“Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case the idea is quite staggering,” wrote the late SF-author Arthur C. Clarke.
That’s the epigraph to The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence, the new book by Paul Davies, who is the subject of this week’s NRO podcast. It’s also the basis of the first question I pose to him. He dodges it, but the details of his dodge are fascinating.
When I prepare for a podcast about an author’s new book, I don’t normally read the book cover-to-cover. I go through it carefully, get a handle on its major points, and write down a list of questions that will make for an interesting ten-minute conversation. In the case of The Eerie Silence, I couldn’t stop reading. It’s an engrossing book and Davies writes in crystal-clear prose. He also flashes humor, such as his inclusion of this quote from Bill Watterson, the cartoonist: “Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”
Next week’s podcast: Lee Edwards on his new biography of William F. Buckley, Jr.