We’ve all heard, seen or read about those Sci fi stories about communicating with the aliens.
Depicted more realistic than others, the aliens range in appearance from dangerous reptilian like
monsters like in Aliens to cute little talking and walking teddy bears like in Star Wars. The aliens in these
stories most of the time take over our planet and threaten human existence, while few depict very
opposite storylines containing peace. In “What does a Martian Look like” by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart,
the authors try to achieve a more realistic viewpoint on alien life and to un-Hollywood-ize the prospect
of other life in our universe. The fact that there is no evidence supporting the theory of other life,
doesn’t faze Cohen and Stewart at all. In fact, they mention the lack of evidence and argue that the lack
of evidence doesn’t support either side of the argument for or against the prospect of alien life
argument. While the authors analyze the prospect of alien life, they look at everything from the
definition of alien to the definition of life and life on other planets.
In truth, the book can be summed up in one sentence: we don’t know; therefore we can’t tell
you. However, that truly wasn’t the point of the book-to answer the question posed in the book’s title.
The point of the book was to theoretically lay out the findings of what is or can be considered an “alien”
and truly analyze what society deems an “alien.” The book starts by laying out a fine foundation of the
whole prospect of looking for alien life, Astrobiology versus Xenoscience. The authors first laid out a very
unbiased description of Astrobiology, showing that it is both the thinking of astrology and biology...
... middle of paper ...
...tory was going for realism, the authors of
the Sci fi would do it Cohen’s and Stewart’s way; however, in that same book, they admit that no one
knows how aliens will come about, so how can Cohen and Stewart possibly know anything? The point of
the book comes across as some excuse to show how everyone else interpretations of the possibility of
alien life are wrong, and Cohen’s and Stewart’s are the right ones. They also use the span of the book to
rant on how Astrobiology is not the field that should be used to look for alien life and how the field is
basically a terrible choice. Basically, the entire book is an excuse to rant and allow the scientist and
mathematician to feel superior.
Cohen, Jack, and Ian Stewart. What Does a Martian Look Like?: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life.
Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley, 2002. Print.
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