Book 25 - Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan essentially makes you love everything about the human race and makes that tingle in your spine go off every couple of seconds.

Now, I know Carl wrote Cosmos as a kind of, every man's version of science, and granted I didn't "Learn" much from the book. But I did grow as a direct result of this book. Maybe its a bit early to say that but right now, as I sit here, I have the most profound respect for my ancient ancestors, to the ones that came before and "prepared the way" as Sagan said. I actually did learn a lot from the book really, but it was all about past civilisations rather than Space.

Which isn't to say that Cosmos is not a masterpiece of science, space and cosmology, it really is. The information within is solid science, nothing is overly simplified into nothing, and yet its written in an elegance and beautiful way that it almost brought me to tears several times. Sagan's descriptions of our place in the universe are so moving, so fundamentally true. Its breath taking at times.

And the imagery. Planets close to the galaxy core being awash with star light, Supernova's in the night sky being so bright you can read by them and causing a global reaction from nomadic tribes in America and Africa to Muslim scholars in the middle east and Chinese astronomers in (funnily enough) china. Planets orbiting quasars. The list goes on.

This book took my breath away in a way that only happens very rarely. I hope that one day I can have a single iota of the man's talent with words, his amazing way of conveying such high level information in a poetic and simple way without dumbing it down. I hope one day I have a single atom's worth of Sagan's influence on our world.

In 1000 years, people will say Carl Sagan was one of our greatest people, and Cosmos will be seen as his greatest work. That isn't meant to marginalise the work he did for the world in his research and development, only to underpin exactly how important this work is. It brings science to everyone. Anyone could read this and understand the importance of the Cosmos entirely. If more people read Cosmos, no one would ever argue that science makes the world a more dull place.

Read this. I will literally buy it for you if you ask me to. Its worth it.

Book 24 - WASP by Eric Frank Russell

A special ops agent is dropped onto an alien planet with the instructions to mess it up as much as possible. Officially the funniest terrorist's handbook ever.

Now this is a fun read. James Mowry is thrown on a planet full of aliens that humanity is warring with. his exact orders are to make things hard for the people of the planet and disrupt the world as much as possible. The way he goes about this follows a simple continuation of steps that results in an entire world in anarchy and disorder.

And it is really fun to read too. Following Mowry as he sows seeds of dissent, encourages rebellion but ultimately single handedly brings an entire planet to its knees with little more than stickers, some letters and about 5 murders, its great fun.

Also the author may have actually known people who did this kind of thing so there's always the fact that its basically a fictional retelling of WW2 Spec Ops.

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