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The story is great. And I loved LeVar Burton in Star Trek. My critique is that the majority of the book is narrated by LeVar and his constant over-acting of every line and the immense emphasis on every word makes it extremely tiring to listen to. He even does voices. A lot. It turns ridiculous.
Likewise, Ann Druyan is also audibly squinting, straining her voice, and reads every line like it's the most important revelation. When everything is important, nothing is.
Their voice-acting muddles the message, slows down the reading, and I feel less connected to Carls message as a consequence. I found myself increasingly annoyed with each chapter. Seth MacFarlane is much better.
I've stopped in chapter 8. Their over-acting has ruined this book for me. I cannot finish it.
98 of 105 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Cosmos the most enjoyable?
The book is wonderful but it is exhausting to listen to Levar Burton. I am a fan of his; don't get me wrong, and he should be a genius choice for this. But why is he channelling the classic James T. Kirk delivery? Weird spacing of phrases, strange emphases that distort sentence structures...after a while it gets too distracting and I have to take a break. This is disappointing as I typically listen to audiobooks on long drives.
The content is fascinating and Carl Sagan's enthusiasm, knowledge and love of science shines through regardless. Every few minutes I learn something new.
39 of 42 people found this review helpful
While some scientific aspects in the book might have changed in the meantime, the book is still as valuable today as it was almost 40 years ago. For people just getting introduced to astronomy it is still close enough to present views of the universe to give a good introduction and understanding. For the literate astronomers this can also be regarded as a sample of history. Just like Carl Sagan was looking at early astronomers' work and appreciating it with the benefit of hindsight, today's amateur astronomers can look at Carl Sagan's book and get a better understanding of the recent scientific history, with its debates and evolution.
But above all that, I'd say the biggest merit of this book is it made me want to go outside and just look at the vast sky above and the stars that fill it. It also gives a wonderful history of astronomy, as mentioned before.
Finally, the last chapter is sadly as relevant today as it was back then. In the last chapter Sagan raises issues about the dangers and absurdity of nuclear proliferation and the ridiculous amount of resources spent on war or the possibility of war. He raises issues about anti-scientific movements in society and how an uneducated society is more likely to throw itself into irrational conflicts. He raises issues about sexism and misogyny, about chauvinism and nationalism. While he was hopeful that these problems are on the way to being solved, it's sad to see that the world has regressed in the recent past, on all these issues, and that they are all just as relevant today.
So this book is not just an astronomy book. It's a book of education and culture, a book of science and history, a starting point for people to educate themselves.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Cosmos again? Why?
I would probably only listen to a couple of chapters again.
Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Aspects of this book, I would definitely want to listen to in one sitting.
Any additional comments?
This is a great book. Whilst the subject matter is focused on the cosmos and everything to do with it. Carl Sagan does a brilliant job of seamlessly interlacing the subject matter with other branches of sciences not directly related. He introduces other discussions and areas without you as the listener noticing until you realise - hey what's that was interesting.
Carl does a very good job in providing explanations on the subject matter in a way that is generally easily understood, although for some of the more advanced concepts you will need to concentrate and have a presence of mind. Having said that, if this is the first book you listen to regarding the cosmos, it provides a great introduction.
I have listened to other astronomy books including Welcome to the Universe and I found that book to be very technical. I think this was due to the fact that it probably wasn't really suited for audio book format.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
A brilliant, insightful and deeply poetic story. And it is a story, the most grand story you’ll ever hear, seemlessly intertwining history, politics and science.
It is missing a certain oooomph these days as the cutting edge science discussions have since been surpassed by greater, more recent ventures.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
an incredible insight into carl sagans cosmic perspective. An absolute must listen for anyone interested in astronomy or science in general.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful