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Contact Audiobook

Contact

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Publisher's Summary

The future is here...in an adventure of cosmic dimension. In December, 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who - or what - is out there? In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future - and our own.

©1997 Carl Sagan (P)1997 Simon & Schuster

What the Critics Say

"Contact deals with issues...worth pondering.The range and depth of ideas is quite uncommon." (New York Times Book Review)

"Like a good mystery, Contact keeps us curious to the end...ingenious and satisfying." (Newsweek)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (148 )
5 star
 (94)
4 star
 (38)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.5 (139 )
5 star
 (93)
4 star
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3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
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Story
4.5 (139 )
5 star
 (91)
4 star
 (34)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    W United Kingdom 29/05/2015
    W United Kingdom 29/05/2015 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    145
    107
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    Story
    "Excellent"
    Would you listen to Contact again? Why?

    I would definitely listen to Contact again and not just because it was a brilliant story or because I know I'm going to get more from revisiting it. I spent much of the first listen comparing it to the film but now I've done that, the book will be foremost in my mind and I'll be able to relax with the story.


    What other book might you compare Contact to, and why?

    I can't think of a direct comparison, but there are elements of The Wizard of Oz and Narnia in there - in a really small way!


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    My favourite scene was the debate between Ellie and the 2 pastors on the nature of her belief in science versus theirs in religion. If I can pick another, the way Ellie's position is flipped about at the end is fab and I enjoyed the reversal. As far as I can tell, belief, faith and respect for each other's views is the heart of the book. I don't know much about Carl Sagan, but I get the sense he didn't believe in absolute certainties and he handles both viewpoints fairly and with an open mind in the book. He leaves you thinking.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like lots of technical detail and science alongside your philosophical debate, then you'll really enjoy this story. Personally, I tend to focus on the latter, but I didn't find the science overwhelming or overly uninteresting and zoning out on the odd detail didn't detract from what was an excellent book.
    First class narration too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Beaumont-Baker Hull, UK 18/02/2015
    A. Beaumont-Baker Hull, UK 18/02/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    7
    3
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    0
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    "Fantastic delivery"

    The narrator's impeccable reading style brought this great book to life. She breathed and became the characters, creating the illusion of reality, involving the listener in Ellie's experiences.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Jones 07/07/2014
    R. Jones 07/07/2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    15
    2
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    "Great Contact"
    If you could sum up Contact in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting and very well read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narration and the differences to the film version


    What about Laurel Lefkow’s performance did you like?

    I thought it was Jodie Foster?


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyed

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig 31/08/2017
    Craig 31/08/2017 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So good I might listen to it again immediately"
    What made the experience of listening to Contact the most enjoyable?

    Laurel's delightful reading kept me completely engaged. i now associate Ellie with Laurel's voice.


    What about Laurel Lefkow’s performance did you like?

    It didn't seem like she was reading a book to me, more that she was the voice in my head as I was reading it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    simon 26/07/2017
    simon 26/07/2017 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "disappointing"

    Love the film but the book is disappointing the concentration on religion really spoils the narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrie donoghue 26/03/2017 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "brilliant"

    fantastic! as always from Sagan one to read/ listen to more than once, highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Ward Oxford, UK 02/02/2016
    B. Ward Oxford, UK 02/02/2016 Member Since 2016

    crouchingbadger

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    12
    5
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    "Beautiful, but infuriating at times"

    I'm not well enough read to know for certain but this exploration of SETI and its implications are probably some of the best in fiction. However, it sometimes comes across as unrealistic. Although the story features dissenting voices and antagonists I feel it has a slightly naïve view that the world would pull together altruistically in the face of such an event, rather than turn on each other. I think the Internet initially showed this might be possible but as the Internet of 2016 and the attitudes to climate change show us the public at large and the media are impatient and easily distracted and wouldn't have time for this despite the perspective it should have given them.

