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Contact

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  109,889 ratings  ·  2,657 reviews
At first it seemed impossible - a radio signal that came not from Earth but from far beyond the nearest stars. But then the signal was translated, and what had been impossible became terrifying. For the signal contains the information to build a Machine that can travel to the stars. A Machine that can take a human to meet those that sent the message. They are eager to meet ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 580 pages
Published August 28th 1997 by Pocket (first published September 1985)
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Popular Answered Questions
Robert Goodman It was in the last few paragraphs. That bit of suspense, broken unexpectedly, changed the meaning of the book.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Cecilia Teixeira Yes so much i would love for us to be friends with the Elien beautys, wich they are massive impressing beautys.

Community Reviews

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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  109,889 ratings  ·  2,657 reviews


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Alejandro
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A smart story crafted by a real space science guru


WE CAN'T BE ALONE

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
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This book is all about Vegans....

Just not the kind you're thinking about!

(3.5) Interesting first contact with aliens but the writing was quite dry.
Manny
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Contact! Contact? No…

To make a long story short: this is probably an excellent book, but I failed to make contact, to connect to the characters. Feeling sorry about that, I decided to read Sagan’s nonfiction instead, to give him another chance.

The problem I had with the novel was similar to my experience with 2001: A Space Odyssey, but on a bigger scale. I have no doubt that Sagan’s visions and ideas on extraterrestrial lifeforms are much more erudite than other science fiction I have read, wher
...more
Bradley
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
I really hate it when I lose reviews. Okay, take two.

I was just reminiscing on my younger self's condemnation (or at least his valid annoyances at the plot holes and some of the straight story elements), or the fact that I was trying to compare this classic SF work with other classic SF works that I was making my way through at the time and comparing them unfavorably because I wanted a lot more of the psychedelic naked singularity stuff and aliens, not just a long-winded optimistic synthesis of
...more
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
Apatt
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
As far as I know Contact is Carl Sagan's only novel. This makes him almost the Harper Lee of sci-fi (though he did write boatloads of sci-fact books). Not being much of a nonfiction reader this is my first encounter with Carl Sagan's writing, I already feel like it is a shame that he only wrote the one novel; though I am sure the world is more than compensated by his other output.

Contact piqued my interest immediately with a vivid portrayal of Ellie Arrowway, a two years old genius, figuring ou
...more
J.G. Keely
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
Luís C.
Sagan was a visionary beyond time. He understood the beauty of the universe by the laws of physics and how everything converged for them. And how human beings are part of this vast scenario, perhaps the only ones for whom the cosmos exists.
He continues with this idea in Contact, although this is a work of fiction, more specifically, of science fiction. This is a science fiction of a different genre without laser beams or flying saucers or little green men.
Eleanor (Ellie) Arroway is a special chi
...more
Joe Valdez
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar) all published one novel each. Another member of the First Novel/ Last Novel club is astronomer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Cosmos and science communicator Carl Sagan, whose foray into fiction was Contact, published in 1985. I gave the book a lot of latitude, not only for Sagan's potential shortcomings with character and dialogue, but for hopes that the novel could live up to the engag ...more
Jill
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Carol
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I finally finished reading CONTACT and am completely shocked!

First of all, the entire novel is very different from the movie (that I love) which is fine. It is still about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and a complex message is received from Vega with instructions to build a machine and take a ride, but the telling is much more scientific, technical, political and religious in nature.

While some of the characters are the same, their relationships, for the most part, are surprisingl

...more
Joey Francisco
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sonja Arlow
This is an excellent thought experiment by a well-known and respected scientist on how contact with extra-terrestrials could realistically unfold. I say thought experiment because as a novel the book didn’t always work so well.

I understand that real science is not like it is portrayed in the movies. It takes a lot of time and hard work to make a discovery, test the hypotheses, confirm the conclusion etc etc so its not really a surprise that this book’s pacing was much slower than most sci fi nov
...more
etherealfire
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book in the early nineties. Loved Ellie Arroway and loved this story. Then the movie came out and I loved that too! One of my most favorite female-centric scifi stories written by a male.
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
Peter Meredith
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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)
Fran
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Following on the footsteps of many other scientists like Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan wrote a novel: Contact.

Contact is an interesting mix of hard science and the exploration of the nature of faith and truth, that does an excellent job at showing us how politics can mess everything up. It’s also a favorite of mine.

