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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  68,321 ratings  ·  1,364 reviews
It is December 1999, the dawn of the millennium. A team of international scientists is poised for the most fantastic adventure in human history. After years of scanning the galaxy for signs of somebody or something else, this team believes they've found a message from an intelligent source--and they travel deep into space to meet it. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan inject ...more
Paperback, 434 pages
Published January 8th 1998 by Mazarine (first published 1985)
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A smart story crafted by a real space science guru


The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.

When I read this book, back then in 1997, I did it like a couple of months before of being able to watch the film adaptation. (And I am truly glad that I was able to get the movie in blu-ray, a few months ago in this year, 2014))

This is truly great novel and it's written by one of the most respected scientist in the field about science of ou
L Greyfort
"Your god is too small."

The heroine makes this comment about 2/3 of the way through this novel. She is trying to get across the idea that, if your god cannot encompass the knowlege which humans have so laboriously amassed over the millenia (which is only about two teaspoons worth in comparison to the enormity of the universe!), then there is something wrong with the god you've made for yourself.

A lot of what is going on in Sagan's book, it seems to me, is the attempt to explore and express the
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Sagan was a lucid and impassioned defender of rationality and clear thought. Unfortunately, his foray into fiction did little to increase the understanding of his philosophies, and much to muddy the waters of once clear thought. Inspired by Asimov and Heinlein, he decided that fiction was as good a place as any to explore his ideas on science, belief, and wonder.

While we expect long, in-depth explanations from non-fiction, fiction readers want more than just a lecture from the author. They expec
Jul 13, 2013 Jill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jill by: Samadrita
Contact is not only one of the most religious science fiction books I’ve ever read but also one of the most religious books I’ve ever read, period. In Carl Sagan’s only work of fiction, the story is a mere backbone, a structure upon which Sagan can explore what he truly wants to explore, that is, the deepest questions of our existence.

What is our purpose here?
Can humans live without institutionalized religion?
What are the dangers of extraterrestrial contact?
How did we come to exist?
Can science a
[This review has been retracted. See it here:]
Charlie George
I was surprised by how similar the original story was to the movie, as I had heard they butchered it. Not so. The only changes of any weight were in Ellie's relationships to the other major characters, and the removal of dated material relating to the Soviet Union.

Sagan's forte is definitely in non-fiction science popularization, and it is on display even in this work of fiction, where I'm sorry to say, it doesn't make for particularly good storytelling.

I was not surprised by the book's greatest
Joey Francisco
Tonight, after two days of heavy rain, I looked up and smiled at the stars dotting the night sky.

I'm somewhat of a hard critic, but I had to give CONTACT five stars because it did something truly amazing~it helped me again embrace the wonder and awe I once felt for the universe as the geeky kid that adored science.

This book is thought-provoking, and absolutely beautiful to read. What can I say? It made my heart and soul sing.

As a child I was fascinated by the stars and universe, and even asked
Peter Meredith
I love it when an author can get me to learn at the same time as entertaining me—Carl Sagan and Michael Crichton are the best at this(Though E. L. James is right up there with them. She taught me how to debase women and make them think that it's liberating in some way)
I can’t say enough good things about the writing of the late Carl Sagan. Previously, the only works of his I had read are his non-fiction works “Cosmos” and “Dragons of Eden”. I didn’t quite know what to expect of his fictional work, though I think I had a few good clues going into it, the first being the fact I’ve seen the film adaptation about fifty times (which I discovered is vastly different than this story, aside from the general, top-level plot) and the second being Sagan’s stated expecta ...more
I'm a closet science fiction fan, although I suppose one has to be in the closet about it to be... in the closet.

ANYWAY, this is one of my all-time favorite books Ever. I think I saw the movie first and despite not really liking it, my interest was piqued by the book... and a big book, too. I really like long, good reads (chalk it up to my early interest in historical romance novels which for the most part - especially early Johanna Lindsey ones, none of her new crap - are long and big... haha)
Arun Divakar
Religion has a nature of making their interpretation of God to be an omnipresent, omnipotent deity. It is most obvious that they have to create such a figure for if otherwise, not many people will be takers for your religion. In the few decades that has passed ever since I have been capable of rational thought, it has been a consistent observation that a lot of people around me take God to be a petitioning body. You pray to him/her for getting through exams, a safe delivery of your child from th ...more
As a general rule I like Carl Sagan's writing, both fiction and reference.

