Many Americans believe that so-called ancient astronauts (visitors from outer space) were responsible for historical wonders like the pyramids. This entertaining and informative book traces the origins of such beliefs to the work of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). The author takes the reader through fifty years of pop culture and pseudoscience highlighting such influential figures and developments as Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods), Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods), Zecharia Sitchin (Twelfth Planet), and the Raelian Revolution. The astounding and improbable connections among these various characters are revealed, along with the disturbing consequences of Lovecraft’s "little joke" for modern science and public knowledge.
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Jason Colavito is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Skeptic magazine, among other publications.From Publishers Weekly:
Combining literary theory, cultural criticism and muckraking, Colavito aims to debunk alternative history-believing, for instance, that aliens genetically engineered human life-but gets swept up in the frenzy of his own arguments and ends up positing "the western world is now adrift amidst its own decadence and decline." Colavito, a former believer in alternative history, traces the various beliefs' roots to H.P. Lovecraft's fiction. He does a fair job of presenting his case, using a great deal of textual analysis, but believers will dismiss it as yet another attempt to suppress the "truth," while those who haven't been immersed in the literature are likely to be bewildered or indifferent. Colavito tries to address this concern with broad theories about why such ideas have taken hold and what it shows about the state of humanity, a line of exposition that grows more prevalent and less persuasive as the book progresses; Colavito resorts to sweeping generalizations the reader must buy into for the rest to follow-an especially difficult proposition given Colavito's credentials (he is a freelance writer, not a historian or sociologist). Though the writing is engaging and the topic intriguing, readers will be frustrated by Colavito's frequent forays to the soapbox.
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