• dustindriver

Where are all the aliens?

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

In this off-the-cuff episode I talk about some solutions to the Fermi Paradox (where is everybody in the galaxy?), the intergalactic object ʻOumuamua, and some science fiction. Enjoy!

Reference: If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens...Where Is Everybody? Second Edition: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life by Stephen Webb: Available at Powell’s City of Books and Amazon.


Hey, welcome to let's get mental. I'm your host Dustin driver. I usually do these podcasts over the course of several weeks. I hold myself to a pretty high standard. I studied journalism, and so whenever I publish something, I want to make sure that A: it's accurate, B: it's well-crafted and see, , it's entertaining. So I typically spend a couple of weeks researching a topic, a couple of evenings writing an outline for the podcast, and then I'll actually write the thing outline by line and in sort of script format. Now, in the end, it does come across as a pretty legit piece of journalism. However, it takes forever to get an episode out, especially now that I have a full-time job and all these hobbies that I keep picking up—more on that later. So I decided that I need to take the podcasts in a different direction.

See, because here's the thing about podcasts. The glorious thing is that they don't really have to meet the same standards as say the OPB, Oregon public broadcasting news channels, or any other major news source, because, well, it's just me with a microphone, right? So I can do these a little bit more off the cuff. And that's what I'm doing with this one. I've decided to tackle a subject that I've become fascinated with lately. The Fermi paradox we've been stuck inside for quite a bit. And I usually spend a ton of time in my own head anyway, but during COVID times, it's, , well, it's even worse. So I sit here in my small office doing work and pondering existence itself. And one of the big questions that always pops up for me and for a lot of other people who are into science fiction and star Trek and star wars and you know, all that cool stuff is, , are we alone in the universe?

And if we're not alone, where the hell is everybody? It seems like for all of human history, we've been looking at the stars and well, unless you, unless you believe some pretty tall tales, it seems that there's really no evidence of any civilizations out there. We're not getting big lights in the sky, spelling out, , hello there in ancient times, we're not getting that. We're not getting any radio signals. , when we gaze out with increasingly better and better telescopes, we're not seeing evidence of giant galactic civilizations. , we don't really see much. And yes, I know that there are lots of reports of UFOs, and there are lots of people who have claimed to have been abducted by UFOs. In fact, when I was about 13, 14 years old, I discovered the UFO abduction section of the school library. Yes, there were actually two or three shelves full of books written by people describing either their own experiences or other people's experiences with being abducted by aliens.

I read all that stuff. I read a lot of it and it was fascinating and spine tingling. And when I was 13 and 14 actually really freaked me out and I couldn't sleep at night because of these stories. I'm going to digress, but here's the thing about alien abduction stories: You watch a monster movie or you read a fairy tale. That's pretty scary and it's fairly easy to rationalize your way out of that. Being real though. There's no such thing as a boogeyman. I mean, come on the boogeyman ghosts. No, that's ridiculous. But for some reason, if you're into science, if you're a nerd, , you really want there to be aliens. You really want there to be an advanced civilization with awesome technology. And you've watched a lot of Star Trek. So you think I could be real.

So when you read these stories of people being abducted, and having eyeball drills and all kinds of crazy stuff could happen to them, it can scare the ever living crap out of you. And it did me as well. So, yeah, I couldn't sleep a lot during that time, but I read a ton of those stories and they were really, , all over the place. So there was some consistency, but really pretty inconsistent both with the manner of craft being seen, supposedly seen and the aliens themselves. Then for a time there's the gray aliens that gained a lot of popularity. I don't believe it, I don't believe it. I wanted to believe it, but I didn't. I think that these extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And a lot of people say, I'm gonna quote Neil and grass Tyson, but you know, show me an alien and then I'll believe it. So if we were to disregard or at least stick all of the UFO abduction scenarios in a box labeled, let's examine this later or need more evidence. There's no evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations out there. And this has bothered people for a really long time.

The famous physicist Enrico Fermi, over lunch one day, supposedly this is the story, was sort of doing some calculations on the back of a napkin and it had to do with the size and age of the universe. And I think the universe is as far as we can tell 13 billion years old, it's a really flipping old, and it's gigantic, the observable universe at least is, is beyond comprehension. And his question was how old the universe is given how big the universe is. There should be life, even if life was super exceedingly, insanely rare, we should still see it. There should be life everywhere. So the Fermi paradox is: Given the size and age of the universe, even if life is rare, we should see it. And where is it? That's the paradox. I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about that. Probably too much time watching YouTube videos about it and not enough time reading books about the Fermi paradox, but, this is what I learned over the last couple of years. And it's pretty neat. So I'm just gonna dive right into it.

