Hard sci-fi/philosophy/culture: The late scientific genius Carl Sagan (through the mouthpiece of protagonist Ellie) contemplates an event in which real-life SETI-project satellites encounter evidence of extra-terrestrial life. How would scientists react? How would governments act? How would the world as a global community act? What philosophical questions would it raise for our place in the cosmos?
Cosmos by Carl Sagan [favorite quote: The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interior of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.]