Dr. Ellie Arroway, an astronomer on a quest to find extra-terrestrial life, is the director of a group of scientists searching for out-of-planet signals. When a computer pi
...more
notgettingenough
May 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
‘He’s so perverse, Robert’, said Manny at lunch today. We’d been talking about the ending of Contact, which I’d just finished, where there is a message in Pi which proves that there is a Maker. The Maker has put a series of ones and noughts in Pi which make a circle if you care to set them out thus. Manny is quite taken with this. So, I’m like ‘Get off the grass. How could that possibly prove the existence of a Maker?’

‘Yes, that’s just what Robert thinks’, said Manny. I couldn’t tell if he was s
...more
Wanda
Contact. The first contact with a non-human intelligence, beaming information at Earth from somewhere in the vicinity of the star Vega. I was reminded strongly of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001, a Space Odyssey and also his Rendezvous with Rama. Sagan and Clarke were both very familiar with the political maneuvering that takes place in multi-institutional projects and could provide very believable back-room machinations.

At first, I thought that Sagan’s main character, Ellie, was rather like Clarke’s ch
...more
Stephanie Swint
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
'Contact' deserved the Locus Award it won for Best First Novel in 1986.  Unfortunately, it is the only piece of fiction Carl Sagan wrote.  It, however, is not the only book he wrote.   Sagan wrote several works of non-fiction including 'Demon Haunted World.' which is great.  As an astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and author he created many works that popularized and made science accessible to the general public.  With 'Contact,' you do not have to question whether the sci ...more
Alberto
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well, what can I say? This is a real hard science fiction book, because it contains a lot of scientific and up to date (at the time the book was written) information. I like that the author added some of his personal thoughts, like rationality, scepticism, the challenge of discovery, the problems in our society and the never-ending conflict between trust in what you don't have any proof about it or your personal beliefs (faith) and the real and hard facts that have been proven with lots of evide ...more
Jim
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could only find an audio edition read by Jodie Foster - a great combination - but it turned out to be abridged. I read this once long ago in print & thought this version was pretty good, but I think I filled in a few gaps from memory.

It's an excellent look at Sagan's baby, the SETI project, & what might happen if a signal is detected. It would certainly change our view of the universe. I really liked how he handled the religious, political & military sides. People had to adjust the
...more
Kirsten "Ghost Deserved Better"
I have always wondered why people say science and faith (or a belief in God or Supreme Creator) have to be two separate things. Everything I learn about the natural world and the universe proves to me that God exists, not the opposite.

This book repeats back to me truths that I have I think I have always known. And it does it in the voice of a scientist, as written by the pen of a scientist. It points out the fallacies of religion, but not faith. It points out the weaknesses of government, but n
...more
David (דוד)
Super-6-stars !!

[A 6-star rated book is the one that has been able to amaze me through more than 70% and above of its content ingredients. :) ]

Review: COMING SOON
Jen
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
Chris
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nick
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, 1001
Possibly not five stars, but then I respect and admire Carl Sagan ... so five stars from me!
Jerry Jose
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have two heresies to make with this review :P

Though things were presented mildly and in a manner that could be considered cheerful in comparison, I found Sagan's cosmic existentialism similar to what I get to feel in Lovecraft's works. I admit its not Event Horizon, but Contact doesn't reveal anything in specifics too. It builds up the unknown, suggests even a debatable unreliability in protagonist's narrative and leaves the conclusion to readers. Sure, it suggests too much in the definitive l
...more
Mrs.Morgan
May 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hey!! I am getting better at this! 56 pages in, and I am giving it up. There is just TOO much. Too much scientific information that is truly unnecessary; too many dry and long stretches that make you say, just get on with it already!; too many other books out there for me to sit any longer with this dinosaur.

I haven't seen the movie, nor have I experienced the audiobook, and if I had more time in life I would perhaps try those two things in tandem with my reading. But I just can't seem to find t
...more
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Sci-Fi & Fantasy ...: March 2019 - Contact 12 11 Mar 25, 2019 12:41PM  
Play Book Tag: Contact by Carl Sagan - 4 stars 3 18 Aug 26, 2017 12:49PM  
LITERARY HURRICANE: Abril/2017 * Contact * Terminado / Possibilidade de Spoilers 2 7 May 14, 2017 06:26AM  

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7,871 followers
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
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” 1107 likes
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” 718 likes
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