People have come up with some answers to the Fermi paradox, and they've called these, I guess you call them the reason for us not being able to detect alien life or not so far, having been able to detect alien life. And they'd been called the great filters. So you can imagine before any sort of civilization makes it to our stage.

Let's just take, random planet X that has these little mice creatures on it. There are several steps that that creature would have to take from single cell organism to multicellular organism, to rat-like thing to a slightly smarter rat, like thing that could manipulate tools to a social structure that could band together and create technology and civilization. And eventually either broadcast a radio signal or get out there in the space themselves, every step of the way. There's things that get in the way of that, of that , progress, if you want to call it. So what we call progress right? At every step of the way, there's something that could get in the way of that and filter it out so that it's basically life is unable to progress to the stage in which we can detect it.

These are great filters. I'm only going to dive into a handful of these great filters today, but if you're interested in taking a super deep dive and learning about all of them, or, at least many, many, many of them, you should check out a book called, take a deep breath here. If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens...Where Is Everybody? Second Edition: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life by Stephen Webb. Originally, he said it was 50 solutions to the Fermi paradox, and then he kept getting more and more solutions to it. , so if you want to learn about more solutions to the Fermi paradox, pick up that book, it is considered to be the most current and best compilation of the most vetted or thought about solutions to the Fermi paradox. So check it out. , so why don't we see anybody out there?

Well, there could be several reasons. One of the first reasons, one of the first answers to the Fermi paradox that people came up with was that simply Earth-like planets are super rare or planets themselves really are super rare before we really had a way to detect exoplanets. We could only see stars when we looked into the night sky, even with the most powerful telescopes. So we didn't know that there were any other planets out there besides the ones in our own solar system. Well, that all changed, , in the nineties and the two thousands. When astronomers figured out how to detect exoplanets or planets orbiting other stars, it's a couple of ways that they did this. One of the first ways to detect an extrasolar planet was by looking at the motion of the star itself. Now, when you look at stars in the night sky, they appear to be emotionless, but if you were to keep a telescope on that star for a period of weeks, months, years, you would notice that some of them, the stars actually move back and forth just a little bit astronomers detected that movement and realized that that movement is caused by planets, orbiting the star and sort of tugging on it as they're orbiting it.

Now, the planets that are able to exert that sort of force on the star are huge. We're talking Jupiter or larger size planets , orbiting pretty close to the stars, even though astronomers detected with good certainty that there are planets out there there's peer to be really giant Jupiter like planets, pretty close to their stars. And that was all the evidence they had for quite a while. They further developed that technique and they were able to detect the gravitational pull of smaller and smaller planets, and eventually recognize the smaller and smaller planets. Then at a point, they were actually able to, to intercept we sort of track planets as they crossed the plane of their star. Now obviously, if you can imagine if we're here on earth and something like mercury moves between the sun and us, we can see it as it transits or crosses the sun.

We can actually see sort of an eclipse, right? Same thing with the moon. That's how we can tell that something passes in front of our son, we're gazing at a distant star that would barely register as a tiny little blip. And in fact, you wouldn't be able to really see it. , it would be so, , the distances are so great that it would be very difficult if not impossible to see, but you can measure the changes in the stars output as the planet transits in front of it, as the light shines through the planet's atmosphere, , it changes and you can determine what is in that atmosphere. So you can get pretty detailed pictures of a planet without actually seeing it. And over the past few decades, our techniques for identifying planets have gotten better and better and better, and we've identified or should say, astronomers have identified thousands of exoplanets. They have identified planets, not only like Jupiter, but they've identified planets that are very similar to earth, both in size and density and also in distance from their star. So it doesn't appear that Earth-like planets are that rare. We have not found Earth-like planets, super exact earth like planets yet. But from what I could tell the astronomy community is fairly certain that we're super close to finding Earth's sister planet. So to speak, one that is almost exactly like earth or one that's very close to earth in a lot of ways if earth-like planets are out there and they're not very rare, then the second answer to the Fermi paradox, whereas everybody would be well, life itself is very rare.

