"The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space"

-- Carl Sagan

Was that in the novel "Contact", or did the movie rip the quote from real life Sagan and tag it on the main character's father?


I think it stems from the novel indeed, but must admit that I'm not entirely certain. I've seen the quote being attributed to Carl Sagan in a bunch of places, though.

@fribbledom @clacke IIRC , I read the novel many years ago, it's in the book but he also used it IRL

Ok, that makes sense.

If he gave it to the character first, maybe he liked it so much that he started using it personally. Or if the other way around, maybe the father was a bit of an author self-insert. I'm sure he wanted to be the inspiration to many people as Ellie's father was an inspiration to her.
@ghostdancer @fribbledom

It seems he quoted Thomas Carlyle back in 1972 (And 1975? Or is that when the recording was released? I'm confused.): "A sad spectacle. If they be inhabited, what a scope for misery and folly. If they be not inhabited, what a waste of space."

hooktube.com/watch?v=cQeOp7a8Q… (It's the first thing Sagan says after the introductions of the participants)

I can't find a reference outside Contact (novel published in 1985, first work on the intended movie script was in 1979 and became the novel) where he phrased it as in Contact.


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