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This book can be easily reduced to two good essays: "The origin and the future of the Earth" and "A search for planets around stars." Tht's what I took away from this book - but only after listening to endless flourishes, personal profiles of various scientists, etc, etc... This book has substance, but is way too long and unpruned,
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3.5 stars. This is essentially a summary of the current state of affairs as regards the search for extraterrestrial life, though (as other reviewers have noted) the author meanders across sciences. I usually find geology history rather interesting, but it stretched my patience in this book. In addition, I felt that the author put far too much effort into building artistic prose and 'personalizing' the story through the lives of the researchers that he interviewed…no offense to the author, but I'd rather focus on the science and skip the human interest pieces. Ultimately the outlook is, at the moment, rather dour as far as space exploration and SETI goes: NASA lacks the budget for major missions, and SETI is similarly struggling for funding.