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The Aliens Are Coming! The Exciting and Extraordinary Science Behind Our Search for Life in the Universe

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  60 reviews

Discover the fascinating and cutting-edge science behind the greatest question of all: is there life beyond Earth?

For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe. In the last few years, scientists have made huge strides towards answering that question. In The Aliens are Coming!, comedian and bestselling science writer Be

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published February 4th 2016 by Sphere
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Sarah Booth
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 STARS!

I had no idea that Ben Miller was such a brilliant guy! This is a well written informative and FUNNY book about the development of life on Earth and how it influences our search for life out in the stars. It's fascinating learning about the parameters needed for life to develop and how specific they are. These things affect our way of interpreting what constitutes life, and gives us ideas about what needs to be present in where we look for it. The book covers a lot about evolution and
Well, the first like 175 pages of this was riveting, I could not put it down. If you are looking for information on how scientists are trying to find or contact actual alien life (rather then just stories of abductions) this is the book for you.

There were so many theories and experiments I was unaware of. While a great deal of the discussion revolved around where microbiological alien life may be, there is also discussion of more complex life.

I did not know much about SETI entering the book, a
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
An informative, yet incredibly fun read. I ripped through it in a couple of big reading sessions. Highly recommended!
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Comedian and author of the excellent science book It's Not Rocket Science considers alien life in this great new book.

I wasn't totally sure what to expect from this book if I'm honest and it turns out this is wasn't that far away from being More It's Not Rocket Science. I liked Miller's first book so I am not complaining that this is mostly in a similar vein to it. To consider aliens Miller looks at how the universe began, how the Earth was formed, how life first existed and some quite complica
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My head is spinning! The author seems to go off on so many tangents, but he eventually ties them all together with no loose ends. This isn't as much about aliens as it is about all life, and everything around us. Math, science, history... it all comes together in this book. Audiobook narrator is super entertaining, too!
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely chatty style of book, reigniting my interest in all things exoplanety. And reminding me that the SETI stuff is serious science. Well worth reading.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: commute-reads
There weren't a great deal of aliens in here; it was just an excuse for Ben Miller to talk about physics, and chemistry, and biology. But he does it in a pretty funny manner, so we'll let him off.

Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a welcome surprise! It is an informative read and well worth taking the plunge to explore how humans can detect and decipher an alien language!
Stefan Svartling
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting and fun at times
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this. I knew that I was kind of interested in the search for extraterrestrial life, but was struggling to find material to feed that interest. Luckily enough, I stumbled upon this in the science section at Waterstones, and picked it up immediately.
A few notes and other thoughts I had whilst reading, that I wrote on post-its and stuck in relevant places:
LOVE extremophiles and want to learn more about those
did life really begin on Mars rather than Earth, and then travel by comet
Rob Frampton
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Does the world really need another popular science book, especially one written by a TV comic? As it turns out, yes, because not only does Ben Miller have a proper scientific background, not only does he have a boundless enthusiasm for his subject, but he (and this is important) can actually write!
The rather vulgar, UFO-infested, cover belies the eclectic and well-organized interior, in which Miller marshals facts and histories into a fascinating overview of the development of the search for lif
Pete daPixie
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stardust
The title of this book may suggest that comedian and science writer Ben Miller is going to take the reader on a scientific voyage through our Milky Way galaxy in search of extra-terrestrial life.
Certainly, 'The Aliens Are Coming', which sounds a little like science fiction, does explore the realities of flourishing life forms in our universe, but it is the life forms on earth that Miller gets to grips with here.
The extraordinary science incorporates geology, biology and chemistry with copious am
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting enough introduction into the discussion about life beyond Earth and our search for it. However, some parts of the writing seem to veer off topic for no clear reason and it will be a few pages later before the author makes a conscious effort to get back his focus. At certain points, it seems as though the author took a long break in-between chapters as there is no clear link and sequencing between them. Lastly, and this may be an unfair criticism, it may be because I've read a numb ...more
Margaret Shea
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's about aliens, yet NOT about aliens. It's about biology, chemistry, evolution, astronomy, language, physics, history, with lots of fun pop music references in the item headings. A fascinating and informative read: every few pages had me googling a new name, concept or historical event that had piqued my interest. The only thing I had a hard time with was the math, but that's my fault, not the author's.
Eva Praskova
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining while scientifically sound book. Ben Miller might be known to most as an actor and comedian, but he is a scientist too, with a passion for it. And also he can write with a flare and humour making for an engaging read. His audio narration of this book is also amazing and I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
Prashant Maroli
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best book on science. Simple, informative and funny.
Shelley Green
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funny and it in one sitting as couldn't put it down!
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly good book - so much background about the meaning of life.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It's serviceable, though it doesn't get into a lot of detail, so my guess is that it was meant to be some kind of primer about the topic. As such, it's fine enough.

