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Publisher's Summary

RETURNING TO TELEVISION AS AN ALL-NEW MINISERIES ON FOX

Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

Includes introductory music: "Heaven and Hell" by Vangelis from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage used with permission from Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

Praise for Cosmos

“Magnificent... With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.” - The Plain Dealer

“Sagan is an astronomer with one eye on the stars, another on history, and a third - his mind’s - on the human condition.” - Newsday

“Brilliant in its scope and provocative in its suggestions...shimmers with a sense of wonder.” - The Miami Herald

“Sagan dazzles the mind with the miracle of our survival, framed by the stately galaxies of space.” - Cosmopolitan

“Enticing...iridescent...imaginatively illustrated.” - The New York Times Book Review

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©1980 Carl Sagan Productions, Inc (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Foreword © 2013 by Ann Druyan. “Reflections on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos” essay © 2013 by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Featured Article: The Best Black Audiobook Narrators to Listen to Right Now


A skilled performer has the ability to take the written word to new heights, infusing an author’s work with empathy, warmth, and excitement. And representation matters just as much for audio as it does for any visual medium: listeners should feel and hear themselves in art driven by powerful performers and authentic deliveries. We’ve gathered a few of the best Black audiobook narrators in the business and their can't-miss performances.

What listeners say about Cosmos

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars

Over-acting voice actors

The story is great. And I loved LeVar Burton in Star Trek. My critique is that the majority of the book is narrated by LeVar and his constant over-acting of every line and the immense emphasis on every word makes it extremely tiring to listen to. He even does voices. A lot. It turns ridiculous.
Likewise, Ann Druyan is also audibly squinting, straining her voice, and reads every line like it's the most important revelation. When everything is important, nothing is.
Their voice-acting muddles the message, slows down the reading, and I feel less connected to Carls message as a consequence. I found myself increasingly annoyed with each chapter. Seth MacFarlane is much better.

I've stopped in chapter 8. Their over-acting has ruined this book for me. I cannot finish it.

340 people found this helpful

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  • DM
  • 09-11-17

Levar Burton channelling Captain Kirk

What made the experience of listening to Cosmos the most enjoyable?

The book is wonderful but it is exhausting to listen to Levar Burton. I am a fan of his; don't get me wrong, and he should be a genius choice for this. But why is he channelling the classic James T. Kirk delivery? Weird spacing of phrases, strange emphases that distort sentence structures...after a while it gets too distracting and I have to take a break. This is disappointing as I typically listen to audiobooks on long drives.

The content is fascinating and Carl Sagan's enthusiasm, knowledge and love of science shines through regardless. Every few minutes I learn something new.

129 people found this helpful

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Extremely Poor Narration

Would you try another book from Carl Sagan and/or the narrators?

I would try another book by Carl Sagan, as long as someone else reads the book the way that Carl would have read it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cosmos?

Extremely poor narration.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Their voices were extremely "dramatic". Accentuating every sentence. It was extremely annoying, and I gave up listening to it.

Do you think Cosmos needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes. As long as the same people do NOT read it.

Any additional comments?

I have the original hard back copy of this book. I have the paperback version. I have read them several times. I have the DVD version of the program. I have watched it several times. Carl Sagan is one of the most influential people in my life. I was extremely disappointed in the way this book was read. BTW, I also hated the remake of the TV show.

93 people found this helpful

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Great except for the narration

Carl Sagan's writings are amazingly still so current today, that I am again struck by how much we missed when this genius died so young. My only criticism is that the breathless, rapid "gee whiz" style the main narrator uses is so opposite to the thoughtful, slow, deep voice of Carl Sagan that I longed for a return to those nights when I sat spellbound in front of the television enraptured by Sagan's own narration. This narrator completely missed the liquidity and thoughtfulness of the original work.

87 people found this helpful

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Simply Amazing

As i was growing up the television series was one of my favorites. I really enjoyed this audible version. It's great to get this message/knowledge in all different mediums. The narration is fantastic & will hopefully appeal to all mentalities great or small. It would truly be a wonderful thing to see all mankind (& womankind ((don't want to offend anybody;))) use their minds in a way that will benefit us, planet & all. I think it all begins with the right thoughts. Thank you Carl (& narrators) for a timeless message.

55 people found this helpful

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Still Largely Up to Date

I can see now what most popular books on astronomy over the last 35+ years have tried to emulate (this book). I found the book largely still up to date - with phrases that current books still use. Then something pops up that makes you realize the actual date of the book (such as when he refers to a NASA mission scheduled for 1982).

50 people found this helpful

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Geordi LaForge Teaches you about the Universe

Great Content and Great Narrator! I grew up watching LeVar Burton on TNG and Reading Raonbow, so saying his narration was nostalgic is a bit of an understatement...but nostalgia aside, he does an amazing job. As for the content he reads, lets just say I am saddened that Carl Sagan died before I ever knew who he was.

While some of the more theoretical content in this book is now considered fact or debunked, Cosmos contains a fountain of knowledge about our universe. Sagan takes a detailed look at the process of the living universe attempting to understand itself, starting with a grand, intergalactic perspective, and slowly zooming in the lense all the way to our society, and our minds.

