Is SETI a genuine scientific research programme? The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has been given fresh impetus in recent years following developments in space science which go beyond speculation. The evidence that many stars are accompanied by planets, the detection of organic material in the circumstellar disks of which planets are created, and claims regarding microfossils on Martian meteorites have all led to many new empirical searches. Against the background of these dramatic new developments in science, David Lamb evaluates claims to the contrary, and examines recent attempts to establish contact with other intelligent life forms. He also assesses competing theories on the origin of life on Earth, discoveries of former solar planets, proposals for space colonies and the consequent technical and ethical issues. Most importantly he considers the benefits and drawbacks of communication with new life forms: How we should communicate and whether we actually can.