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Cosmos

Written by: Carl Sagan
Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (382 ratings)

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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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The sound quality is plainly terrible.

Can't believe this can be considered professional recording. Amazon compressed the audio so much it's unbearable. Reminds me of overseas meetings on webex with Indians and chineese. You have to concentrate to understand what's being said. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

5 of 6 people found this review 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 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Unimpressive Rhetoric

Interesting at times, but boring & redundant at others. Historically interesting, but wanted more on actual astronomy instead of evolutionary beliefs

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent summary but fairly fundamental stuff

Despite being ~40 years old now, this book has held up very well, mainly because its topics are fairly general and for the most part not attempting to address cutting edge science. The optimistic chapters about how humanity is improving are possibly the most depressing, written as they were near the end of the cold war when the future looked brighter than I would say it does now. As a general introduction to scientific history, key discoveries, and key theories it's great and I would recommend. If you paid attention in high school science and especially if you've done any additional reading out of interest, there probably isn't anything new here though. So, a good and well-written (if occasionally flowery-prosed) summary of the basic facts, but probably nothing to be gained for anyone already particularly interested in science. Nice reading of the audiobook by Neil deGrasse Tyson, though.

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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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Best non- fiction read on Audible so far!

explains science in a way that can be accessible to all. Best science novel ever.

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Perfect

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

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Timeless

Even though Carl wrote this a time ago, the facts and data are still relevant. The message of this beautiful story is so relevant and is so significant to out species today.

Everyone should have the privilege of hearing this story.

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Very comprehensive and entertaining, however..

This book was well read, well written and informative! I did thoroughly enjoy it.
It did take a slight anti-creator tone towards the end that takes you by surprise, and I felt that wasn't necessary.
otherwise great book!

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  • DM
  • Orillia, ON, Canada
  • 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.

88 of 93 people found this review helpful

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  • Seph
  • New York
  • 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.

206 of 220 people found this review 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".

31 of 33 people found this review 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.

19 of 20 people found this review 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.

52 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Deb JOHNSON
  • Canon City, CO
  • 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.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike D.
  • 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.

21 of 24 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Carlos Rodriguez
  • 2017-06-08

Book for all Citizens of the Cosmos

As the title of this review implies, this book should be read by all those who can read and are inhabitants of the known universe. This truly uplifting masterpiece written by Carl Sagan should be taught to all children in school as one of humankind's finest literary works. The lucidity with which Carl delivers his insights about the Cosmos and our relationship to the Universe is eye opening and awe inspiring. If every human were raised to value the wisdom contained in this book, humans would finally set aside religious, political, territorial differences and disputes and achieve lasting peace across all parts of the earth. Resources will be shared, the environment protected, and scientific progress would lead the way toward a better life for all. It is my sincere hope that this book continue to be valued for millennia to come.

27 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • wbiro
  • 2017-07-26

Still Largely Up to Date

I can see now what most popular books on astronomy over the last 35+ years have tried to emulate (this book). I found the book largely still up to date - with phrases that current books still use. Then something pops up that makes you realize the actual date of the book (such as when he refers to a NASA mission scheduled for 1982).

46 of 57 people found this review helpful