COSMOS by Carl Sagan
Kirkus Star


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Thirteen profusely illustrated chapters to match 13 television programs this fall featuring prolific, peripatetic Carl Sagan as author/host. The cosmos is, as he says, everything there is, or was, or will be. For Sagan it is romance, drama, adventure, discovery--and a peg to allow him to write about favorite themes: the origins of life here, and possibly There, evolution, intelligence, cosmology, communication. Some of the chapters focus on familiar planetscapes; hostile Venus, maybe-microbial Mars. Others set the grand scene--the 15-billion-year-old universe, the takeoff of life forms on Earth with the first multicellular creatures. In many ways this is vintage Sagan, asking questions with schoolboy curiosity, conveying facts with irrepressible zest, sprinkling literary quotes and illusions along the way, and stirring all with bits of gossip, anecdotes, and tales of visionaries and fools. Velikovsky comes in for his usual raps. We hear about Kepler's sad marriage and Newton's lifelong virginity. In the end we are smitten with Sagan's zeal to find out who is out there; to set up the radio telescopes and listen; to hope that our feeble communications are overheard, and that some day we get there or that supergalactic explorers arrive. Sagan at his best.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1980
Publisher: Random House