Aliens: Why They Are Here
by Brian Appleyard
Review by Ernest Lilley
Scribner Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0743256859
Date: 07 March, 2005 List Price £15.9 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
You'd think we?d know the answer to the question posed in the title by now. It's been what, half a century since the Roswell Incident? More. As the author points out in his opening; "Since 1947, aliens have poured from that abyss that lies between ourselves and the world."
It turns out that we do know the answer, or answers, but the tricky part is teasing them out of the facts, the culture, and the weirdest aliens of all...ourselves.
No doubt you remember this bit from the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet in which a unbelievable monster terrorizes explorers on a distant planet.
Doc Ostrow: But the Krell forgot one thing.
Commander Adams: Yes, what?
Doc Ostrow: Monsters, John. Monsters from the Id.
The book divides itself up into two parts, self-conscious of the peril in dealing with this subject at all. First there's and examination of the evidence for alien existence. Or more correctly, it looks at the shape of the evidence. What is it that people are reporting, and what corroborative evidence is there?
Then the book moves on to the murky waters of the Id. I've got an image in my head of an alien (much like on the cover of the book) sitting in a psychoanalyst's chair with a patient on the couch saying, "Of course I believe you. I believe that you believe there are aliens...why don't you tell me about them?" That's where this eloquent and well-researched book winds up. Even if Aliens only exist in our minds, and by extension, our culture...how did they get there, and what can they tell us about ourselves?
If you're interested in a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of where Aliens come from and why we'd conjure them up out of thin air as well as an examination of the evidence for their actual existence, Appleyard's book is required reading. It's about culture, the emergence of exotic technology...and the 50s.