Resplendent with both fears of the new millenium and mid-1980s nuclear jitters, I can't help but feel that this novel borrows much the film "Red Planet Mars," where astronomers get in touch with our planetary neighbor by broadcasting the number "pi" (and receive, in response, a broadcast of the Sermon on the Mount).

Though some of this tome appears quite dated from a technological aspect, and bound up in the context of the
Heather's Mum
Sep 09, 2007 Heather's Mum rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sagan fans
Shelves: sciencefiction
Short review - huge book.

I liked Sagan and his "billions and billions" charm. I am sorry he is no longer sharing planet earth with us. As with all of his publications, Contact was well written, entertaining & educational. However, it left me wondering if Sagan truly was an agnostic. (or atheist?)

I hate to admit (& regret the fact) that the religious characters in the book do indeed reflect some Christian's attitudes and beliefs. There are times we (Christians) can do more harm than good
I adore Carl Sagan. I came to this adoration rather late, through Symphony of Science. So I've intended to pick up Contact for a while, and I'm glad I finally did. It did take me quite a while to get into it -- the level of scientific detail is what was difficult for me, but there were some great scenes: the one that springs to mind is the one where they're lying in bed quoting in the encyclopaedia at each other.

Another thing I loved is that he had a female scientist as his protagonist, and a fe
What a truly remarkable read. This is the kind of science fiction which instead of being more speculative relies on existing theories about extraterrestrial life and details of the ongoing research to spin an enthralling tale. Carl Sagan has tried in his own unique way to merge the seemingly contradictory worlds of science and faith. A near impossible feat for a man of science, but he manages to achieve exactly this and in such a thrilling way too. He combines elements of science fiction, radio ...more
I've read several of Sagan's non-fiction books prior to this novel, and I strangely found him to be much less engaging here. The first half of Contact reads more like non-fiction than a story, but it's lacking the voice that made his non-fiction so good. The second half of the book, though, once the Machine gets built, suddenly has a lot more heart to it than I was expecting. Now that I'm done with it, I'm finding myself appreciating the whole thing a lot more than I thought I was going to in th ...more
Like many my age, Carl Sagan played a significant role in encouraging me to become a scientist and in particular, an astronomer. This book was transformative for me as a young teen: Ellie is such a strong, self-confident and human heroine. After reading this book, she was my role model, and it didn't mater that I knew she was fictional. If Carl wrote it, there must be female scientists out there just like her and one day I could be one too.
Jen Julian
The film version blows. Matthew McConaughey can suck it.

So Carl Sagan, who worked on the SETI program for several years, basically works through the "what if" scenario in which extraterrestrials communicate a message to our planet. The idea seems simple enough, but Sagan explores in detail the political, scientific and spiritual ramifications of such a monumental event ever taking place. Some on Earth seek further understanding of the message and its instructions while others claim it is the voi
Man, I just love Carl Sagan so much. He's so good at sharing the wonder of science in a way that's accessible to people. It's really inspiring. This book is very simple to read, with clear language and an understandable explanation of most scientific phenomena, yet probes deep into both theological and psychological depths like few tales can. The result is something both enjoyable and inspiring.

In Contact, Sagan's ability to capture the beauty and imagination of scientific research through the
Aug 04, 2007 Matthew rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most people
Shelves: fiction, god
(pre) discussions on science and religion with an atheist friend in the US led her to give me her battered copy of this. anticipating a good read and will start on it asap.

(post) I quite liked Contact, though it was, especially toward the end, very different from what I expected. I thought Carl Sagan might come down more on the side of science, and at the start, when introducing Ellie the astronomer vs Pastor Rankin the crazy narrow minded evangelist, he was, but toward the end I wasn't really v
If there are intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, why haven't we received a message from them yet? and what would happen if we actually did? Near the end of Contact we learn Carl Sagan's speculative but quite plausible answer to the first question. The bulk of the book concerns his answers to the second question, which are unfortunately far less satisfying.

