After Contact Hardcover – Aug 21 1997
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"Thought-provoking...A social and cultural road map to help readers grapple with the possibility that humans are not alone in the universe." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
One of the blurbs on the book jacket observes that it is a valuable contribution to the field and a very good read. I second that assessment, and would recommend it both to professionals, and to any intelligent interested party.
Douglas Raybeck Hamilton College
There is an entire chapter devoted to discrediting UFOs which seemed strangely out of place. I suppose the author is afraid of being lumped in with that crowd and wanted to make sure that didn't happen.
The rest of the book is better, although I still can't help but feel that the entire book boils down to:
If aliens aren't much like us then we can't predict what they are going to be like, thus I will assume that they are at least something like us. Except maybe they'll have four arms instead of two -- but they'll still be capitalist democracies.
His rationale for why they should be democratic was totally unconvincing. Explanations for why they should bother to look for us or share any information with us are essentially nonexistent (he more or less defines the problem away, "we will call 'intelligent life' anything which is looking for other life in the universe").
I gave this 3 stars but it really deserves only 2 1/2 ... I was feeling generous today.
[BTW, I AM pro-SETI in general, I just thought this book was overall a weak piece of work.]
Most people have become comfortable with the notion that there may be intelligent extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe. Even the conservative astronomer Carl Sagan calculated that it was mathematically probable that such life must exist. Sagan's book Contact, later made into the 1997 movie of the same name, postulated that a life form could contact humans here on earth. The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute employs people using radio telescopes to explore the heavens for signs of intelligent life. Recently the National Air and Space Administration created the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NABI) to consider the development of ET life forms. NABI examines the possibility from the standpoint of materials and conditions necessary to support life. They also consider the implications of the origin of life and question whether ! ! life is a cosmic imperative.
In After Contact Professor Al Harrison of the University of California-Davis thoughtfully takes the obvious next step. In pragmatic detail he examines the human consequences of contact with such an intelligent extraterrestrial entity. Except for fictional accounts, no one previously has explored as comprehensively the many ramifications such contact would pose for those of us who live in what we believe to be technologically advanced societies. Just what would happen if we learned that we were not at the top of the evolutionary pyramid?
Harrison first lays out the background information surrounding current search methodologies used by SETI and their radio-telescopic efforts to listen for signs of life.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I read this book simply for pleasure. I am a science teacher by eduaction so why not get a few fresh ideas about exo-biology. Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2002
A very good book but....consider this: Two workers are about to begin bulldozing. They notice a couple of ant hills. One comments,"Gee, they're clever little guys. Read morePublished on July 25 2001
Professor Harrison's treatment of this topic was excellent and the book was really fun to read! As a psychology student I really enjoyed this book, not because I'm a fan of SciFi,... Read morePublished on June 28 2000
No book review, merely a reply:
SETI research these days is supported almost entirely by private funds, companies and individuals. If Mr. Read more
If even 1% of the budget spent on SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) was redirected to cetacean, primate or elephant research, we'd already be talking to alien... Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2000 by Robert Carlberg
The reviews below say it all. If you wonder how we may react to the discovery of extraterrestrial life--especially intelligent life--there is no better place to start looking for... Read morePublished on April 27 1999 by RJH
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