Exceedingly rare scientists have no evidence currently of extraterrestrial life. Not even a better life. There's no form of observable. Self-replicating matter. Life in the universe. That's fine. We're doing things like sending probes to Mars, sending probes to penis, sending probes to Jupiter's moon Europa, maybe even people, one of these days to dig around in the dirt of these various planets in our solar system, looking for evidence of life, developing on other nearby planets. If it's the case that we say, find a fossilized life on Mars, or maybe we dig way deep down and there are actual life forms, maybe perhaps small bacteria underneath the surface of Mars, then it would suggest that life actually isn't as rare as we think, but that doesn't necessarily mean that multicellular life is common. Let me explain. , it could be that there is a lot of life out there, but most of it is bacteria, Single celled organisms, or Archaea, just doing its thing and on earth, actually for quite a few billion years, there was nothing but single cell life at a certain point, it did make the leap to multicellular life. And there was an explosion of complex life here on earth. If that was the great filter and we managed to, as a civilization, make it past single cell life into multicellular life that would be pretty good news because it would mean that we are yes, exceedingly extremely, super lucky, but it also means that we still kind of have a chance to survive as a species and move out into space and, and live long into the future. Of course, it takes more than that to get into space, even if multicellular life is more common. We discover planets that have actual animals on them, which would be fantastic. , doesn't necessarily mean that there's, , intelligent life or at least life that is capable of organizing itself, , and getting out into space or at least creating something that we recognize as technology for hundreds of millions of years on earth, there was multicellular life. There were dinosaurs that were birds of our plants.

Of course, the earth was teeming with life, but the earth wasn't broadcasting any signs of intelligent life. The dinosaurs were doing their dinosaur thing. There were lots of really cool animals tromping around, but there were no civilizations that an extra T terrestrial would recognize as being intelligent life. Of course, there may have been ultra intelligent animals on earth before then, , say, I don't know, maybe a hyper-intelligent dinosaur walking around that was on the verge of creating language or could communicate with other members of its own species in ways that we could not imagine, but there's no evidence of an advanced technological civilization on earth until us that's millions and millions and millions of years of life just sort of chugging away. Perhaps it's the case that intelligent life is really, really rare and that we will discover plenty of planets out there that have plant life and multicellular animals running around that are really cool to look at, but we won't necessarily find any civilizations or intelligent life, or maybe we'll find intelligent life.

That just is not really very interested in creating things like we are. , they're just interested in living a pretty basic life. If that's the case, then I think humanity is still in pretty good shape. Galactically speaking. The next one on the list is a little frightening because if intelligent life does exist and is common in the universe, and yet we don't see it, you can logically draw the conclusion that intelligent life always destroys itself before it can get out into space. And whether that means it's, , you know, , an inevitable, inevitable discovery of a destructive technology like nuclear weapons, which we've already discovered, or maybe social media, or maybe, , AI or some other technology that we're just about to discover that well upon discovering it completely wipes us out. And that could be a great filter that no civilizations get past, yet lots of civilizations pop up around the galaxy.

They reach a certain stage. They discover the A-bomb and that temptation is just too great and they destroy themselves. If that's the case then it's really sad and we are also screwed because it means the chances of us as a loan civilization and all of the galaxy and all the universe being able to resist the temptation of self-destruction is exceedingly rare, which so we're, we're pretty much done now that doesn't appear to be the case though. So we'll move on. There are other answers, tons, more answers to the Fermi paradox.

One of the most interesting answers is that there is no paradox actually there, the galaxy is teaming with life in a teaming with advanced super advanced civilizations. And that we actually, , as, as, as a burgeoning civilization are in a sort of a galactic zoo, which I find this, I find this to be a really intriguing and kind of terrifying and also reassuring theory in that it would mean that there are advanced civilizations out there, kind of have a handle on survival and, and, , exploring space and living long-term that billions of years. And that, , if we can just hold, hold it together, hopefully they'll open the cage door to the zoo.

One of these days, and we will be rescued. Of course, you know, an alien Messiah or messiahs is a very convenient and very human thing to think. It's something that is a recurring theme in many of our religions. So the chances of that being true, I think are probably really slim, although it would be very interesting if that were the case.

