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Imagined Life: A Speculative Scientific Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of Intelligent Aliens, Ice Creatures, and Supergravity Animals
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Imagined Life: A Speculative Scientific Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of Intelligent Aliens, Ice Creatures, and Supergravity Animals

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The captivating possibilities of extraterrestrial life on exoplanets, based on current scientific knowledge of existing worlds and forms of life

It is now known that we live in a galaxy with more planets than stars. The Milky Way alone encompasses 30 trillion potential home planets. Scientists Trefil and Summers bring readers on a marvelous experimental voyage through the p
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Smithsonian Books
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UK’s Alien Worlds is still one of my favourite documentaries. Speculation based on science in general is something that I’ve always found fascinating. So It’s no surprise that Imagined Life jumped high on the list of my priorities the moment it was released.

Just like the aforementioned programme, this book is a greatly entertaining and informative tour around the universe in search of life. The book starts off with solid base in physics, chemistry, and biology laws to explain the more outlandis
Kind of disappointed in this one, but that's more on me than the authors. Both are professors of astronomy and physics, not xenobiologists - but still, where are the aliens?

The book focuses on the types of potentially habitable planets out there (a more narrow focus than their earlier, better book Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System), and then how life could potentially evolve there and what type of technology it might de
Peter Tillman

Off to a weak start (for me). The science is at (pretty much) YA-level, and there's a lot of repetition between topics (water world, Europa analog, etc). On the plus side, lots of good info if you are at YA level on planetary/exoplanet science. And the (purely decorative) illustrations are nicely done. I haven't quite given up.... (yet).

Well, I did give up. DNF, not recommended.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Imagined Life by James Trefil & Michael Summers has the extended title of A Speculative Scientific Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of Intelligent Aliens, Ice Creatures and Supergravity Animals

Let me start with my interest in buying this book. I’m a big science fiction fan but also a fan of the science community, in particular astronomy. I love hearing the discoveries of those who are doing the wonderful work of discovering extrasolar planets, those planets around stars other than our own
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reading
An interesting look into the potential life that could exist out in different types of exoplanets. The book covers different types of planets that could exist, discussing the background physics and chemistry that would both make up and sustain life.
Gian Quinones-Castillo
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book that makes you look at the possible planets and life that could exist on them. I had a lot of fun reading it. It is definitely able to ground your thoughts on what is likely and what isn't. If you are writing a sci-fy novel, this book will help with the science part and the rest you can distort at your leisure. I had a fantastic time, and I'm sure you will too!
Bard Bloom

It is hard to make et life boring, and this book isn't quite that bad. But there's only about half a book of content, which means lots of filler and repetition.
Doctor Moss
This is a little wacky, but entertaining and thought-provoking.

I have a poster in my house from a science fiction magazine in the 1940s, depicting an imaginary scene on Pluto. The text reads, “This world of cold and eternal twilight would most likely be inhabited by winged bat-people with heavy protecting fur.”

Of course, the science in this book is updated, and Trefil and Summers talk like scientists, not poster-writers, but some passages in the book sound just a little bit like that poster. The
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing

A must-read for those curious about the new realities of our Universe


“Our tour of imagined life on exoplanets has established three important points for the reader to consider:

1. We undoubtedly will discover amazing and unexpected things on exoplanets.
2. In particular, we will be surprised by anything we find related to exolife.
3. We will be surprised that we’re still encountering unexpected surprises.”

