[FPSPACE] Life Imitating Art? "The Listeners" novel and real events...

Peter Pesavento pjp961 at svol.net
Thu Apr 23 16:29:39 EDT 2015

When the Kepler telescope first started discovering planets left and right,
it reminded me of a novel that I had read in the late 1970s, but I couldn't
recall the name of it.  I searched my memory and any cues I could come up
with to get the titling..


Yesterday, I finally was sucessful (I can thank De Witt Kilgore)  in
locating the title of the novel that I had read.


It is called "The Listeners" by James E. Gunn (published in 1972).


When I first read this novel, it had a profound impact on my views of what
was possible in relation to extraterrestrial contact.


Here is a synopsis about the plot of the novel.  I keenly recall (now that I
have seen it again) the cover of this book.




Some things:


a)-the novel has an African-American president as one of the main characters
(this fictitious president also has short-cropped hair);

b)-the author discusses habitable worlds, including one in the constellation
of Auriga; and

c)-there are descriptions of things that can be interpreted as virtual
reality technology:  "holovision" as well as "VAFS", where one has a
full-spectrum sensory experience (which I think is being worked on right


Currently, there has been a planet discovered (2012) in the Auriga
constellation (using the KELT Earth-based two-telescope system in Arizona),
but it is larger than Jupiter:




But I am heartened that as more attention is focused on looking for
extrasolar planets, we might yet find Capella...and orbiting a binary star


But just not yet.  But perhaps soon...



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