Re: God and Carl Sagan: A Review of Contact

Gordon Tisher (
Fri, 5 Sep 1997 15:46:43 -0700 (PDT)


Have you read _Contact_ the novel? In my opinion the movie is about one
dimension to the book's 10. In fact, the movie runs totally contrary to
the book on several points:

- The book portrays a much wider spectrum of U.S. Christianity, from the
T.V. evangelists to the colleague of Ellie's with a "quiet, sophisticated
Christian faith that engaged him daily"

- In the book, the 'Vegans' tell Ellie that they have found undisputed
evidence in mathematics that "the Universe was built on purpose" and, in
fact, Ellie herself finds this at the end of the novel. Thus the Vegan
part of the movie was an extreme letdown for me.

- Palmer Joss in the book is quite articulate about matters of science and
belief, and his existential experience of God is quite a bit more dramatic
and credible than in the movie (a near-death experience where God tells
him he's being sent back to become a preacher).

- The book has none of the nonsense about astronauts being selected on the
basis of their faith.

I don't know why the movie chose to change these things, which may
either indicate a change in Sagan's own viewpoint or changes to the script
after his death (my speculation only, I have no idea).

The book has quite a bit more sensual imagery that could have been
exploited in the movie (the 'white noise' theme, and miles and miles of
genuflecting rabbits -- guess you'll have to read it).



Gordon Tisher | Programmer, TCC Communications Corp (home) | (work) | Mire la TV en espanol!