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One of the more interesting free new ebooks to come my way in recent weeks arrived today in the shape of a multi-format multi-contributor offering from NASA entitled: Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Edited by Douglas A. Vakoch, this volume brings perspectives from the soft sciences and  humanities to the issue of communicating with alien intelligences – should E.T. ever decide to place a collect call.

According to the NASA blurb:

Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the ease of establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence. These scholars are grappling with some of the enormous challenges that will face humanity if an information-rich signal emanating from another world is detected. By drawing on issues at the core of contemporary archaeology and anthropology, we can be much better prepared for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, should that day ever come.

I haven’t had time to give the title a full review yet, but chapter titles like “A Political History of NASA’s SETI Program” or “The Evolution of Extraterrestrials” definitely whet my appetite to say the least. The book is available for free download in Mobi, EPUB, and PDF formats. Surely a must for science fiction writers and fans, as well as Area 51 conspiracy nuts of all kinds.

 
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