He does get a little heavy handed when it comes to nuclear war, but he wrote this during the Cold War, so good on him for trying to do something about it. I am a little depressed after finishing to realize our global society has changed so little since he released this book in 1980, but if you ignore the 37 year interval, it will give you a hopeful outlook on our future as a single species in a global society. Cosmos delves into the interconnectivity of our universe in a way most people never think of.

Get this book, and learn why we are an endangered species, why the big bang could have been a supernova explosion, and how each of us is made, of "star stuff".

44 people found this helpful

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A powerful work that needs better narration

Cosmos is an important work on many levels. More care should have been chosen in the choosing coaching , and recruiting of narrators who are comfortable with the communication of cosmological language. LeVar Burton is an excellent actor, but does not (in my opinion) do well here.
It is a worthwhile purchase, but I recommend you watch both video productions of "Cosmos" as a precursor to purchasing this one.

41 people found this helpful

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It is an audiobook right???

Cannot-will not get through such torturous narrative,I do not deserve this type of psychological abuse m. Nope,not doing this.

37 people found this helpful

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Book for all Citizens of the Cosmos

As the title of this review implies, this book should be read by all those who can read and are inhabitants of the known universe. This truly uplifting masterpiece written by Carl Sagan should be taught to all children in school as one of humankind's finest literary works. The lucidity with which Carl delivers his insights about the Cosmos and our relationship to the Universe is eye opening and awe inspiring. If every human were raised to value the wisdom contained in this book, humans would finally set aside religious, political, territorial differences and disputes and achieve lasting peace across all parts of the earth. Resources will be shared, the environment protected, and scientific progress would lead the way toward a better life for all. It is my sincere hope that this book continue to be valued for millennia to come.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Andrei S.
  • 01-23-18

Astronomy and so much more

While some scientific aspects in the book might have changed in the meantime, the book is still as valuable today as it was almost 40 years ago. For people just getting introduced to astronomy it is still close enough to present views of the universe to give a good introduction and understanding. For the literate astronomers this can also be regarded as a sample of history. Just like Carl Sagan was looking at early astronomers' work and appreciating it with the benefit of hindsight, today's amateur astronomers can look at Carl Sagan's book and get a better understanding of the recent scientific history, with its debates and evolution.
But above all that, I'd say the biggest merit of this book is it made me want to go outside and just look at the vast sky above and the stars that fill it. It also gives a wonderful history of astronomy, as mentioned before.
Finally, the last chapter is sadly as relevant today as it was back then. In the last chapter Sagan raises issues about the dangers and absurdity of nuclear proliferation and the ridiculous amount of resources spent on war or the possibility of war. He raises issues about anti-scientific movements in society and how an uneducated society is more likely to throw itself into irrational conflicts. He raises issues about sexism and misogyny, about chauvinism and nationalism. While he was hopeful that these problems are on the way to being solved, it's sad to see that the world has regressed in the recent past, on all these issues, and that they are all just as relevant today.
So this book is not just an astronomy book. It's a book of education and culture, a book of science and history, a starting point for people to educate themselves.

49 people found this helpful

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  • S. Morris
  • 02-18-19

Not Quite What I Expected

I had heard of the old TV series, Cosmos, many years back and had caught snippets of that show here and there. I also knew of Carl Sagan as one of the luminaries of Astronomy and so felt I ought to have a look at what others have rated so highly.

First off, my attention to the quality of this production was drawn to the superb if a little theatrical at times, reading of this epic work by LeVar Burton. Burton is an astonishingly good reader and delivers an effortlessly fluid reading. Those of you familiar with his role as Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The next Generation may notice on one or two occasions his rendition of an English man rather like his version of Watson from Sherlock Holmes in that show. Burton is a pleasure to listen to and I cannot say enough about how well he handles this sometimes difficult material with precise pronunciations that do not seem to phase him at all.

However, what struck me the most about this incredible work was how little of it is actually spent on discussion of the planets, stars and the nature of the universe in general. I had expected Cosmos to be a real deep dive into the workings of our Solar System etc but what amazed me was that Cosmos is much more about history and in particular ancient history. It reads more like a treatise on the history of the pursuit of knowledge rather than dealing with what we currently understand about astronomy. Sagan dives deeply into the various great men of science over the centuries and how their discoveries helped change the way we view the Cosmos. So, if you are wanting in depth analysis on Pulsars, Black Holes, our Solar System etc then this is not a work that focuses greatly on those elements. It does discuss these things but more as a secondary thread compared to the historical narrative.

Still, the sheer scope of this amazing book will mean that the reader will likely learn quite a few things you did not know about the discoveries made in the ancient world. Yes, this is about the Cosmos but much more from an historical review of how the great thinkers of the past shaped our understanding of things today.

A very enlightening read but some may decide to go elsewhere for more focused astronomical books.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Honest Dude
  • 08-03-17

Journey of the cosmos interlaced with history

Would you listen to Cosmos again? Why?