The next answer to the Fermi paradox is that there is life out there and there's actually lots of intelligent life out there in the galaxy and the universe, but we just can't recognize it. It is really interesting that some scientists believe that a life, the way we classify it, carbon based multicellular animals and plants, , maybe is exceedingly rare, but life and other forms, like say we could classify complex organization of energy as life, and perhaps even as intelligent life, but so, so far beyond us, or so far so different from us that we're unable to communicate with it, or even recognize that it is life at all.

That could be the case that actually carbon-based multicellular life complex life, that we are, is rare. And most of the life in the universe is actually energy paced or is some sort of self replicating patterns of energies or waves or particles that we just don't even register to us. And that perhaps at some point in our technological evolution, we won't discover that and we'll open up a great universe to life. That's exceedingly interesting. And it's also very on the cutting edge of scientific thought superstar track, man. I mean, could you imagine if at some point when we're messing around with one of the large Hadron colliders, something goes, pop sort of some sort of dimension opens up or some sort of mathematical formula gets solved that opens up and the extra perception in a scientist's mind or in the way we viewed the universe.

And suddenly we realized that, you know, sunlight itself, or the beta particles from exploding supernovae are actually sort of intelligently arranged and had been trying to talk to us ever since. And they're just as perplexed by us as we are by them. It seems really far-fetched to be honest, but it would be neat and it's grounds for a really great, cool sci-fi story or at least a Star Trek episode. So keep that in mind. Another possibility is that there is tons of alien life out there in that, and it's just not interested in us. It's out there on its planet and it's not broadcasting. It's far beyond any technology that we have today and they've decided that they really don't want to talk to anybody.

They're not broadcasting radio waves or giant lasers, or announcing themselves or sending probes out. They are content to stay in their home world and just hang out, live life, enjoy the universe. Perhaps they've created a virtual environment for themselves to dive into the environment, which they are, anything is possible in which their gods, so to speak. And they once invented this technology and decided there's no reason to go out and explore space. We can just stay here and have anything we can imagine at our fingertips. It's pretty enticing to think what a technology like that might be like. And also to think how we might respond, if that were the case. If here on earth, we were to develop a virtual reality or simulation. That's so real, so powerful, and yet completely within our control. Would we, as a species, have the strength to resist something like that.

If I could come down, if I could walk into the room where you're sitting right now or pop into your car and hand you a little microchip that integrates with your brain and you suddenly are in a virtual world, that's as real as the world you're in now, but that you can manipulate in any way, way imaginable. Would you take me up on that offer? Yes. If you did take me up on that offer, would you ever want to leave, and be thrown back into the world of chaos that's beyond your control? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe once civilization achieves that technology, they just say, screw it. We're staying here. This is amazing.

This is number 10 on my list of answers to the Fermi paradox. And it's probably the one that I'm most excited about because it is the one that is most likely something that may happen in my lifetime, if I'm really lucky it's that there are intelligent civilizations out there and we're just on the cusp of discovering them. So this is interesting because for thousands of years, humans have not had very good technology for detecting any extraterrestrial civilizations. You know, the telescope itself is not even that old, we've only really been listening to radio frequencies for what, 50, 60 years, maybe a hundred years. We've been toying around with the radio and not really making a concerted effort to listen for other radio broadcasts from extraterrestrials.

So we're really just on the cusp of paying it attention to what might be out there. So we could be on the verge of discovery with the launch of, say something like the Webb telescope that is a space telescope that is hopefully going to be launched soon, and could find evidence of extraterrestrial civilization. That'd be really cool. The James Webb space telescope is going to make Hubble look like a telescope that you would find in a museum. Well, maybe, maybe it's not that big of a leap, but it's a pretty big leap. It'll be able to give us astronomers way more information about what's out there in the universe than we have now. And it could be that we just need a better telescope, a better pair of glasses to actually see what's going on out there. That's super exciting because of things like the James Webb telescope and other probes that will hopefully be launched soon.

And it'd be really cool one day when I'm elderly, if I wake up to the news that they've discovered the latest pop song from Alpha Centauri, or maybe not Alpha Centauri, but from some other far-off, far-flung civilization. And that it's a pretty cool, groovy pop song, not only does it top the charts here on earth, but it contains most of the knowledge of the universe and also gives us some good advice on how not to kill each other. That would be amazing. That's kind of what I dream of. I don't know what genre it would be. I guess that's the question really? What genre would the space song, the ultimate space song be? I would hope it would not be blues. That would be very sad, not very popular. I'm hoping that it would be better than Taylor Swift, but I'm hoping it would be really good.

