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Confessions of an Alien Hunter
Cover of Confessions of an Alien Hunter
Confessions of an Alien Hunter
A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
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Aliens are big in America. Whether they've arrived via rocket, flying saucer, or plain old teleportation, they've been invading, infiltrating, or inspiring us for decades, and they've fascinated moviegoers and television watchers for more than fifty years. About half of us believe that aliens really exist, and millions are convinced they've visited Earth.

For twenty-five years, SETI has been looking for the proof, and as the program's senior astronomer, Seth Shostak explains in this engrossing book, it's entirely possible that before long conclusive evidence will be found.

His informative, entertaining report offers an insider's view of what we might realistically expect to discover light-years away among the stars. Neither humanoids nor monsters, says Shostak; in fact, biological intelligence is probably just a precursor to machine beings, enormously advanced artificial sentients whose capabilities and accomplishments may have developed over billions of years and far exceed our own.

As he explores what, if anything, they would tell us and what their existence would portend for humankind and the cosmos, he introduces a colorful cast of characters and provides a vivid, state-of-the-art account of the past, present, and future of our search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Aliens are big in America. Whether they've arrived via rocket, flying saucer, or plain old teleportation, they've been invading, infiltrating, or inspiring us for decades, and they've fascinated moviegoers and television watchers for more than fifty years. About half of us believe that aliens really exist, and millions are convinced they've visited Earth.

For twenty-five years, SETI has been looking for the proof, and as the program's senior astronomer, Seth Shostak explains in this engrossing book, it's entirely possible that before long conclusive evidence will be found.

His informative, entertaining report offers an insider's view of what we might realistically expect to discover light-years away among the stars. Neither humanoids nor monsters, says Shostak; in fact, biological intelligence is probably just a precursor to machine beings, enormously advanced artificial sentients whose capabilities and accomplishments may have developed over billions of years and far exceed our own.

As he explores what, if anything, they would tell us and what their existence would portend for humankind and the cosmos, he introduces a colorful cast of characters and provides a vivid, state-of-the-art account of the past, present, and future of our search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
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About the Author-
  • Seth Shostak is a scientist, author, and frequent commentator on TV and radio. He writes a monthly column on SPACE.com, and often lectures on his work at SETI. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 16, 2009
    Shostak, senior astronomer for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, chronicles the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life in a venture that covers history, politics and funding, interviews with believers and non-believers (in both the religious and scientific sense), equipment and science, as well as typical sci-fi scenarios, all salted liberally with humor: "In most stories, space is just the Wild West without the dust... where the bad guys are just like us, except for their obvious need of remedial plastic surgery." Shostak also discusses the beginnings of life on earth, how this knowledge impacts what astronomers search for in other galaxies, and the growing consortium of scientific voices who believe "it would be offensively self-centered to imagine that what has happened on Earth has only happened on Earth." Written in clear, logical prose, with many analogies to everyday life that simplify the discussion (reverse-engineering technology "from a society several centuries in advance of us is like giving your laptop to Ben Franklin"). From crop circles to abductions, he discusses and debunks common alien encounter myths ("wheat fields are poor memory storage devices"), while remaining hopeful that continued exploration will yield discoveries. Covering topics from signal processing to feature films, should entertain a broad audience.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2009
    If there is one question that has preoccupied humanity since the beginning of consciousness, it has to be this one: Are we truly alone in the universe? Shostak, senior astronomer for the SETI Institute, thinks the odds are against it. As the public face of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Shostak is optimistic about the possibility of life on other planets. His latest book is chock-full of statistics and speculation that add up to a fairly convincing argument. He proposes, for example, that by taking into account the glut of newly discovered planets in orbit around faraway stars and making a few scientific extrapolations, we can conclude that the universe is teeming with planets possessing the conditions necessary for life. The problem then becomes one of communication. Shostak believes the answer lies in listening for radio signals, and he presents a lively history of radio astronomy. He touches on other topicsmicrowaves, quasars, pulsars, and UFO sightingsand imbues them all with his trademark humor. Readable and engaging, despite the presence of some weighty, scientific material.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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Confessions of an Alien Hunter
Confessions of an Alien Hunter
A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Seth Shostak
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