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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  63,869 ratings  ·  1,277 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
Mass Market Paperback, 580 pages
Published August 28th 1997 by Pocket (first published 1985)
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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...more
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...more
[This review has been retracted. See it here:]
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is truly great novel and it's written by one of the most respected scientist in the field of outer space, Carl Sagan. Readers who enjoy techno-thrillers in the style of Michael Chrichton, I am sure that they will find this book the same as enjoyable. Sagan is able to merge all his factual science knowledge with strong theories and very possible science fiction. If you want to read about a "first contact" with an alien intelligence in a form as "real" as possible, this is your novel. Sagan n...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)...more
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
Heather's Mum
Sep 09, 2007 Heather's Mum rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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...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...more
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...more
Aug 04, 2007 Matthew rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Well, I really enjoyed it. I sound reluctant because it fights you the whole way. You might want to just rename it "Preaching: A Practical Guide to Being Insufferably Obvious". This book is so preachy it hurts.

It's quite a good scifi book, you should read it. Sagan explores the social and political ramifications of knowing that there are more advanced alien races watching you.

What follows is a rant about the childish discussion of religion in Contact.

(Full disclosure: I'm not a christian of any...more
This book was wow. Simply wow. It's very technical at times, which isn't surprising considering it's a book about scientists by a scientist, but it offers up philosophical, cultural, and sociological questions that everyone should think about.

Contact obviously broadened my horizons and opened up my mind. <3 Carl Sagan.
carl sagan was one of my personal heroes, a true scientist for the masses. his book contact is an insightful look into what would happen if we were to recieve a message from beyond the heavens. good movie too.

" hey dad? you think there are people on other planets?"

" well i guess id say, if it is just us....seems like an awful waste of space."
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Ending a bit vague? 9 84 Aug 01, 2014 03:02PM  
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South African Boo...: Contact by Carl Sagan 41 19 Nov 01, 2012 11:47PM  
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  • Carl Sagan: A Life
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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.” 576 likes
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” 331 likes
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