I would probably only listen to a couple of chapters again.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Aspects of this book, I would definitely want to listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This is a great book. Whilst the subject matter is focused on the cosmos and everything to do with it. Carl Sagan does a brilliant job of seamlessly interlacing the subject matter with other branches of sciences not directly related. He introduces other discussions and areas without you as the listener noticing until you realise - hey what's that was interesting.

Carl does a very good job in providing explanations on the subject matter in a way that is generally easily understood, although for some of the more advanced concepts you will need to concentrate and have a presence of mind. Having said that, if this is the first book you listen to regarding the cosmos, it provides a great introduction.

I have listened to other astronomy books including Welcome to the Universe and I found that book to be very technical. I think this was due to the fact that it probably wasn't really suited for audio book format.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Jay
  • 06-22-20

A great book narrated poorly

This is one of the greatest books ever written, by on of the best minds, but we all know that; half of this audiobook the speakers are just talking about how great this book is; and what they are planning to add in the book...it was a real bore to wait till they spoke any actual substance...

14 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-17

Profound and moving

I had very fond memories on the tv series linked to this book, and this Audible version did not disappoint. Its profound and often moving messages are still as relevant and important as when they were first written- possibly even more so. Sagan provided a real understanding of what is known about the universe, and an idea of what is left to be discovered. It delivers some stark messages on the dangers of nuclear war (if only Donald Trump could read!) but is an ultimately hopeful and almost spiritual book.

13 people found this helpful

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  • P. Stewart
  • 03-21-18

Outdated unfortunately

It starts badly with introductory sessions that are patronising and justifying why they think the book is still relevant. I guess this was a warning!
Science and astronomy has moved apace....this material hasn’t. Combine that with melodramatic narration and the disappointment rises too high. Each sentence is treated like an Oscar winning delivery. It gets tiring.
Some great books are timeless. This is best left on the bookshelf of history. All too often you are left wondering how things are now...30 plus years later.
On the plus side....I didn’t pay full price ;)

10 people found this helpful

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  • Bill
  • 12-08-19

Disappointing

Sadly I didn't think the narrator's voice did the book the justice it and I didn't enjoy listening to it.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Ribit
  • 06-07-18

Verbose

I think the writer was getting paid per page. I want to hear this stuff but it is very long-winded, story could be told in half as many words. I don't like the style of the narrator.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Russell
  • 09-05-17

Inspirational Reading

I enjoyed the book as much as the TV series but some of the graphical visualisations were difficult to understand from an audio perspective.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Colin Forster
  • 09-17-17

Why did I wait so long to get this!?

A great listen/read. I was half expecting that 'I knew it already', after studying this kind of stuff at university, but it is more than just a popular science book. The way the story of the cosmos is blended with human nature, evolution and the history of civilisation was brilliant. The narration by LeVar Burton is possibly the second best I've heard in an audiobook so far (just behind Peter Kenny) and the final two chapters are very thought provoking and really make me reconsider a lot of what I thought it was to be a member of this planet.

Thoroughly recommended to anyone, not just those with an interest in science.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-18

incredible book doesn't translate well into audio

Narration by Burton is overly energised with erratic pauses, and unnecessary dramatization which detracts from the scientific content being conveyed.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor
  • 06-03-17

Worth every cent.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Still relevant after all these years. Wonderfully narrated. A must have audio book for everyone.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Annem Chaudhry
  • 06-02-18

A humane perspective on our place in the cosmos

Sagan continues to enthral readers with his dessemination of the micro and macro cosmos with exquisite detailing that never dithers near boredom.
If you ever needed your hope restored in humanity, or wanted to know what ego death feels like- this book achieves this all with the right balance of science, history, philosophy and narration.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Brendan
  • 05-07-18

Brillant

Very easy listening, insightful and mostly still relevant today.

Written by a true genius and read by amazing people.

Loved it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Samuel Nielsen
  • 03-04-18

Objectively great, but it does show its age.

A brilliant, insightful and deeply poetic story. And it is a story, the most grand story you’ll ever hear, seemlessly intertwining history, politics and science.

It is missing a certain oooomph these days as the cutting edge science discussions have since been surpassed by greater, more recent ventures.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-18

horrible

Only listened to 10 minutes. Awful grating voice and repetitive boring rubbish. it may have got more interesting but I couldn't bear any more.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-17

incredible

an incredible insight into carl sagans cosmic perspective. An absolute must listen for anyone interested in astronomy or science in general.

3 people found this helpful

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  • waynepd
  • 08-26-18

This is a real eye opener.

Loved this book. Audible is the way to read it. Narrated well. Thank you Audible

2 people found this helpful

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  • Erin Raethke
  • 12-09-17

LeVar Burton's narration is a gift to Cosmos

Cosmos, an already captivating and thought-provoking composition, as relevant today as when it was composed by the great Carl Sagan, is enhansed even further by LeVar Burton and his wonderful narration. This Audible edition of Cosmos quite literally brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-03-17

literally out of this world

a stellar performance that blew me away with a big bang. download this now. it's one small click for you but a giant leap for your consciousness' (event) horizon.

2 people found this helpful

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