Wook Kim
November 14, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life

Current Status
In Season
David Grinspoon
Science and Technology

We gave it a B+

It’s one thing to write a critical examination of the flawed thinking that has shaped the way science considers the possibility of extraterrestrial life; it’s quite another to write one that actually begins ”It was a dark and stormy night…” Such is the arched-brow humor favored by this astrobiologist and NASA adviser, who drops quotes from academic stalwarts like Madonna, R.E.M., and ”The Onion.” Yet in his low-key, conversational language, Grinspoon asks provocative questions about modern science’s unyielding rigidities; gives an informed, dispassionate consideration of the UFO phenomenon; and suggests that NASA might be a tad too preoccupied with Mars. Definitive proof that life on this planet is intelligent and funny.

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