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May 1, 2023

The Possibility of Life by Jaime Green ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Is there life beyond Earth or are we alone in the universe? Would we recognize that life if it did exist? Those questions and more are raised in Jaime Green's new book The Possibility of Life: Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of of nonfiction science book The Possiblity of Life by Jaime Green
April 2023; Hanover Square Press; 978-1335463548
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); nonfiction

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I know little about astronomy or the "astro" sciences - I can barely identify Orion in the sky. But this isn't a purely astronomy book. It isn't even a science-only book. Green guides us through evolution, biochemistry, technology, physics, etc with forays into fiction - both literary and pop culture television and movies - all in an attempt to understand life here on Earth so that we may one day discover if there is life "out there".

The structure of the book - jumping between science and science fiction - makes the book accessible and enjoyable. I'm a big Star Trek fan so including a New Generation episode in the opening chapter quickly engaged me. Green also deftly tackles the more complex issues of life and the science of studying it. Some of the science I've studied myself, but it felt just out of my grasp - Green made it understandable. And it led me to have independent thoughts on the subjects she touches on - it gave rise to my own questions and reasonings. 

I think my reading list is much longer now. I don't read a lot of science fiction, but there were several mentioned that I think would be excellent suggestions for my post-apocalyptic book club. In particular, Flood by Stephen Baxter would be right up our alley. I went looking for it since Green described it as a novella but when I found it on Amazon it is listed as being over 500 pages. I might still suggest though.

Before reading this book, I didn't think a lot about whether or not there was life beyond our own planet. It's still not a top thought for me, but I liked how the search for other life has led people to look closer at our own world. We are still discovering new life on Earth - species we had not known about or are now better able to distinguish between similar yet separate species.

The Possibility of Life is not boring or dry. It's an enjoyable book that gave me a lot to think about and a better understanding of life. If you like science, science fiction, or just curious about whether we are alone in the universe, then you should pick up this book.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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