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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, June 2017

As a big fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson's recent documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which honors Carl Sagan's original work from 1980, I was excited to listen to Sagan's companion book - now available in audio for the first time. While I was a bit too young to catch Sagan's docuseries, LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow did heavily influence my childhood, and this may be why my brain seemed primordially attuned to learn from Burton's voice. He's the perfect narrator for untangling complicated scientific subjects as well as highlighting their moments of majesty. I legit feel smarter for having listened to Cosmos, and I'll also never be able to forget why medieval Catholic monks first domesticated rabbits (hint: it wasn't because they were cute). —Emily, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan's collaborator, Ann Druyan, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

Includes introductory music: Heaven and Hell by Vangelis from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage used with permission from Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

©1980 Carl Sagan Productions, Inc (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Foreword © 2013 by Ann Druyan. “Reflections on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos” essay © 2013 by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

What listeners say about Cosmos

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    5 out of 5 stars

LeVar is like listening to a breathy James T. Kirk

I so want to listen to this. I really do! I haven't listened to a science based audible and was looking forward to listening to this classic book while I drive to/from work every day. But I just... (short dramatic pause) can'T (extra emphasis on the T). LeVar reads every sentence with emphasis and drama when it's simply not needed. (he has a capital V in his name, does that have emphasis on it too?) High, intense phrasing and sudden drop to low breathy end word. Every sentence. Up down up down. It's like a roller-coaster, but not in a good way. I do want to feel awe in the cosmos, I want to feel awe in Carl Sagan's words... but not every darn sentence. Way too over dramatic. I do plan on returning the book to get my credit back. I actually wish Seth MacFarlane read the whole book, because he was quite good. I'm sorry Carl, I guess I'll have to enjoy the book the way you intended it... by reading it.

36 people found this helpful

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Loved it

I was worried at first that I wouldn't like it because of all the complaints about the narration. Not sure what everyone is on about but I had no issue with it. In fact I thought it was quite good.

Don't let the bad reviews fool you.
This is worth the purchase.

4 people found this helpful

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Insightful

A great perspective on how we view the world and the universe. We can bind together to achieve great feats or be divided and become insignificant...like atoms.

2 people found this helpful

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Brrilliant

Carl Sagan does an amazing job of sharing his wonder and excitement while guiding you through the relevance of the cosmos.

4 people found this helpful

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Naration is overly dramatic

The content is great but Levar Burton is a little over the top. He does the vast majority of the naration. Was hoping for more Neil Degrass Tyson and Seth McFarlane.

1 person found this helpful

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great story teller

a great story teller! inspires curiosity. I see where a number of references come from in podcasts today on these topics. I liked the forward from Ann Druyan, so much passion for science.

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Perfect

Everything about this was great. The book, the voice acting, and the intros. Just perfect.

1 person found this helpful

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Just as amazing today

I’m a Neil deGrasse titan fan, and had watched his reimagining of Sagan’s Cosmos, so I was very intrigued to read the original book by the master. It did not disappoint. It’s excellently narrated by LeVar Burton, who delivers the material with just the right amount of energy and wonder that is suitable to the subject.

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Best science book

My favourite space odyssey and the best narration from the book. RIP Carl Sagan you will forever be in my memories.

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Excellent, stirs the imagination

Such a good book! Carl Sagan does a wonderful job of introducing scientific concepts in a way that's approachable, but doesn't feel like you're being talked down to. His passion for science is evident throughout, and contagious!

LeVar Burton does a great job of narrating, too - really brings it to life.

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  • Deb JOHNSON
  • 2017-10-03

Great except for the narration

Carl Sagan's writings are amazingly still so current today, that I am again struck by how much we missed when this genius died so young. My only criticism is that the breathless, rapid "gee whiz" style the main narrator uses is so opposite to the thoughtful, slow, deep voice of Carl Sagan that I longed for a return to those nights when I sat spellbound in front of the television enraptured by Sagan's own narration. This narrator completely missed the liquidity and thoughtfulness of the original work.

72 people found this helpful

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  • John Watton
  • 2017-08-24

A powerful work that needs better narration

Cosmos is an important work on many levels. More care should have been chosen in the choosing coaching , and recruiting of narrators who are comfortable with the communication of cosmological language. LeVar Burton is an excellent actor, but does not (in my opinion) do well here.
It is a worthwhile purchase, but I recommend you watch both video productions of "Cosmos" as a precursor to purchasing this one.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Seph
  • 2017-11-09

Over-acting voice actors

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.

318 people found this helpful

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  • luis
  • 2020-06-15

It is an audiobook right???

Cannot-will not get through such torturous narrative,I do not deserve this type of psychological abuse m. Nope,not doing this.

18 people found this helpful

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  • DM
  • 2017-09-11

Levar Burton channelling Captain Kirk

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.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Ben Engelke
  • 2017-07-26

Inspiring. Innovative. Intelligent.

A fantastic personal journey. Carl Sagan's vision of the Cosmos is enduring and spot on for being written 30+ years ago. Only good will come from this planet's population reading or listening to his words.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Beta
  • 2017-08-18

Extremely Poor Narration

Would you try another book from Carl Sagan and/or the narrators?

I would try another book by Carl Sagan, as long as someone else reads the book the way that Carl would have read it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cosmos?

Extremely poor narration.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Their voices were extremely "dramatic". Accentuating every sentence. It was extremely annoying, and I gave up listening to it.

Do you think Cosmos needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes. As long as the same people do NOT read it.

Any additional comments?

I have the original hard back copy of this book. I have the paperback version. I have read them several times. I have the DVD version of the program. I have watched it several times. Carl Sagan is one of the most influential people in my life. I was extremely disappointed in the way this book was read. BTW, I also hated the remake of the TV show.

87 people found this helpful

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  • net
  • 2018-10-31

Narration is unbearable

The book seems so interesting but the narration is so overacted and hard to understand. No wonder the audio preview of the book didn't include it.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Mike C
  • 2017-09-07

Geordi LaForge Teaches you about the Universe

Great Content and Great Narrator! I grew up watching LeVar Burton on TNG and Reading Raonbow, so saying his narration was nostalgic is a bit of an understatement...but nostalgia aside, he does an amazing job. As for the content he reads, lets just say I am saddened that Carl Sagan died before I ever knew who he was.

While some of the more theoretical content in this book is now considered fact or debunked, Cosmos contains a fountain of knowledge about our universe. Sagan takes a detailed look at the process of the living universe attempting to understand itself, starting with a grand, intergalactic perspective, and slowly zooming in the lense all the way to our society, and our minds.

He does get a little heavy handed when it comes to nuclear war, but he wrote this during the Cold War, so good on him for trying to do something about it. I am a little depressed after finishing to realize our global society has changed so little since he released this book in 1980, but if you ignore the 37 year interval, it will give you a hopeful outlook on our future as a single species in a global society. Cosmos delves into the interconnectivity of our universe in a way most people never think of.

Get this book, and learn why we are an endangered species, why the big bang could have been a supernova explosion, and how each of us is made, of "star stuff".

41 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 2017-11-14

A Classic.

Carl Sagan is brilliantly able to explain the questions being asked of the cosmos. A true masterpiece of modern science which holds up pretty well even after 30 years. All that said, I’m more inclined to recommend the updated Cosmos tv series by Neil Degrasse Tyson.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas J.
  • 2021-02-10

Breathtaking!

Pressing repeat to relive all the wonder while contemplating with heart that which divides us and thwarts life, unity, peace and knowledge.