If there's one issue I take with this book, it's his human-centric view that he seems unable to shake himself from. A bit of a problem and a drag on the book because he is talking about extraterrestrial intelligent life.

Like when he talks about timespans of evolution and assumes that the timespan for sapient life to appear and for sp
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The first 3 sections of this book were lovely. Diving in to what we know of extremophiles on earth, the lack of evidence for ufo visitation, the awesome actual science being done by SETI, some mathy stuff about probability of intelligent life being out there somewhere. Really great 5 star stuff.

Then came the three sections titled “Universes”, “life,” and “humans” each a more tedious and painful read than the last. Like 1 star stuff.

“Universes” was an in depth discussion of how changing each uni
Andrew Ives
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, science
Despite a slightly childish cover illustration, this book is intelligent and interesting throughout. Actually, it's rather similar to Brian Cox's Human Universe which is one of the best books I've ever read, and like said book, this covers the vast gamut of scientific fields including space, cosmology, physics, quantum mechanics, microbiology, chemistry, evolution and lastly, linguistics (including a dash of history and Egyptology). For all that, this is a very approachable book with hardly an e ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
an advance copy of this book sat on my shelf for a long time before I actually picked it up. which is a shame, because once I started reading it I found it to be incredibly interesting. I think it's a great mix of knowledge & humor, despite the click-bait-esque title.

I noticed a few complaints in other descriptions about the chapters on Earth-based life, but if we can't understand life on our own planet, how will we ever understand life from another galaxy? my only complaint is that I can't beli
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben writes clearly and passionately and does a good job of explaining science concepts without a lot of jargon. I do have a science background and that may have helped but I think anyone could follow his explanations. Two stylistic annoyances prevail throughout the book. Firstly, he uses a lot (*1) of footnotes. These can distract from the flow of reading (*2). Secondly, there are some (*3) spurious attempts at humour that attempt to keep the tone light-hearted but do not necessarily hit the mar ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don’t be fooled by the cover, this book isn’t a tacky tome about alien encounters. Instead, it’s an all encompassing look at astrophysics, biology and the search for alien life. The book gently guides the reader to ponder the question of what exactly constitutes life. The best part is that the author tackles some mind bending concepts (I.e. Drake equation, gamma radiation, etc.) but he successfully dumbs them down, making the science and theories relatable and, for the most part, comprehensible. ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a layman's overview of the search for extraterrestrial life. However, the author addresses the issue through a tour de force of biochemistry and thoughts on the origin of life on Earth. From there he extrapolates to life elsewhere. It was fun read and the high level overview was a refreshing read. There were some areas with which I could quibble, but nothing by which I would not recommend the book.

Fun, entertaining, and thought provoking.
Ha Tran
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacob Stokes
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is truly one of the best books describing the search for extraterrestrial life out their in the Universe. This book covers absolutely everything and offers a mind blowing tour of the science behind the search. A great read.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started and ended with some intriguing information, but lost me in the middle with the complex physics formula lessons. I really did try to keep up but Miller liked saying 'as you know' a lot which led me to realise I wasn't getting a more basic explanation, so I skimmed a fair bit.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If this is what science class would have been about I would have LOVED science! This book really peaked my interest in learning more about space and the technology we've used to get there. Such an interesting book.
Sandy Myodo Gougis
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Miller makes science fun, and at times even humorous. He explains how understanding life on earth can help us anticipate the life we may encounter on other worlds. A fascinating and entertaining read.
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