"A wide-ranging and delightful survey, The Possibility of Life is the kind of book that makes you exclaim 'Wow!' out loud… Even more mind-blowing, though, is Green’s ability to make us rethink everything we thought we knew about life on Earth."
—The Washington Post
A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology
A best book of 2023 according to The Washington Post and Esquire
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One of the most powerful questions humans ask about the cosmos is: Are we alone? Yet this very question is inevitably reduced to yes or no, to odds and probabilities that posit answers through complex physics. The science is fascinating, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection of our values and aspirations, our fears and anxieties, 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 up through to our contemporary quest for exoplanets in the "Goldilocks zone," where life akin to ours on Earth might exist. Along the way, she interweaves insights from a long-standing tradition of science fiction writers who use the power of imagination to extrapolate and construct worlds that in turn inspire scientists.
Weaving in expert interviews, cutting-edge astronomy research, philosophical inquiry and pop culture touchstones ranging from A Wrinkle in Time to Star Trek to Arrival, The Possibility of Life explores our evolving conception of the cosmos to ask and even deeper question: What does it mean to be human?
"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
"Alive with the color and drama of science fiction as well as scientific fact, [this book] helps us grasp that process of imagining—its limits and its greater purpose."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Green… brings her impressive talents to bear in this sweeping personal and philosophical account."
"[A] refreshingly unique contribution to the extraterrestrial canon, and Green’s lifelong love of both science and science fiction permeates every sentence."
"Ingenious writing about the cosmos and life itself."
—Kirkus STARRED review
"Green’s blend of scientific facts and science fiction reveals a sense of joy and wonder beyond the usual science-based cosmological studies or speculative fiction..."
—Library Journal STARRED review