    The narrator's character voices were quite distracting at times. Perhaps the audio book can't convey a sense of awe as effectively as film or prose, but the story felt a little flat where it should have been inspiring. The croaky voices and dodgy accents didn't do much for me and Laurel's voice was often exhausting after a long session.

    Carl Sagan was an inspiration. If you'd like to take a journey into his imagination then this is the place to do it. Or if you need some hopeful optimism about our place in the universe, some well grounded science and excited descriptions about the buzz of discovery then give it a try.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 27/12/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    19
    1
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    "Very poor audio book"

    If you liked the film then don't buy this audio book. The narration is very poor and monotonous. This is one of the very few audio books I haven't got to the end of. Chapter 8 was the furthest I managed. If I could get my money back I would ask.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Hands 05/04/2017
    M. Hands 05/04/2017 Member Since 2011

    Maggie.o

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    168
    13
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    "Interesting but over long"

    I loved the idea of this novel and the film of it is one of my favourites of all time. I did enjoy the novel but found it a bit over long. There was a lot of quite complex astronomical and physics info to try and understand but I did find it fascinating. We'll read by the narrator, yes. Would I recommend the novel? Only if you have time to really listen, this isn't something listened to while you do other things.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warren Hughes 26/12/2015
    Warren Hughes 26/12/2015

    Woz

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    319
    5
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    0
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    "Classically Good SF"

    Brilliantly read, well paced and characterised science fiction by a seminal scientist that informs so much that came afterward.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Matt
    28/11/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Technical problems with this recording - skips..."

    This recording has technical issues with it that I noticed after awhile. The recording skips at several instances, for example go to Chapter 11 and at 4:22 the recording skips some of the story. I have verified that it is indeed skipping by looking at the ebook on Google:


    Hopefully this will be fixed and re-digitized soon.

    34 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • A. Ferguson
    Albuquerque, NM
    25/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, significant differences from the movie"
    Any additional comments?

    My favorite book, written by one of my favorite people (Carl Sagan).

    I am writing this review to mainly focus on the major differences between the movie and the book.The book follows the same basic plot as the movie, but with a few exceptions (SPOILER ALERT):

    - Ellie's mother is not dead, as in the movie. While Ellie's father passes away, her mother is around throughout her childhood and her adult life.

    - Ellie and her stepfather (also not present in the movie) have a strained and reoccurring relationship throughout the book.

    - Ellie's childhood, teenage years, and early graduate and internship years are described in a more detail.

    - The President of USA has a more prominent, reoccurring role, and is female.

    - Ellie has many romantic relationships (i.e., sexual relationships with a lab assistant early in her career, and then with Kent the Russian Scientist later in her career; and sexual tension with Drummond and then to an even greater degree with Vagay), albeit not with Palmer Joss who is the one individual she does have a romantic relationship with in the movie.

    - Three machines, not two, are constructed (i.e., in the USA, Japan, and Russia). This was interesting because by the time the story concludes only two machines have been used (or should I say, one has been destroyed and one has been used and possibly is not able to be used again), with the machine in Russia still unused.

    - Ellie is not the only individual who makes the trips; several delegates make the trip with her and have their own unique experiences.

    - The conversation Ellie has with the alien is much, much more detailed and extensive, and for me was a real highlight of the story.

    - Following her voyage in the machine, Ellie learns something interesting about the number for "pi" (i.e., 3.14...) that provides an interesting twist at the conclusion of the story.

    In summary, excellent book, and not only because of the writing but due to the narrator's great performance as well. Lefkow did an outstanding job as a true Voice Actor. Most of the supporting characters are male and the narrator (female) did a superb job rising to the challenge of voice acting each male character without sounding odd or goofy.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Jim "The Impatient"
    Springfield, MO, United States
    25/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "And that's the way it was"

    I do believe that if contact was made through radio transmissions, that it would go similar to part one of this book.

    Part one gave you some of the awe and wonder of space and how hard scientist work to make discoveries. You can see in the first part of this book where Robert J. Sawyer got some of his ideas for WWW. Wake.

