By Wook Kim
Updated November 30, 2007 05:00 AM
The Living Cosmos

The field of astrobiology — the study of life in places other than Earth — requires a special kind of mind. It’s a line of scientific inquiry that rewards imaginative thinking, requires knowledge in many disciplines, and is fraught with profound spiritual and moral implications. That much becomes clear when reading this lively, elegant overview of a new science that is, literally, centuries in the making. Chris Impey’s The Living Cosmos is not an easy read — topics range from a musing on the evolutionary success of the octopus to a consideration of Camus’ The Stranger — but one that will likely change the way you look at the night sky. B+