Winner of the PEN Center USA’s 2004 Literary Award for Research Nonfiction!“An exuberant, provocative look at the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and what it might mean….Wisecracks, philosophical musings, and personal anecdotes make his text as lively as it is authoritative. The best look at this subject since Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Connection.” –-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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Lonely Planets is a funky natural philosophy of life in the universe written with authority and edge. Dr. Grinspoon uses the topic of ET life as a mirror in which we view human evolution, history, present, and future in cosmic perspective from the eyes of a working planetary scientist.
With an accessible, breezy and often whimsical style, he presents an authoritative scientific narrative of cosmic evolution along with provocative ruminations on how we fit into the story of the universe. In illustrating how we – scientists and nonscientists alike – have projected upon alien life our own philosophies, biases and preconceptions, he exposes the assumptions we make about extraterrestrials, and how these illuminate science and its limitations.
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An excerpt from the Preface of Lonely Planets
True confession: The whole time I have been writing this book I have had as a companion looking over my shoulder a three and a half foot tall, large headed green alien with big black eyes. He is not flesh-and-blood or even silicon-and-plasma but a squeaky-squeezy plastic inflatable hanging by a string from the ventilation pipe, yet he serves to remind me that, at least as a cultural phenomena, aliens are indeed among us.