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New "Cosmos" paperback is a faster read than the 1980 "Cosmos"

Although the television reboot of "Cosmos" on Sunday nights may be less popular than the 1980 "Cosmos" on public television, a new paperback edition of the equally popular 1980 book "Cosmos" might attract readers by being easier to hold and read quickly than the 1980 book written by Carl Sagan.

"Cosmos," the trade paperback published in December by Ballantine Books, has just 24 of the more than 250 full-color illustrations from the original "Cosmos" written by Sagan to accompany the series "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" being rebooted by Fox in its series with astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Some of the illustrations that do reappear, together at the center of the new book, have more concise captions. Reading of the original, larger hardcover "Cosmos" was perhaps slowed by the illustrations appearing on many pages along with the text.

Reading this paperback, with its generous spacing between lines, is also enhanced compared to the 1985 mass-market paperback.

Getting through concepts of "Cosmos," or at least understanding them better, seems easier with this new trade paperback. If you can make it to Chapter 10, "The Edge of Forever," and its great writing about galaxies, quasars, pulsars, and cosmology, you might tackle the remaining three chapters, all in one fascinating read. If one result is additional readers, who might have stopped reading the larger book, that is good for science and the future of space exploration.

This new paperback also has a new foreword by Tyson, "Reflections on Carl Sagan's Cosmos," and a new foreword/introduction by Ann Druyan, who was married to Sagan until his death and was his "co-writer on Cosmos."