I had the pleasure of watching the film adaptation of the novel years ago, and it . This is my first book by Carl Sagan, but I have been wanting to read it for a while now on account of the film. The following is a review for the abridged audio of the story as read by the always-awesome Jodie Foster.
When the Earth receives an alien message from Vega, the nations of the world band together to create an alien machine that will change the destiny of the world.
Contact follows Ellie Arroway, a scientist searching for a greater truth using science as her guide. Her sense of wonder over the possibilities offered by the Machine Project is contagious. Elly is a curious character that noticeably grows throughout the span of the novel. It was easy to care about Ellie, a heroine that is at once hard as rock and breakable as porcelain. There is also this feeling that her life is leading up to something momentous, and the reader is rewarded with the rather cool ending. (No spoilers!)
Contact is rich in character development, Carl Sagan shows his gift for foreshadowing by leaving clues throughout the novel. The dialogue reveals a lot about the characters by what it with-holds as much as what it shows directly. The plot flows beautifully and naturally as well, one filled with numerous obstacles for our long-suffering heroine. As for the science, Carl Sagan discusses just enough mathematics to let the reader understand the problems faced by the cast.
As you can see from my score of 5 out of 5, I absolutely loved this book! I am not sure how much of the story has been left out from the unabridged version, but what remains certainly packs a punch. The story was easy to follow, but complex enough to keep more advanced readers interested. Now, if the book in its entirety is even better, will my head explode as the awesomeness? And yes, I will be reading the few novels that he wrote during his lifetime.
For those interested, this abridged audiobook is available via Audible.