Scientist-author Carl Sagan (1934-1996) employs these powerful pages to debunk myths, superstitions, and other phenomenon that many foolishly accept o...moreScientist-author Carl Sagan (1934-1996) employs these powerful pages to debunk myths, superstitions, and other phenomenon that many foolishly accept or have been persuaded to believe in. Sagan shows why many of these myths are either ridiculous, or at least worthy of great skepticism. He challenges readers to read and think critically - vital skills so few employ and not often taught in classrooms. Sagan asks us to scrutinize outrageous claims via intelligent inquiry and analysis. He also rings alarm bells at what he sees as the evils of scientific ignorance and pseudoscience, everything from creationism, to UFO abductions, to the paranormal. Sagan presents science as an imperfect yet essential process of discovery - one we must depend on in the absence of something better. He examines the sorry state of U.S. education, and the widespread scientific ignorance even among the well-educated. There is also some personal background and social commentary. The result is a readably sensible book, one that remains as relevant today as when it arrived in the 1990's. One wonders how Sagan would view today's discussions of global warming; most scientists supporting it's existence from scientific evidence, while millions curtly dismiss it due to political ideology.
Many will enjoy this book, some will avoid it, still others may examine it with a skeptical eye - which Sagan might have approved of. As an educator, I found it on target. Many students complain that science is difficult; too few see it as an exciting process of discovery. Perhaps the fault lies both with students and teacher, plus our anti-science culture. This book clearly belongs on your reading shelf (and in your hands). (less)
What is the message or moral? Joseph Heller is trying portray the message that life is worth living. The American system is corrupt. There is not a po...moreWhat is the message or moral? Joseph Heller is trying portray the message that life is worth living. The American system is corrupt. There is not a point to fighting for a country that does not fight for him. It is closely related to Greek myth of Sisyphus. As Sisyphus pushes a boulder up a hill in Hades, it rolls back to earth. He continues to do this into eternity since there is no end to his task. Did he say it well? Heller's message was shown very well. Characterization was excellent. The reader is able to sympathize with Yossarian, the main character. As the number of missions to be flown rises, so does Yossarians desire to escape and go home. The reader is supposed to be able to identify Yossarian and his life with their own. Yossarian tries convincing the doctor that he is insane so he doesn't have to fly. It doesn't work because of Catch 22. He'd be insane to want to fly, and sane to know that he was doing something insane. Heller's values also came through in the symbolism used in the book. The dying fighter, Snowden, represents Yossarians own death. Snow (Snowden) is also white, representing the absence of color and life. When Yossarian walks around the air base in the nude, it represents his rebirth. Was it worth saying? The message was worth saying. Joseph Heller showed America how pointless it can be to fight for a cause. Yet Yossarian faught for his own cause: to live. He wanted to live and enjoy the rest of his life instead of being one of the many killed or lost in action(less)
Philip K. Dick has always been loved by true fans of Science Fiction. He has long been hailed by many Europeans critics as a true giant of American ge...morePhilip K. Dick has always been loved by true fans of Science Fiction. He has long been hailed by many Europeans critics as a true giant of American genre writing. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is an excellent example of his ability to masterfully blend genres. In this book you'll see elements of the hard-boiled private eye, the mythic American West, romance, science fiction, and other genres. But don't dismiss this book as pulp trash, it is one of the top five books used in college science fiction courses--and I even teach it in my "Introduction to Popular Culture" course at Bowling Green State University. This book, although it moves at a rapid pace, contains deep meditations on what it means to be human and has the power to truly move you. It is even more relevant today now that we are seeing the emergence of cloning and must begin to decide on issues which will force us to re-examine the rights of all living beings. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was filmed as the movie "Bladerunner" with Harrison Ford. Although the film adaption is a landmark in American cinematography the book is still far superior.(less)