Aliens: Past, Present & Future
Pub Date: 10/19/2017
Binding: Hardback, 200 B&W and Color Illustrations
Format: 9-3/4 x 11
Price: $32.50 US/ $34.50 CAN
The First Major Book to Chart Our Fascination with Life Beyond Earth
A 2015 poll conducted by internet market-research firm, YouGov, found that most Americans believe in extraterrestrials. Ron Miller, the author of the new book Aliens: Past, Present, and Future, finds that easy to swallow. For more than a century, science fiction stories and movies, as well as decades of scientific discoveries, have tantalized audiences with the promise that “first contact” is near.
Chock-full of color illustrations, Miller’s illustrated “coffee table” book explores the ways in which our concept of extraterrestrial life has evolved over the centuries. Often, Miller observes, aliens reflect the time and culture from which they arise. The best example of this is the 1950s classic, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” which commented on the Cold-War paranoia sweeping the nation. But, as Miller shows, the phenomenon goes back much further—to the origins of modern astronomy and the invention of the telescope.
Early astronomers such as Johannes Kepler published wild speculations about life on other planets alongside their scientific publications. Miller also discusses the “great moon hoax” of 1835 in which New York Sun reporter, Richard Adams, created enormous excitement about the possibility of life on our moon. Likewise, the Martians have had their champions, especially the 19th century Harvard-educated Percival Lowell who “discovered” canals on Mars and declared them the work of intelligent beings.
Elsewhere, Miller documents legitimate theories about alien life that NASA and other agencies are currently testing. For example, scientists know that Saturn’s large moon, Titan, contains the building blocks of amino acids. An animation posted by NASA to YouTube depicts a future submarine launching into one of Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes. And then there’s NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. Launched in 2009, it has identified over 1,200 exoplanets, nine of which could carry life. In 2018, NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope to further study these far away worlds.
Written by bestselling author Ron Miller, the book features more than 200 illustrations – from centuries-old engravings, book, comic and magazine art, movie posters, purported UFO photographs, to colour illustrations showing what today’s cutting-edge scientists think extraterrestrial life could be like. Could there even be aliens among us already?