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Carl Sagan’s COSMOS is Now an Audiobook Read by LeVar Burton, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Seth MacFarlane

“The cosmos is also within us, we are made of star-stuff…we are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

Possibly no one line from legendary science communicator Carl Sagan is more quoted or mind-blowing. And now there is a way for you to better know COSMOS, released today for the first time as an audiobook, read by an all-star cast of those who took up the torch.

Today, Audible is releasing the audiobook version of COSMOS: A Personal Voyage, with a foreword read by your personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, an introduction read by Family Guy-creator Seth MacFarlane, and the body of the book read by Reading Rainbow‘s own LeVar Burton. “This is the first time COSMOS has been available on an audiobook since its publication,” COSMOS co-writer and Carl Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan told Nerdist. “Audible has lined up a stellar array of voices…I’m so proud.”

Along with COSMOS: A Personal Voyage, Audible is re-releasing Sagan’s fundamental works of science outreach, Pale Blue Dot and The Demon Haunted World. The Princess Bride star Cary Elwes is reading the majority of the latter’s chapters (with select chapters narrated by MacFarlane), and the former is read by Druyan and Sagan himself. “Carl began to voice Pale Blue Dot shortly before he became ill, and when I was producing COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey, I wanted that beautiful voice, not the one you keep hearing on YouTube, which is like 15 generations after the original recording,” Druyan said. “I was able to reacquire it, and I remember hearing it in the screening room for the first time and realizing the awesome power of hearing Carl’s words in his voice.”

The most recent COSMOS featured the master audio of Carl Sagan’s famous speech. Pretty decent for YouTube.

The original COSMOS was a seminal work of science communication, in a medium at a time where it could affect millions of budding scientists (including Dr. Tyson himself). Sagan’s writing may be slightly lesser known, but they are nonetheless fundamental works of popular science and scientific skepticism. These tomes of critical thinking come to a world very unlike what COSMOS encountered.

“I’ve imagined countless times trying to explain to Carl the rabbit hole that we find ourselves down and the proliferation of falsehood and nonsense, the loss of that feeling that it matters what is true, which is at the heart of science,” Druyan says. “Here we are in a moment in our national history which is so horrifying, where it doesn’t seem to matter what’s true at all.”

“I wish we had a whole chorus of Carl Sagans who are willing to stand up to power and to challenge the madness that we are in the grip of right now.”

Perhaps then the re-release of these works in forms old and new, read by incredibly visible supporters of science, couldn’t have come at a better time.

“To have Seth MacFarlane or Neil or LeVar Burton whispering in your brain the words of Carl Sagan and in some cases the words we wrote together, that is really cool.”

COSMOS: A Personal Voyage, Pale Blue Dot, and The Demon Haunted World are available now through Audible.

Image: Cosmos. New York: Random House, 1980. General Collections, Library of Congress

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