Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An Alien Who's Who

The following review by me of An Alien Who’s Who (edited by Martin S. Kottmeyer, and published by Anomalist Books) has just been published in issue 2 of Stuart Miller’s Alien Worlds magazine, and is reproduced with Stuart’s permission:

Depending on your own personal perspective regarding what lies at the heart of the UFO puzzle, An Alien Who’s Who reveals a great deal about (a) the dizzying variety of extraterrestrials that have visited the Earth for a good many years; (b) the tall-tales of a whole range of fantasists and con-merchants; or (c) the way in which the UFO phenomenon, and those within it, are constantly being manipulated and exploited by a true trickster of a type that would make both John Keel and Jacques Vallee very proud.

Or, maybe it’s all three theories, or perhaps none of them. Whatever the case, I know only this much for certain: Martin Kottmeyer’s book is damned good fun and highly informative – and in equal measures, too.

Basically, it’s a 263-page, A to Z-style page-turner that lists a truly startling number of names attributed to aliens that are said to have visited the Earth. Of course, reading about the trials, tribulations and exploits of hundreds of alleged aliens that range from Acorc (the denizen of an over-crowded planet 52 million kilometers from Earth) to Zyloo (who supposedly ‘followed Apollo 13’ and became involved in the ‘Sixth Patrol Division’, whatever the hell that is or was) could very quickly become tedious.

In the hands of Kottmeyer, however, tediousness is the last thing that springs to mind. Certainly, most of the entries are relatively brief; however, they are also tinged with a welcome bit of deadpan humour. For example, Herronoah – who hails from the planet Epicot - tells a startled earthling named ‘Edwin W’ that human beings wear too many clothes, and goes on to inform Edwin how, on one occasion, ‘their ship spooked a naked woman and man in a clump of bushes’. Ahem.

Then we get treated to the spectacle of Aura Rhanes, the hot space-babe from a far-off world called Clarion who, according to Truman Bethurum, the man she appeared before, wore ‘slacks’ that ‘appeared almost as if painted on her, so snugly did they fit’. Lucky Truman, that’s all I can say. And what are we to make of Motag, who ‘once converted a flying saucer into a truck’? Or Nokyle, who intriguingly threatens to reveal details of a certain incident involving what are tantalisingly described only as ‘crazy girls’?

As you have probably already guessed, many of the entries contained within the packed pages of An Alien Who’s Who hail from that much-ridiculed era of the so-called Contactee: those seemingly elite souls who claimed face-to-face encounters with long-haired aliens back in the 1950s and whose names were invariably made up of a lot of Q’s, Z’s and X’s.

It should be stressed that the ridiculous and often hysterical nature of some of the stories does not undermine Kottmeyer’s credibility as an author. Indeed, he points out in his Introduction that he does not believe in ‘physically real aliens’, from Venus, Mars, Pluto, and so on.

Rather, for the most part, Kottmeyer has done something that few authors seldom do: he leaves his own views and beliefs at the door, and instead provides the reader with entertaining – and otherwise very hard to find – summaries on alleged other-worldly entities that have supposedly been manifesting before select members of the Human Race for decades.

Kottmeyer relates their bizarre, unverifiable and at times completely false tales, prophecies and warnings. And, in a roundabout way, he amply demonstrates that for all the attempts to legitimise Ufology as a serious science, it is still a subject that is packed with odd and unusual characters with weird names and even weirder motivations – and if you think I’m just talking about the aliens here, well, you’re very wrong, my friends.

With an entertaining and insightful Foreword from ufologist and Project Beta author Greg Bishop, An Alien Who’s Who is vital reading for anyone and everyone that wants to learn more about some of the strange, other-worldly beings said to have visited our planet and whose exploits, without Kottmeyer, would otherwise be lost to the fog of time.

And, with all that now said, I’m off to meet Solar-Commander Xzzobovaxxx for a spot of dinner, followed by a flight around Venus with the bikini-clad Amazonians of Delta-Zorvog 12. Wish me luck!

For more details, see http://www.anomalistbooks.com/

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