The Possibility of Life

Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos

by Jaime Green

On Sale: 04/18/2023

The Possibility of Life

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The Possibility of Life

Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos

by Jaime Green

On Sale: 04/18/2023


About the Book

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
An NPR Science Friday Book Club Pick
A "Next Big Idea Book Club" Must Read?
*An Esquire Best Book of 2023*

A Gizmodo New Release Pick for April
A BookRiot Science Book to Add to Your TBR
Wired Book to Read for Spring
TODAY Show Summer Book
Washington Post Book to Read This Summer
One of the Chicago Tribune's 52 Books for Summer 2023

"A dazzling feat of imagination and synthesis."—Ed Yong, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of An Immense World

A spellbinding exploration of alien life and the cosmos, examining how the possibility of life on other planets shapes our understanding of humanity

One of the most powerful questions humans ask about the cosmos is: Are we alone? While the science behind this inquiry is fascinating, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection of our values, our fears, and most importantly, our enduring sense of hope.  

In The Possibility of Life, acclaimed science journalist Jaime Green traces the history of our understanding, from the days of Galileo and Copernicus to our contemporary quest for exoplanets. Along the way, she interweaves insights from science fiction writers who construct worlds that in turn inspire scientists. Incorporating expert interviews, cutting-edge astronomy research, philosophical inquiry, and pop culture touchstones ranging from A Wrinkle in Time to Star Trek to ArrivalThe Possibility of Life explores our evolving conception of the cosmos to ask an even deeper question: What does it mean to be human? 

Critical Praise

“What if there’s life out there? What would that mean for us? Ms. Green’s book, alive with the color and drama of science fiction as well as scientific fact, helps us grasp that process of imagining—its limits and its greater purpose.”—The Wall Street Journal
“An insightful examination of life… Ingenious writing about the cosmos and life itself.”—Kirkus STARRED review
"A thought-provoking and entertaining read about not just the cosmos, but humanity.”—BookRiot
"Green… brings her impressive talents to bear in this sweeping personal and philosophical account.”—Wired
"[A] book that is remarkably wide-ranging. Green effortlessly moves from discussing the origins of life and the physics of stellar evolution to the politics of Star Trek and the evolutionary biology of Avatar. It’s a refreshingly unique contribution to the extraterrestrial canon, and Green’s lifelong love of both science and science fiction permeates every sentence.”—Columbia Magazine
“A wide-ranging and delightful survey, The Possibility of Life is the kind of book that makes you exclaim 'Wow!' out loud…”—The Washington Post
The Possibility of Life is an excellent and accessible primer on science’s efforts to answer an age-old question, and is recommended to anyone who has looked up and wondered if anyone is looking back.”Sky At Night

"Green’s blend of scientific facts and science fiction reveals a sense of joy and wonder... Ultimately, Green’s work reflects upon the nature of life and what it means to be human."—Library Journal STARRED review

"Green's writing discusses intensely complex ideas in clear and engaging ways, and is endearingly childlike in its wonder and awe. Readers can't help but be swept along in her curiosity and excitement."—Shelf Awareness
“Packed with wonder, humanity, and hope, The Possibility of Life will leave you grateful for life on Earth, even as you dream of first contact.”—Esquire
"[A]n absolute joy of a book ... Whether you're someone who can quote every episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, or have merely spent a night looking at the stars in the sky, wondering, I promise you this book will make you grapple with big ideas while also putting a smile on your face.”—TODAY
"A breezy skip through planetary climates, the politics of first contact, what an alien might actually be."—Chicago Tribune
The Possibility of Life is a clear, clean, unsparing signal from a writer of rare communicative power.”The New Republic
"[A] profound and intriguing book that inspires readers to daydream about making contact with alien lifeforms—while also reminding them that Earth is already packed with a wonderfully diverse array of living creatures."—Popular Mechanics

"Jaime Green’s The Possibility of Life takes the reader on an utterly gripping, endlessly surprising voyage from the “hopeful monsters” of early multicellular organisms to the records of human existence hurtling beyond the edge of our solar system. Green’s voice is rigorous, curious, tender, and often rightfully bemused. She is the best company I could imagine for this journey to the limits of what we can imagine, and a thrilling ruminator on what these acts of imagination might teach us about ourselves."—Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams
"Ostensibly a book about aliens, The Possibility of Life is really a treatise about how we think about the world—and the ways in which our discoveries fuel our imaginations, and vice versa. Thoughtful, witty, and profound, Jaime Green has crafted a dazzling feat of imagination and synthesis that had me hooked from the first page."—Ed Yong, New York Times bestselling author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
“A fascinating and thoughtful reminder of the fact that we may not be alone. Highly recommended.”—Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of Annihilation
“Jaime Green’s The Possibility of Life is both a delight and a marvel, widening the imagined potential of life on Earth, in the cosmos, and in our art and stories. Every page of this book makes our shared universe feel larger and more interesting than ever before, a true gift of fascinating science and engrossing storytelling.” —Matt Bell, author of Appleseed

“Jaime Green casts her gaze deep into the universe for the possibilities of extraterrestrial life but, at the same time, looks deep into us, too, into our humanity and our history and into why we even want to look for that life in the first place. What results is an accessible, weird, funny and ultimately illuminating look into the search for life beyond our world.”—Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath and Wanderers
"The Possibility of Life left me dizzy with awe and brimming with hope. Jaime Green elegantly uncorks our tiny patch of the universe and takes us on a tour of our best and worst approximations of aliens—unearthly heptapods, a manipulative ocean, and blue humanoids—and explains why the most likely aliens may be more like a platypus than a Klingon. Although The Possibility of Life asks us to fathom the unfathomable, Green is a steadfast, witty, and charming guide through this cosmic murk. I found myself yearning for a signal in the cosmos and acutely reminded me of how all life on Earth is already more than enough."—Sabrina Imbler, author of How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335463548
  • ISBN 10: 1335463542
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 04/18/2023
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price:41.00 CAD
  • BISAC1 : SCIENCE / Essays
  • BISAC2 : SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects
  • BISAC3 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture

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