SETI Contact: Two Years Later & More
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 14:42:14 -0800

Hello All,

>Larry Klaes
I am curious to see what folks on this list still think
of Contact, especially if their insights and views on
the novel, film, and subjects they discussed have
changed since 1997.

I was rather fond of the book myself, and the movie was (as
Hollywood can do, when they are apt to listen to advisors and
to be fair, have the budget) excellent. But, as with any "modern
Hollywood myth and science fiction", do you really think Contact
will transpire in such a naive (elegant) manner?

I think actual Contact will be a matter of convenience.
Something akin to Capt Cook landing where the tides surge on
random coastline. But who will do it? Will it be us or them?
In other words, will it be our technicians finding them, or
their technicians finding us?

If as Dr. Eric Davis of NIDS has stated here in the 'open'
SETI-League list, (rather eloquently) that there exists (likely
in my opinion) an "incommensurability" problem, then Contact
will be a matter of convenience, i.e., those who are most
accessible at the moment.

In the "Contact" story, the incommensurability problem also
existed, but Dr. Sagan used the projected introspective
personification of the (fictious) Dr. Arroway's late father (a
telepathic inference which crosses the veil) to solve
interspecie communication non-linearity problem. Perhaps
telepathy is the ubiquitous 'universal translator'? Do all
sentient machines exhibit psi? A type of scalar physics?
Complex order? We could go many cool places, like; does a
'Data' (Star Trek: Next Generation fictional character) acquire
a soul at some order of switching density? Are Anomalous
Observation Phenomenon, (AOP --Carl Sagan's verbiage to replace
the inappropriate term 'UFO'), are AOP visiting Earth due to our
telephone switching network's exhibiting signs of collective
telepathic sentiency and leaking intelligent signals into the

The one failing I see in Dr. Sagan's wonderful story --a super
race(?) capable (completely and politically correct within the
bandwidth of SETI thinking)...capable of developing space-time
'traveling' device is limited to sending the instruction plans
via subluminal radio. Tsk, tsk, tsk. But Dr. Sagan had to write
a story, one that (as always) works within the seemingly
intransitive framework of SETI. If so, what was the underlying
story that Dr. Sagan wanted (desperately?) to share with us?
Could the answer be that they are out there? Can't be that one,
anybody with a brain, knows or suspects that it is so. So what
could it be? Maybe that they are smarter than us or more
advanced? Can't be that, they were sending the plans. My guess
is that ET can come here!? The SuperRace clearly had that
technology, indeed, they gave it to us. So instead of them
visiting us, we then had the technology to visit them and
within the limits of SETI doctrine. (its always ok if we can do
it first) The story addressed all the issues, even allowing the
SETV guys a place in the schema. A cool story, very clever.

Have my views of Contact changed, physically yes; regarding the
wonderful story and movie: no. Wonderful
will happen, when it does, it won't be as we expect or even
possibly is just a matter time, maybe happening

Best Wishes,

Walt Williams, 99.07.18

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 08:14:47 -0400
From: Larry Klaes <>
Subject: SETI Contact: Two Years Later

It was two years ago at this time that the film version
of Carl Sagan's 1985 science fiction novel Contact was
released to the world. Events in the novel took place
in our year, 1999.

I am curious to see what folks on this list still think
of Contact, especially if their insights and views on
the novel, film, and subjects they discussed have
changed since 1997.


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