* CluelessAesop: A subplot that didn't make it into the movie was Ellie's rocky relationship with her mother and [[StayInTheKitchen chauvinist]] stepfather, John Staughton - especially as her mother [[ParentWithNewParamour remarried]] just two years after her doting father, Ted Arroway, died. [[spoiler:Turns out that her mother ''cheated'' on him with said future stepfather, resulting in Ellie's conception. Sagan describes this as a massive shock to Ellie's worldview - that she had spurned her "real" father in favor of a "fake" - but when one considers how Ted did all he could to encourage Ellie to enrich herself and John ''refused to pay for Ellie's college because he thought women were too stupid to be scientists'', many adoptees would think that Ellie was completely justified in adoring the man they betrayed and giving the GlorifiedSpermDonor the cold shoulder. That her mother was too ashamed to admit it while she was alive just makes both of them even more despicable]].
** Similarly, Devi - another of the people chosen to go into the Machine - was disowned by her family years ago for marrying someone they didn't approve of. She was a Brahmin, he was a Dalit, it was not acceptable. However he died at a young age. MalignedMixedMarriage still makes her furious in the present day. In the other world, [[spoiler: Devi meets an alien who's taken on the form and voice of her young man, and realizes that their personalities were incompatible and that if he hadn't died they would have ended up divorcing.]] Consequently she declares that she no longer feels grief for his loss, but only keen regret for losing her family for him - her family, who ''disowned her''.
-->My fondest hope for this book is that it will be made obsolete by the pace of real scientific discovery.
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