, are credible without being memorable, and he supplies a love interest that is less than compelling. However, his informed and dramatically enacted speculations into the mysteries of the universe, taken to the point where science and religion touch, make his story an exciting intellectual adventure and science fiction of a high order. First serial to Discover Magazine; BOMC selection. Foreign rights: S & S. October 1
'Dazzling...Contact becomes the greatest adventure of all time.' ASSOCIATED PRESS 'Imaginative flair...The Sagan wit on full display...Contact jabs at commericalism, nationalism, sexism ... THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Dr. Ellie Arroway, a radio astronomer, discovers a clear and unmistakably intelligent signal from outer space. This signal, and the significance of knowing "we are not alone," excites debate; fosters love, hate, and fear; and unifies mankind on a worldwide scale. Ellie remains scientifically skeptical and aloof from the controversy as she becomes involved with the politicians and scientists who hammer out a consolidated earthly response to the extraterrestrials' instructions for building a mysterious "machine." Is the machine good or evil? Is it from God? Or is it a doomsday machine? Narrator Laurel Lefkow has a lovely, mellow voice that will lull listeners, providing the multinational characters with precise accents. Overdubs mar the narrative in spots but not enough to counteract Sagan's beautiful writing; he contemplates faith-based vs. scientifically grounded belief systems of the universe's creation and purpose, showing remarkable understanding of both positions and in the end synthesizes the two. Recommended for larger collections. Douglas C. Lord, Hartford P.L., CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.