Audiobook Review: Contact by Carl Sagan

ContactSource: Purchased
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Narrator: Laurel Lefkow
Edition: Audiobook, 14 Hours 42 Minutes
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5/5 Stars

For centuries humanity has dreamed of life and intelligence beyond the Earth; for decades scientists have searched for it in every corner of the sky; for years Project Argus, a vast, sophisticated complex of radio telescopes, has listened for a signal indicating the existence, somewhere in the universe, of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Then, one afternoon, the course of human history is changed, abruptly and forever. The Message, awaited for so long, it’s very possibility doubted by so many, arrives.

Contact has been made. Life, intelligence, someone, something beyond Earth, 26 light-years away, in the vicinity of the star Vega, is calling, beaming across space a wholly unexpected message to say that we are not – have never been – alone.

Have you ever read a book and when you finished it you find yourself just sitting there staring at the back of the book with a goofy smile on your face? That was how Contact concluded for me. A sense of awe, wonder, and utmost appreciation.

Contact is a book that proudly dances on and across the line between logical science and brilliant wonder. It’s both realistic and hopelessly optimist about the vastness of our universe and I need that in my life as often as possible. Contact is at its heart a first contact story, that centers around a woman named Ellie as the Earth finds itself on the receiving end of radio waves from another star system. However, it actually presents a lot more than that. We get glimpses at science vs religions and how there is a possible marriage between the two, and even how when separate they can evoke the same feelings. We see detailed looks at human relationships and how we can be so busy focusing on the ‘big picture’ that we tend to forget the here and now, and how we miss out on things important to us if we don’t take a step back now and then. It holds a scope so massive and yet it spends a good deal of time showing those small important moments that really make a person. The science part of this can be dense and dry, but I honestly have a love of science so I didn’t mind it at all. I thought it was pretty fascinating. However, I think even if someone kind of zoned out during those moments the story would not be lost on you.

The plot of this was quite surprising to me. I went in somewhat blind, as I haven’t seen the movie or even looked at reviews, and I am so thankful for that. It’s such an unconventionally beautiful book. Sure it’s dry and can be very dense in areas, but it kind of wormed its way into a portion of mind devoted to childlike wonder for space. I don’t necessarily think this is an easy read, and I had to listening to the audiobook while following along in my print copy just to make sure I was processing it. It certainly has its issues, but this is one of those cases where it just pressed all the right buttons for me. The first contact storyline was compelling and interesting, full of detail and reflection, and the look at Ellie’s personal life and thoughts brought so much more to table.

Overall I think this is one to try out if you are a fellow sci-fi nerd. I do recommend trying it out first, perhaps through the library or a sample before committing to it fully.

5 stars

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2 Responses to Audiobook Review: Contact by Carl Sagan

  1. Olivia says:

    I’ve not yet read this, despite it being one of the first books I’ve added to my GR tbr pile. Your review made me push it higher on my list. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I loved, loved, loved the movie. Maybe I’ll give this a read during vintage Sci-Fi month. I think this would qualify. Wouldn’t it? 🚀

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