I’ve seen the film that this book was based on, but I learned in the afterward by Sagan that the book is based on a film treatment that he did in the hopes of making a movie, which is a funny turn of events, one that I’ve seen a few other times, but this is the best example of it in my mind. I spent the entire time comparing the movie that I know and love to this book that seems like a weaker version of the story that the movie told and I’m sure that the constant comparisons in my mind didn’t help me at all, but now I have a hankering to watch the movie again. There’s a few things that I think are better in the book, but all of those happened in the last chapter or two of the story. The book has FIVE travelers going through the journey, something that I liked, but I feel the change for a single traveler in the movie made more sense in terms of “we’re not even sure we believe you did what you said you did”. The key thing that I think the book did better was the aliens gave Ellie an incredible piece of proof hidden inside the hundred billion billion billion digit of pi. There’s an open optimism at the end of the book, but it does leave the story far too open for my tastes.
I think I’ll put the movie on my shortlist to watch again.