There's another possibility. Another yet one more. And, , the answer to the Fermi paradox I want to talk about, and that is that the evidence has already come and gone. This is actually one that I'm just adding right now. , back in 2017, astronomers noticed a really funny object zooming into our field of view, , from our perspective, traveling into the solar system, actually it was leaving. You had already passed earth and was on its way out of the solar system. They observed this object that appeared to be an asteroid or some sort of an object from outside of our solar system, which we had never seen before. , you might think that space is space and there's just all kinds of crap floating around out there. But it turns out that most of the things in space are right or close to solar systems because that's where a lot of gravity is.

Suns are pretty massive and they sort of hoover things up and that's where everything sort of starts, so when we observe objects, usually they come from our own or they do come from our own solar system. We'll see an asteroid. It's an asteroid that has been on the outskirts, swimming around and we'll observe it, you know, go back out into the outskirts, but pretty much stay in our solar system. This object was coming from outside of the solar system, which is pretty bizarre if you're an astronomer, because there's not, you don't expect much if anything, to be out there. At least not anything that we can physically see right in a telescope.

This object had come from outside of the solar system and is on its way out. It was named ʻOumuamua, keeping a Hawaiian name because it was observed by a Hawaiian telescope. And it had some really weird properties. Now, a lot of people, a lot of astronomers say that this object, a muah, muah was just an asteroid, or it was just a rock or it was just something from outside of the solar system that we can't can't explain. But some people think that Obama was much more than that. So one of the things about this object is that it was alternatingly extremely bright and then extremely dim, which would suggest that it was sort of tumbling or spinning, but it would also suggest that it was relatively flat. If you could imagine a penny in space tumbling, it would, as you're looking at it, appear to flash very bright.

And then as the edge comes toward you, it would go again. And then very bright and very dim. This is what people, this is what astronomers observed. You can actually, I can't, but they can do the math to determine based on the reflectivity of the object and kind of that flashing that they're seeing how thick it would be and its overall sort of dimensions. And they came to the conclusion that it was very, very thin. I believe some scientists are saying within the centimeter millimeter range than this, which is ridiculous and, and very big and very spread out, about the size of a football field. I believe the soccer field is big and that would suggest that, hey, it's really weird. We don't see anything like that. Naturally in our solar system, most rocks are like hunks of dirt or hunks of comets are hunks of dirt and frozen water ice that kind of this tale streams out for them, a moon who did not have a tail, it did not look like anything else astronomers had ever seen. But one of the things that it does look like if you're a sci fi nerd, is it looks like a solar sail. A solar sail is a type of spacecraft or probe that is actually that surfs or sails on light waves.

Now this has been in science fiction for quite some time and it's been proposed as probably the most efficient way to get something from here to there in outer space. So if you can imagine a giant reflective umbrella in the order of a football field or more, near absurdly thin, extremely lightweight, extremely tough, but sort of mirrored on one side, maybe on both sides, probably just on one side and you put it in orbit and you have it towing like as open, like a giant umbrella open up and it's towing on a line, probably a small little probe of some sort very, very tiny. Then if you blast that giant umbrella with a high powered laser, with the photons in the light, the light itself will actually exert a force or a pressure on that sail and push it. Light is really, really fast. Of course, it's the fastest thing that we know of. And if you do this in outer space where there's no friction, there's no resistance, you can get an object theoretically up to a fraction of the speed of light, which is for an object that isn't light really, really fast. And you can do it with a lot less energy than you would spend, say, if you had a giant nuclear rocket or some sort of crazy fusion thing or whatever, and matter, antimatter drive, it all takes tons of energy, but solar sails are pretty low power in comparison to these other technologies. If you're a science fiction lover and you see his thing, it looks a lot like a solar sail. By the time astronomers detected it, it was already out, it was gone, it was flying away. We could barely see it. It was traveling away from us relative to us at an incredible speed.

So it could be that we did discover evidence of intelligent life or at least a piece of space technology from another civilization and we didn't see it in time. Now, there could be more of these. And in fact, I think there's another one on its way into the solar system that is being tracked right now. I think it's named Phil or something that has, I forgot the name of it. Look it up coming into this whole system right now. And as we get better and better telescopes, we'll get a better look at this thing and maybe we'll actually get a picture of one that would be fantastic. And either it's a weird rock, which would be cool, or it is a solar sail, which would be mind-melting. So hopefully, another thing about ʻOumuamua, I keep saying that in reference to us, it appears to move through our solar system.