The above quote (in italics) comes from the “Final Word” found in this fascinati
Jake M.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is one part classical sciences, one part astronomy and one part thought exercise. The authors tightly lay out the physical laws of the universe, and how these laws can enable life in the distant cosmos. Readers are taken through ice worlds, water planets, tidally locked planets and rogue planets and the likelihood of life among them. Imagined Life is written for the lay reader, and serves as thought fuel for amateur astronomers. The text begins and ends with the difficulties in definin ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
free audiobook on library website. I originally just wanted a distraction from moments when my brain wont shut up an don't feel like doing anything. iv had two "potential astronauts" in my life & have also learned information, from various sources. only listened to 6ch, may come back some other time to finish this book. the preface makes it sound just slightly interesting/new information, but don't skim! continue the book. it was done slightly different but some has been done before, though done ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I almost chose the shelf for fantasy :) But this is a well-informed, scientifically based speculation on what life might be like on the several different kind of planets if ever we can get out there, such as one that always has one face turned towards its star (e.g. Mercury), a frozen planet (e.g. Neptune) and even a planet wandering without a sun. Fun to speculate, hard to think that the latter might have life intelligent like ours (or more rather since we seem to want to destroy ourselves with ...more
Tony Segreto
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun read, though a bit too fantastic for my taste. I liked how the author discussed a lot of the foundation theories of science to base the hypothesis of what life would look like on other types of worlds, but it seemed like they made large jumps. in advancement, that would require sooo many other elements to fall into place. I did particularly enjoy the points in the book that described how different types of telescopes and spectrometers work in identifying how planets are composed. I also like ...more
David Pierce
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wanted to rate it more highly but wish that the "weight" of each chapter were more consistent. I enjoyed the opening chapters laying the groundwork and science for the rest of the book. And then each imagined scenario weakened as things got more speculative -- which is totally understandable but which left me with a deflated feeling as I plowed through the last third of the book.

Overall a fun a stimulating read, but you can't get my gears turning like that and then slow down! :)
Sam Rice
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This brief survey of what we know about the development of life and how life might develop on the types of exoplanets we know about was very accessibly written and extremely interesting. I wish the authors had gone into a bit more detail on some topics, but the nature of a survey is that it’s impossible to do so I suppose! All in all a great introduction to a more scientific conversation about what kind of life might be out there, how it would work, and how we might look for it.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Pretty weak as speculation goes.
There is nothing in it one cannot find surfing the internet.
I would recommend this book for highschoolers, as the science in it is very thin and the imagined life is almost nonexistent.
All in all, it is nothing more than a descriptive list of a few interesting exoplanets.
Not worth the time nor the money.
Katie Woodard
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This book takes some very hard to grasp concepts and boils them down for the above-average reader to understand. It then takes the facts we know and extrapolates them on to unknown plants to explains what evolution and life could look like within the laws of the universe. Both educational and amusing.
Erika Skarlupka
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very easy to read speculations about what life and technology would look like and how they would develop on other planets and exoplanets. It is a little repetitive in that the authors do refer back to previous chapters quite often, but overall is a good book for the laymen.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
so good
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5. Very good overview of the subject. Much better than I expected. A snapshot of where we are now, not a deep dive.
Paulo Mello
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely great!

All that I expected whwn I saw the title.

I've changed my concepts after read this book.

Congratulations to the authors.
Lucio Mellace
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. The book is mainly focused on the question: are we alone? It also gives some relevant information on the side.
Amy (DemonKittie)
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but it gets knocked down a star because it did get quite repetitive at times. Interesting look at what life could develop on other worlds and challenges they could face.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A discussion on the possible way life could begin on various planets from ice covered to exotic.
Joshua McHolland
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's probably not that farfetched book you think it is. Lots of science and thoughtful insight. I definitely recommend this book. I learned a lot.
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2020
An interesting thought experiment on the possible evolution of life forms on different planet types I the universe. A bit biased towards human like intelligent life, but still interesting
Joshua Springs
The last few pages where it talks about Earth's chances of getting hit by an asteroid was super weird, but otherwise, this book was a fantastic thought experiment.
Carson Stuart
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent survey of exobiology possibilities

I enjoyed the subject and format of this book. I learned of several types of exoplanets that I had not considered before. Rogue planets flying outside of a solar system was a new idea for me.
I f you have any interest in exoplanets and the possibilities of life on or in them I recommend you give this easy to read book a try.
John Folk-Williams
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Imagined Life considers the forms of intelligent life that might develop on exoplanets of different types. For example, on an icebound world, which the authors call Iceheim, they imagine life evolving around ocean vents producing heat from the planet’s core.

Read the rest of the review at
Astron F.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is the Rosetta Stone of Alien chauvinism. Really cool book and the story/analysis is really good and well thought out. Highly recommend it , but be warned it’s not everyone that enjoys this book.
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