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Forget the Klingons

James Hamilton-Paterson: Is there anybody out there?

6 March 2003
Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life 
by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart.
Ebury, 369 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 187927 2
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XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It 
by Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin.
Weidenfeld, 191 pp., £12.99, August 2002, 1 84188 193 7
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... But then, XTL is a very different book. For a start, most of it is exclusively about astronomy. It belongs, in fact, in the category of Jack&Ian’s despised astrobiology. Unlike Jack&Ian, SimonGoodwin and John Gribbin are very keen on habitable zones, drawing two concentric spheres of habitability out from the Sun to mark the limits between which it might be worth looking for life. After reading ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides

24 October 2019
Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... authority on the page, but she wanted to distance herself from his ‘moral seriousness’: his was the rustle of the Holy Ghost, hers an oracular hooga-booga. The objections that Howe, Rahv, John Simon, the art critic Hilton Kramer and other keepers of the scrolls lodged against her were as much about the 1960s as they were about her, for no one in the Family (as Norman Podhoretz, a former Partisan ...
21 August 1997
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... for Progress, Kennedy’s answer to the Cuban revolution. All the new biographies give good accounts of Guevara’s impact on the conference, and his inconclusive private discussions with Richard Goodwin, one of Kennedy’s advisers. But this is well-trodden ground, and there is little new material. Many Latin American governments were still run by civilians, and under popular pressure to extend the ...

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