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[BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hades [Forge] » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:53 am

You'll read the spoilers. You know you will.

But yeah, finding it a bit tricky to refer back. Might have a go though.
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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hera [Sammy] » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:53 am

Forge wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:53 am
You'll read the spoilers. You know you will.

But yeah, finding it a bit tricky to refer back. Might have a go though.
Nope.

I'm not you. :xeyes:
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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hera [Sammy] » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:46 pm

Slight spoilers for Chapter 10 below.
I love everything about her meeting with Rankin and Joss. Reminded me a great deal of 'The Magic of Reality' by Richard Dawkins which essentially takes the stance that scientific explanations for various magical/mythical stories, beliefs etc can actually be just as, if not more amazing than that which they debunk. I think it's well handled and I also like that Sagan took the step of adding Joss as a more rational Christian mind as part of the discussion. I think had it been Ellie vs Rankin it would have read a little much like a personal attack on religion simply because he was clearly very out of his depth. Particularly loved her description of being agnostic and the fact that it clearly leaves Joss with some food for thought.
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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hades [Forge] » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:57 pm

That's hands down one of my favourite parts of the book, essentially for the reasons you've outlined.

I think the Arroway-Rankin-Joss triangle works perfectly, with Ellie and Rankin exemplifying the traditional Science vs Religion argument, and Joss acting as a beautiful counterpoint to show that faith doesn't have to preclude one from considering and accepting scientific fact. It's really well handled, and it sort of makes me yearn for something a little 'meatier' in the same vein.

I might pick up the Dawkins book, since this section reminded you of it.
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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hera [Sammy] » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:00 pm

In response to Forge. Not really a spoiler, but relates to chapter 10 so if you're not there yet, you might want to swerve.

'The Magic of Reality' is nice and short but 'The God Delusion' is also really well worth a read if you haven't already. Similar vein of thinking but focused solely on God and much longer.
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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hades [Forge] » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:20 pm

Noted, and noted. Thank you muchly
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Re: [BC] September: Contact - Carl Sagan

Post by Hera [Sammy] » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:10 pm

So, reflecting back having finished...
I loved it. It isn't without its issues and despite the fact that my misgivings with the plot and the character development were then quite swiftly resolved and I found myself fully committed not just to the story but to a handful of characters, The Five, in particular... it doesn't change the fact that for at least the first third of the book I found those things to be lacking. Similarly, I can understand why people who prefer their Sci Fi to be either science light or significantly more advanced might struggle with this. Given the setting and the subject matter, the vast majority of the science is established and the insights into a much higher level of technology don't come until far later. There's no faster than light travel, no bionic implants, no gun fights or space battles, we don't even get to see any alien-looking-aliens. So, if that's part of the appeal for someone cracking into some Sci-Fi, in that department it's quite sorely lacking.

For me, though, it had a strong, relateable female protagonist. She's incredibly intelligent, driven and motivated but she isn't perfect. She has periods of self doubt, she occasionally allows her passions to run away with her to the detriment of whatever it is she's actually trying to achieve, she's a pretty shoddy daughter and an awful step-daughter. It deals with lots of issues from sexism in science (and in general), politics as well as the politics, more specifically, of science, religion, God, the reach of mankind and many more I can't currently think to list. I know a few of you struggled at stages and found it a bit of a slog but I felt it was pretty well paced. There were times where I moved onto a next chapter expecting an immediate follow on from the last and finding a significant time hop instead and I think they were handled fairly well, it gave a good sense of the passing of time which I think in something author's can struggle with a little.

All in all, I really liked it. I think you get the sense that it's a child of its time but unlike lots of 80s Sci-Fi and Fantasy I think it's aged pretty well.
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