23 April 2009

Bunnies On The Highway

I just finished reading Carl Sagan's 1985 novel, Contact. I saw the movie when I was a teenager and loved it but the book was quite a bit better in some places and not as great in other. It was slow in places. Nevertheless, I still think that Jodie Foster played Ellie Arroway perfectly, maybe even better than Carl Sagan wrote her, lol.

The book was strange in a way because it was published in 1985 and it ends in the year 2000. For example, the Soviet Union still exits in the book. I'm not in anyway saying that was a failure in any sense (he couldn't have known) but it was strange and kinda funny at times. Not to mention, the President of America in the book was a Madam President which by 2008 we still have not seen. I bet if Sagan was alive today he'd be surprised that we had a black president before a female.

Overall, the ending was considerably better. More detail made it deeper. There was also a very thought provoking thing that had to do with pi at the end.

But while reading there was a very funny part where Ellie was talking to a old man who lived in a retirement home that orbited earth. I would like to share it:
"You see, the religious people -most of them- really think this planet is an experiment. That's what their beliefs come down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing around with tradesman's wives, giving tablets on mountains, commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what words they can say and what words they can't say, making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and like that. Why can't the gods leave well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of incompetence. If God didn't want Lot's wife to look back, why didn't he make her obedient, so she'd do what her husband told her? Or if he hadn't made Lot such a shithead, maybe she would've listened to him more. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn't he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why's he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there's one thing the Bible makes clear: the biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He's not good at design, he's not good at execution. He'd be out of business if there was any competition."
I guess I never mentioned why I called this bunnies on the highway. There was a long exposition early in the book about rabbits in New Mexico that see car lights. It was interesting.

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