Essay on "Contact": a Critical Review of Bias

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In 1997, Carl Sagan’s science fiction novel Contact was finally adapted to film by director Robert Zemeckis. Although originally written as a film in 1980 by Sagan and his wife Ann Druyen, production proved to be troublesome leading Sagan to publish Contact as a novel in 1985. The film portrays humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrials, but unlike most alien encounter stories that concentrate on the direct conflict of humans meeting aliens, Contact focuses on humanity’s cultural struggles when it encounters uncertain extraterrestrial events. Sagan tries to depict these struggles as realistically as he can by incorporating characters that support a variety of differing viewpoints towards faith and the supernatural. Despite his attempt…show more content…
Her discovery resonates excitedly across the globe amidst speculation that the signal is possibly a message from God. Before Ellie can continue her research, the United States government invades her project, suppresses its findings and appoints a government scientist, Drumlin, to head the operation. A third part to the signal is discovered resulting in over 60,000 data sheets but the government’s scientists fail to decode them. Ellie is contacted by Hadden, a billionaire who previously sponsored her SETI research, and he reveals that he too has the data sheets and that he has discovered the data sheets line up when arranged three-dimensionally to form schematics for a gargantuan machine with spinning rings that is expected to send a single human pod to Vega. The project to build this machine becomes an international affair, and despite much religious moral opposition it receives funding and guidance from all corners of the globe. Due to “95%” of the world believing in God or another higher power and Ellie’s lack of religious faith, the candidate selection panel decides Drumlin should be Earth’s ambassador. However, right as the pod is about to be launched a fanatical Christian, Joseph, suicide-bombs the machine, killing Drumlin in the process. Ellie is contacted once more by Hadden who reveals that he has privately built a duplicate machine in Japan and that he wishes for Ellie to go, which she gladly accepts. Ellie’s wormhole voyage is reminiscent

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