    Chapter 10 started part 2. Chapter 10 is a long debate between an agnostic and a bible thumping preacher. I have read some non-fiction books from Sagan and he has mentioned his religious beliefs and his politics. In a non-fiction book I am okay with that, but in a fiction work I believe it is too self serving. Who wouldn't like to have a debate where you dream up the arguments of your opponents? Nor do I have a problem with Sagan being an Agnostic. Arthur C. Clarke is one of my favorite authors and he was an Atheist. Like most books of this time and authors from the Age of Aquarius, there is much talk about Vietnam and Racism.

    Part 3 starts with chapter 19. Five chosen people are sent to visit the aliens. Sagan borrows a little from Raymond F. Jones and This Island Earth for this part. The aliens in Jones' book are a lot more interesting. I found Sagan's aliens to be a little anti-climatic. I also could not believe how bitchy the five chosen got on the trip.

    I would give part one, four starts, Part two, three stars and Part three, four stars. As a whole three stars.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Tex
    Alvin, TX, United States
    17/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So many choices"

    As good as the movie was, this book is orders of magnitude better. I had struggled with whether to choose the abridged, with Ms. Foster, or the unabridged. I am glad I chose the unabridged. As fan of science, I enjoyed hearing Dr. Sagan’s perspective on science and religion and I suspect those passages were what got chopped in the abridged. Those plus there were times when the plot wandered about. So if you’d rather focus on the main plot line, the abridged might be a better choice.
    Laurel Lefkow’s narration was excellent. Only one of the accents annoyed me, the New York street accent. But honestly, that’s not her fault – she was true to the description of the accent given in the book.
    Whichever version you chose, you will not be unhappy. It’s a great audiobook, well worth the listen.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Kyle
    27/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story with a Few Glitches"

    I loved the glimpse into how scientific discovery unfolds and the fantasy. Plus, it's really well read. There are a couple glitches though where it jumps ahead randomly. Didn't seem to miss anything major, yet damaged the flow.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Candace
    26/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Skipped a little?"

    Excellent reader. It took a few chapters for her to grow on me, and then I looked forward to hearing her interpretation.

    In a couple places, the story skipped - I had to pull up my physical copy to fill in the blanks. Maybe a download malfunction on my phone?

    As always, a timeless story, always relevant, always beautiful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Oraiatoxotis
    16/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Get it"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Contact to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, but the audio version is well read. I very much enjoyed listening to this narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Contact?

    Hard to decide; I really like most everything about the story. If I had to say, and to avoid spoilers, I'd say when she was looking up to the sky. You'll know what you get to the part.


    Have you listened to any of Laurel Lefkow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but was considering doing so. However, currently, I don't have any interest in her ither reads.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would've if I could've. Was done in 3.


    Any additional comments?

    Awesome story. Awesomely written. Awesome narration.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • brendanstallard
    lilburn, GA, United States
    30/09/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful Reading"

    I note that some reviewers did not like the narrator, (for a lack of accents?) Astonishing. This was perfectly read. A gentle caress to the ear. Letting the story do the work, beautiful timbre, and every word delivered with clarity. A masterful definition of the art of narration. Laurel Lefkow, thank you, wonderful work.

    The novel, well, it does wander a bit. It addresses questions of science, some of the theories of which were at the point of writing, the shores of the unknown. Putting those questions of existence up against love and faith, an interesting and confusing basket.

    I really liked it, but I admit, 60% of that was because of the beauty of Lefkow's voice. She could read the telephone directory for me.




    brendan

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Mohamed
    26/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A remarkable audiobook"

    Best audiobook I have ever experienced. Phenomenal narrator: perfect pace and interpretation of the text. Carl Sagan captures a Noah's Arc kind of presentation; rich and well-informed reflections on the universe and the human condition, portrayed ever so simply.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen M. Banuelos
    San Francisco, Ca.
    07/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good But There Were Errors"

    Bought the book too. While listening to this unabridged edition I found an occasional paragraph or two was skipped. Satisfying overall though.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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