It gives a realistic view of how impossible a task SETI has set for itself (but I found it occasionally over-dramatic, predictable & sometimes boring).
Listeners of title are scientists on "The Project", funded by US government, to listen to signals from the stars - hoping there are intelligent aliens out there broadcasting. It brings out starkly how remote are the odds of catching alien signals even if there are a lot of aliens out there. And how much patience & perseverance is required for the task.
Fact sheet.First published: 1972.
Related: Stories of James E Gunn, first contact fiction.