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I understand

By pure chance scientists discover a signal from space that could be an statement from rational beings.  How can we read this message knowing nothing about the senders?  What if we are not even sure whether they exist?  “His Master's Voice” is not a typical book.  It lacks an adventure plot, yet struggle with the mystery rivets readers' attention more than in many adventure books, especially since the encounter with the unknown provokes elementary questions about the nature of the world, nature of man and reasons for defects of Being.

 

5.00 out of 5 based on 1 ratings1 user reviews.
A difficult, but rewarding read...quite unlike any Reviewed by John Gossman on . "His Master's Voice" is written as a brilliant mathematician's account of working on a Manhatten Project-like attempt to decipher a signal from space. The attempt has only succeeded in deciphering a tiny fragment of the message (and that is not well understood). Thus the work fits in with Lem's many writings on the subject of the "alien" and how it may be impossible to understand something which is truly different from us. These other works include "Fiasco", "Eden" and (most famously) "Solaris". "His Master's Voice" is the most realistic and the most philosophical in tone. The tale is set in cold war America, and includes a fairly pedestrian plot line around the possibility the signal contains instructions for a weapon, but the bulk of the book consists of the narrator's fundamental observations on life and the universe. The book in fact starts out quite difficultly with a dense introduction and first chapter full of allusions to modern philosophy before starting to tell the "story". Do not be put off by this initial section...it is certain no adventure thriller, but the book does become more approachable and at the same time remains very thought provoking. I have always suspected Carl Sagan read this book before he wrote "Contact" as the high concept remains... John Gossman Rating: 5 5