Well, when astronomers did the math, they realized that ʻOumuamua was not moving, that it was stationary in the galactic plane and our solar system actually moved past it.

Now that's pretty crazy because that means that it's an object that's stationary in the middle of nowhere in space. And that's extremely, , the universe, as far as we know, exploded out of the big bang. There's lots of motion to every particle and out there in the universe, everything is moving and it's accelerating. In fact, not only is it moving away from, , sort of from the big bang, but it's doing so faster and faster and faster as time goes on. It's the acceleration that's the acceleration of the universe. It's disconcerting, but things are moving. So the fact that there's this thing just sort of hanging out there is also weird and we zoomed right past, it could also suggest, , some people will suggest that this means that it's sort of a buoy or a, or a navigational post out in space, a reference point for, , people trying to navigate. Now, that's kind of, that's weird. , I don't think so. Like what, , I can't, I can't imagine how that would work or why you would do that, but that's a suggestion. Another suggestion of course, is that maybe this is mine. If it were a solar sail with a probe that perhaps something happened to it, it encountered something as it was on its way, somewhere got thrown off course and just sort of ended up tumbling in space, in and in place at a certain point. It's possible, who knows, I’m not an alien.

Okay. So, ʻOumuamua could have been a space probe that would have been really neat and we've been super cool astronomers out there. Few hope that we will discover something like this approach, either out there, outside of our solar system, or maybe already here somewhere that crash landed, you know, on one of Jupiter’s moons or on our own moon. There could be bits of alien technology just kind of out there, sort of imagine that we're launching probes and we've launched the Voyager probes, maybe in the future, we're going to launch another probe and it zooms out into space and just sort of crashes into something. There are astronomers and scientists out there who think that we should make an effort to sort of look for that stuff , that there might be space junk from other civilizations that we could find.

Not only would it be just amazing from a archeological perspective, but it would be pretty big scientific deal. And it wouldn't necessarily be that threatening or frightening if we discovered space junk from an ancient civilization that's a couple of million years old. They're not here. There's not, , hopefully there wouldn't be any, you know, hopefully it wouldn't open up and little green men wouldn't come out to, , take over the planet. , it would be neat though. It'd be really neat. Now, like I said, there are many, many, many, many more yeah. The answers to the Fermi paradox and it's, it's a really fun science, science fiction thought hole to plummet into. , you can spend hours thinking about this and reading about it, pondering it. I love it. I highly recommend that you either Google the Fermi paradox and go dive down hours and hours of YouTube videos on it as always, you know, , just make sure that you really think about the source of the information and not really believe everything you see on YouTube, but it's fun. And I would really recommend checking out the book, If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens...Where Is Everybody? Second Edition: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life by Stephen Webb it's available on Amazon. It's also available on a website called Springer, hopefully, maybe also available at your local bookstore.

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, it is also at our old standby Powell’s City of Books bookstore. You can order it online through them and they'll ship it to you. Now actually ship it to you in Portland, obviously, but anywhere in the United States. So even if you're outside, if you're in the bay area and you want to support a really cool piece of history and a really cool giant bookstore here in Portland Powell’s City of Books,go ahead and order from that. You know Amazon's doing all right. So give Powell’s some love. That would be fantastic.

Also wanted to say another thing, Powell’s, when you search for this book, one of the next books that comes up is Douglas Adams’, Life, the Universe and Everything, which is part of his famous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. That is really the book that got me super into reading science fiction, just because it is so absurd and hilarious.

Check that one out as well. And I would like to do a podcast in the future about that book and its influence on me and whether or not it's actually tolerable by full grown adults because I've had several friends of mine who picked up the book later in life and were really off put by how goofy it is. I picked it up when I was, I think, about 14 years old and it was perfect. It shaped my neural network in ways that are still apparent today. And I loved it. It was fantastic. Would I feel the same way about it? If I was older and jaded and only had read Jane Austen books or something like that, I don't know. I want to explore that. Maybe get somebody on here who tried to read it and absolutely hates it and figure out what the deal is. Where's your sense of joy? Where did that go? Did you take too many English classes and not read enough trashy sci fi novels? Maybe that's it. I don't know. Interesting.

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