Re-reading Contact by Carl Sagan


I don’t know exactly what happened. I was sitting down in my home office yesterday, taking a break from the short story I was working on, and I glanced at my bookshelves. I seated fairly close to the S’s and there, on a low shelf, my eyes fell on the tattered paperback copy of Carl Sagan’s Contact.

I first read the book back in 1997 and I did so because I’d seen a preview for the movie Contact that would be released in theaters soon. I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie. Indeed, it was on May 25, 1997 (according to my diary). I’d gone to see a rather awful movie, Addicted to Love, and it was during that movie that the preview for contact was shown. After the movie, I headed over to Leon’s Books in San Luis Obispo and ended up buying 8 Isaac Asimov books and  Contact. That afternoon, I went back to the house of my friends, with whom I was staying, and while everyone else napped, I zipped through 50 pages of Contact. I read another 250 pages the following day and finished up what was left one day later and I loved it.

So yesterday, when I saw that paperback sitting on the shelf, something compelled me to pick it up and turn to the first page. I read the first page and something prodded me on to reading the second page and before I knew it, I was 30 pages into the book. I’m now about 50 pages in and I’m enjoying it just as much this time as I did 14 years ago. Of course, I’ve seen the movie many times since, and I thought the movie people did a very good job, but there are details in the book, and changes made to the movie that just don’t carry through well. The book really is better and I’m having a blast re-reading it.

Of course, I am supposed to be reading A Mote In God’s Eye. I said that would be the next science fiction book I’d read. Well, I may have to amend that slightly: it will be the next science fiction book I read that I have not yet previously read. I am too engrossed in Contact to stop now.


  1. And of course in the mix _Contact_ also has a very good exploariotion of the role of ‘faith’ in science as well as religion… (Would that more scientists as well as more religious folk understand this take and perhaps there would be less conflict between the two.)

    Shame Carl never got to write more SF.


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