In Ann Druyan’s ‘Cosmos: Possible Worlds,’ We All Help Shape Our Future [REVIEW]

Unleash your curiosity as you ponder the universe in Cosmos: Possible Worlds. (Photo courtesy Canva)

Back in high school, I really wasn’t that intrigued by science. It was all so complicated, and I just didn’t see how it really had much to do with me, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. But in college, I found myself in a class at the Cincinnati Zoo that introduced students to the wonderful, diverse, interconnected world of science through an interactive class where we studied animal and plant life, and suddenly I was riveted. Watching everything from gorillas and macaques to insects like bullet ants and cicadas, I discovered that every species of life makes a contribution to the planet, and why we need to understand and respect each one. And although not everyone can take a zoo class, they can read Ann Druyan’s new book, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and find out for themselves just how approachable science really is, on our planet and beyond.

Ann Druyan's COSMOS: POSSIBLE WORLDS
National Geographic

Unlike myself, Carl Sagan had a love affair with science from an early age. It was a passion he pursued throughout his entire life, from the time he was a young boy until his death in 1996. As he wrote in The Demon-Haunted World, he “was gripped by the splendor of the Universe, transfixed by the prospect of understanding how things really work, of helping to uncover deep mysteries, of exploring new worlds.” And he had the opportunity to do just that, and share his findings with the rest of us, throughout his career, including with the award-winning television series Cosmos, which he produced with his wife, Ann Druyan.

Now Carl is gone, but Ann continues his mission, making scientific ideas comprehensible and inspiring. Although she isn’t a scientist herself, she is a gatherer of stories, and she shares them with us now in Cosmos: Possible Worlds. She invites us aboard the Ship of the Imagination, and shores herself up with brilliant collaborators who help her stay the course, to never detract from her late husband’s original intent.

But why write a sequel 40 years after the original? As Ann relates so eloquently in the prologue, “We all feel the chill our present casts on our future. Some part of us knows that we must awaken to action or doom our children to dangers and hardships we ourselves have never had to face.” And so how do you educate the masses and get them to appreciate things we all need like air, water, life, and the future, more than money and our immediate convenience? She writes, “Nothing less than a global spiritual awakening can transform us into who we must become.”

This book does this in spades. Published by National Geographic, it is filled with brilliant artwork and breathtaking photography. But it is Ann’s transcendent text which steals the spotlight, and it truly stands out on its own, even without the vibrant illustrations. She spins a captivating tale the way a spider weaves her web, strand by glistening strand, until we see how the smallest particles of the past pave the way toward our destiny in the future. She shows us how scientific endeavors and advancements have only enhanced our understanding of the world around us and in space beyond, and yet we are simultaneously reminded of just how small we are when we learn to look at life from a new vantage point.

We learn about the discoveries of scientists of yesteryear, and the powerful impact their life work still has on us today. She has a true knack for storytelling, opening our minds and hearts to the possibilities of the future, reminding us of the dangers of misusing science even as she reminds us how redemptive it can be if handled correctly. The decisions we make now will affect the world we live in tomorrow, as well as the one we ultimately leave to our children and grandchildren. But there is reason for optimism, and she’s delighted to show us why.

Whether you are a science nut or just mildly curious about how things work, this book will resonate with you and your family. In a time of darkness, it radiates light and possibility. We are not beyond the point of no return, but we must arm ourselves with knowledge and comprehension, and Cosmos: Possible Worlds helps us do that by revealing a complex world in the simplest of terms. It really is a masterwork that will undoubtedly stand the test of time, just like the original Cosmos has. This is a book that will make you stop and ponder and meditate, page after page, and there is beauty in that. But there is also grace to be found here, as Ann honors the legacy of her husband, continuing his work, showing us that science isn’t just for academics, but for each of us. Now we just have to learn how to use it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann Druyan was the creative director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project and program director of the first solar sail deep space mission, launched on a Russian ICBM in 2005.

With her late husband, Carl Sagan, she co-wrote the original 1980s Emmy Award- and Peabody Award-winning TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and six New York Times bestsellers.

She was the lead executive producer, a director, and co-writer of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, for which she won Peabody, Producers Guild, and Emmy Awards in 2014.

Druyan is an executive producer, writer, director, and creator of Cosmos: Possible Worlds, first broadcast in 2020.

COSMOS: POSSIBLE WORLDS
By Ann Druyan
384 pp. National Geographic. $30.

TLC Book Tours Tour Host

Purchase Cosmos: Possible Worlds direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target or Walmart.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

Want an idea of what you can find inside Cosmos: Possible Worlds? Watch this trailer for the television series to find out.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to In Ann Druyan’s ‘Cosmos: Possible Worlds,’ We All Help Shape Our Future [REVIEW]

  1. Sara Strand says:

    I have a few people on my Christmas list that would completely geek out over this! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Ann Druyan, author of Cosmos: Possible Worlds, on tour October/November 2020 | TLC Book Tours

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