When “Across the Universe” was transmitted into deep space in 2008, NASA hoped the song’s journey across the universe would bring contact with other beings. The famous Beatles’ tune may have been the first one sent to the aliens, but it’s not the only piece of music influenced by them: musicians from Beethoven to Ella Fitzgerald to Radiohead have all produced acoustic renderings of extraterrestrials. So here’s a sample of what the soundtrack to Mark Brake’s Alien Life Imagined might sound like.
As writers, filmmakers, philosophers, and scientists have imagined encountering other worlds, they have created some memorable extraterrestrials, both friendly and fearsome, that have inspired the masses to dream about who we might discover in the far reaches of space—and how alien contact might change our lives. Here are seven of those fictional aliens we wouldn’t mind meeting.
Mark Brake, the author of Alien Life Imagined, on writing, Darwinian Martians, and his sci-fi bookshelf.
Welcome to Alien Life Imagined, the newest selection for the Cambridge Book Club! Dive in this week with an excerpt from the book, and check for your discount on this and related titles. Don’t forget to check back all month—a Q&A with the author, a slideshow, and a playlist are all coming your way.
We’ve been talking about the paternalistic NYC soda restrictions on the Cambridge Book Club for a while now, and with a judge declaring them invalid just a day before they went into effect, the conversation is really heating up. Now that we’ve heard from the expert authors of Paternalism: Theory and Practice and Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, we asked people in Cambridge University Press’s Manhattan office how they felt about the ban that would have affected them (admittedly, we did this before it was invalidated—but their answers are still interesting!). Watch the video below, and tell us what you think.