Review: Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, by Avi Loeb

Avi Loeb is the head of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University and is one of the world leaders in his field. He believes that ‘Oumuamua, an object detected in 2017 as it flew through our solar system, was advanced technology produced by an alien civilisation. Most scientists rejected the idea, but in this book Loeb makes a convincing case that we shouldn’t be took quick to dismiss this explanation.

The problem is that he makes that case very early in the book, and spends the rest of the time talking about his life growing up on a moshav in Israel, his parents, the second world war, where he goes on holiday with his family, his love of seashells, etc, etc. Surely he had enough material to fill up an entire book on ‘Oumuamua, but maybe his editors told him not to lay on the science too much. For whatever reason, this reads like a magazine article with some autobiography and unrelated musings about life tagged on.

On the other hand, it’s an amazing story and he may well be right.