Contact suffers from an excess of exposition and from generally weak character development. (Isaac Asimov could make this work but f
This has been one of my favourite movies for ages now and it's about time I got around to reading it. I think the reason I love it so much is that it seems like such a plausible alien contact story. Like something that really could happen tomorrow. And that makes you think about what might be out there. On a day to day basis it seems stupid and silly to think about aliens, but once in a while something like this comes along and you think, "Oh yeah, that could totally happen!".

However, this isn't
სეიგანის შესანიშნავი ნოველა. ვფიქრობ ჩვენთან რობერტ ზემეკისის ეკრანიზაცია უფრო ცნობილია. მთავარი გმირი ახალგაზრდა ენთუზიასტი მეცნიერი ქალი ელი აროუეი(ჯოდი ფოსტერი)ხდება კაცობრიობის ისტორიაში უდიდესი აღმოჩენის ავტორი. უცხო ცივილიზაცია ცდილობს დედამიწასთან კავშირის დამყარებას. 13 წლის ვიყავი ფილმი რომ გამოვიდა, მას მერე არაერთხელ მინახავს, ყოველთვის გაოცებას იწვევდა ის ამბავი რაც ელის გადახდა. თუმცა კარლ სეიგანს დიდ ხანს არ ვიცნობდი და კიდევ უფრო სასიამოვნო იყო აღმოჩენა რომ ამ ფილმის სცენარი მას ე ...more
I love stories where the world is effectively our own, but then one weird, amazing thing happens that turns the world upside down. Contact has this in spades, exploring the political, religious, scientific and personal reactions to an alien signal from outer space. The story doesn't unfold simply or with too many contrivances. And you can be amused at Sagan's inability to predict some technological advances.

I had a tough time rating Contact. On one hand the science, concept and consequences of a
For all the tenure of humans on Earth, the night sky had been a companion and an inspiration. The stars were comforting. They seemed to demonstrate that the heavens were created for the benefit and instruction of humans. This pathetic conceit became the conventional wisdom worldwide. No culture was free of it. Some people found in the skies an aperture to the religious sensibility. Many were awestruck and humbled by the glory and scale of the cosmos. Others were stimulated to the most extravagan
Andrea Blythe
"In the scant few decades in which humans have pursued radio astronomy, there has never been a real signal from the depths of space, something manufactured, something artificial, something contrived by an alien mind.
And yet the origin of life now seemed to be so easy — and there were so many billions of years available for biological evolution — that it was hard to believe the Galaxy was not teeming with life and intelligence."

– from Contact by Carl Sagan

So many alien contact stories, especia
Jedrek Kostecki
Great book but an unsatisfying ending.
Anyone with an imagination has thought about life beyond our own planet. An entire genre was born around it. Gradually though science fiction becomes just science or so we like to think.

I love the universe, I love space I love double stars, pulsars, red dwarfs and red giants. If I could tell the temp in Kelvin I would. Carl Sagan represents this passion and love for the unknown. When practicality and pure curiosity combine you get astronomy. We want to see new things and we want proof.

Many have
I was very pleased to see that there can be a first-rate, proper scientist who can not only write great popular science books (there are other examples too, like Dawkins and Gould), but who can also write great fiction (I cannot think of any other example). I normally stay away from sci-fi books and movies. I’m just not attracted to the adolescent fantasies of one galaxy waging war against another galaxy with their shiny weapons and spaceships, or yet another tribe of extraterrestrials coming do ...more
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Syria Readers Ass...: 007- Contact 2 57 Oct 04, 2014 03:02AM  
Ending a bit vague? 9 104 Aug 01, 2014 03:02PM  
Which is better, the book or the movie? 62 385 Jul 30, 2014 06:03AM  
South African Boo...: Contact by Carl Sagan 41 20 Nov 01, 2012 11:47PM  
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in 1934, scientist Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. After earning bachelor and master's degrees at Cornell, Sagan earned a double doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1960. He became professor of astronomy and space science and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, and co-founder of the Planetary Society. A great popularizer of science, Sagan produced th ...more
More about Carl Sagan...
Cosmos The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium

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“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” 632 likes
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” 375 likes
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