This week we came across a post entitled "Aspects of Alien Art"on the Xenolinguistics blog.
Xenolinguistics, in case you're wondering, is the study of alien language (the word also triggers a spell check flag). This is an interesting topic on its own, but anyway, the post mentioned Jonathan Shear's Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem, an MIT Press book. It got us thinking about whether discussions of extraterrestrial life have often come up in our books.
Well, we weren't disappointed. In 1975, MIT published Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, edited by the great Carl Sagan. The book is sadly out of print now (although a perfect POD opportunity...), but happily, The Cosmic Water Hole, written by Emmanuel Davoust in 1991, does in fact discuss life beyond earth and is indeed available in POD format. Likewise, the aptly named Life in the Universe, a 1982 classic from John Billingham, discusses exobiology (now known as Astrobiology - the study of life in the universe).
A related book, Gavagai!, or the Future History of the Animal Language Controversy , brings us back to Xenolinguistics and asks, "If we meet an extraterrestrial who keeps shouting "gavagai!", how are we to decode its meaning?"