Conspiracy Theory

ProbeWEB

Illustration by Matt McIrvin

by Sean Dylan Weir

 

These days you can’t do anything without running into an alien. Movies, television, websites, bumper stickers, T-shirts, amusement parks, and even bar motifs have bulbous heads and bulging black eyes staring at you. I was flipping channels the other day when I saw an ad for a “Welcome All Species” doormat. If you bought one, I think you need to get out of the house more often. And besides, last time I checked, these sadistic bug-eyed freaks were sailing across the galaxy to kidnap and torture hillbillies.

If one of them shows up at my house with an anal probe, I’ll kick his ass.

But no matter how you feel about anal probes, media attention is intense, and keeping your aliens straight can be difficult. So, here is an Alien Field Guide; I hope it will help.

Reticulans

Back in 1947, the Reticulans, commonly known as the greys, landed in Florida and made a deal with Uncle Sam. They would give us technology in exchange for access to human test subjects. Uncle Sam was in a real Catch-22. If he said yes, the greys would have carte blanche to torture U.S. civilians. If he said no, the greys would end up giving tech to the Ruskies. Uncle Sam said yes and has been trying to cover it up ever since.

Some people claim to have been abducted by greys. Maybe I’m a bit odd, but these horrific tales make me laugh. They remind me of what the gazelles must have felt like on “Wild Kingdom.” No wonder the greys think it’s okay to capture and tag free-range humans.

Greys come in two types. One tall, thin, Marlin Perkins “I’m in charge” type is usually seen with a bunch of shorter, pixie-like “watch as Jim tries to insert the anal probe into Cartman” types.

Pleiadeans

In 1948, the Pleiadeans landed in Florida and told Uncle Sam that he had really screwed up. The greys were planning to take over the Earth. The Pleiadeans offered to get rid of the infestation, but Uncle Sam had to lead a worldwide spiritual renaissance and dismantling of nukes. Uncle Sam laughed, then said no.

But the Pleiadeans came back in 1972 and hung out with a guy named Billy Meyers. The original Meyers material included audio recordings, metal samples, detailed star charts, and thousands of photos and video frames that to this day defy debunking. There is fake Meyers stuff out there, so be careful.

The Pleiadeans have elfin features, with ears set low on the skull, and small pointy chins. Unfortunately, they tend toward long-winded diatribes on human spiritual development. But I’ll take that over an anal probe any day.

Siri

Not much is known about these guys from the Dog Star. What we do know is that they have been given credit for Atlantis, the Pyramids, the Incan Highway, the Face on Mars, and those really enormous line drawings of animals that can only be seen from the air. The Atlantis thing is kind of iffy, so we’ll have to wait until the Greeks release their findings. If you hadn’t heard, Greek oceanographers and archaeologists found Atlantis two years ago. Right where Plato said it was.

And from what the history books say, Plato didn’t frown on the occasional anal probe himself.

Deros

Also known as the Nazi Hell Creatures From Below The Hollow Earth. Rumor has it that Hitler and his Thule (pronounced tool) Society buddies tried to recruit the Deros as allies prior to WWII. Representatives from both sides met at a Hollow Earth entry point in northern Greenland, where the Deros promptly announced themselves as the master race, then killed and ate Hitler’s hand-picked envoy.

I’ve always thought the whole Dero thing was just so much garbage. They’re supposed to be ultra-violent, hideously ugly munchkins that live in a vast underground maze, hating the humans that infest the uberworld. Whatever, Deros don’t worry me.

But I am concerned about Greenland. Does the government really expect us to believe this island is perfectly flat? No geographical features at all? And why is it always distorted, made to look so big when it really isn’t?

Illegal

Most people are familiar with illegal aliens from Mexico. But what about the hundreds of Canadians that sneak across our northern border every year?

What to do if you are abducted

Shoot first and ask questions later. If you blow an alien’s brains out, the corpse could be used to confirm everyone’s worst nightmare. There really are extra-terrestrial sadistic proctologists. Countless thousands of everyday citizens have suffered a brutal backdoor defilement and then had all memory of the event erased.

If you are being abducted, chances are pretty good that something really uncomfortable is about to happen. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, then by all means, order yourself a doormat.

 

 

Book Review: Einstein’s Bridge

EinsteinsBridgeby Michael D. Pederson

 

Einstein’s Bridge
John Cramer
Avon Books, 320 pp.

Billed as a novel of “hard science fiction,” I was instantly intrigued. I like my science fiction as hard as it can get. And I have to hand it to Cramer, the science is excellent. However… Stay away from this book. Cramer needs a few lessons in plotting. The climax of the book hit one-hundred pages before the end. Apparently the proposed Texas super-collider was supposed to figure prominently in his story (which was almost entirely written) when the government decided to cut its funding, and killed the project. So, instead of giving us a true novel, he cut his story short and spent the last third of the book simply complaining about the government. The ending is whimsical if you’re in the scientific research field, and have had funding problems. But the rest of us need a real resolution, and not just a bunch of whining.

 

Book Review: A Free Man of Color

FreeManOfColorby Michael D. Pederson

 

A Free Man of Color
Barbara Hambly
Bantam Books, 412 pp.

A Free Man of Color, marks Hambly’s debut in the realm of mainstream fiction. Hambly has a degree in medieval history, but writes equally well in other periods. This time around she sets her story in New Orleans in the 1830s. The character referred to in the title is Benjamin January, a black physician/musician that has recently returned home from France. The story is practically straight Raymond Chandler… A beautiful woman is killed, another beauty from our hero’s past (also a suspect, of course) asks him to solve the crime, and along the way our hero becomes the prime suspect and has to clear his own name. Very Noir. Excellent characters, great setting, incredible sense of reality, and a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. A bit preachy at times, but still worthy of my highest rating, check it out.

 

Book Review: Gods and Generals

GodsAndGeneralsby Michael D. Pederson

 

Gods and Generals
Jeff Shaara
Ballantine, 491 pp.

With Gods and Generals, Shaara takes over his father’s legacy. Twenty-five years ago, Michael Shaara wrote The Killer Angels which won critical acclaim, created a whole new genre of historical novels, and was later turned into Ted Turner’s Gettysburg.

Gods and Generals tells the story of the Civil War’s beginnings, starting in 1858, and ending the month before the Battle of Gettysburg. Shaara continues in his father’s style of writing history as a narrative, turning the actual participants into characters. As in The Killer Angels, you get a remarkable feel for the period and events, even if sometimes you’re left wondering about the author’s accuracy at getting inside the heads of major historical figures. The only thing keeping the younger Shaara from rivaling his father’s achievement is the lack of significance to the battles portrayed in this novel. The stories are all good, but don’t come close to achieving the scope of the events surrounding Gettysburg.

 

Book Review: Ranting Again

RantingAgainby Michael D. Pederson

 

Ranting Again
Dennis Miller
Doubleday, 201 pp.

Yep, the second collection of rants from Miller’s weekly HBO show is finally out. Now, I don’t want to get on a rant here but it seems to me like stand-up comics are putting out books more often than Clinton puts out denials. Or even more often than Clinton puts out. Sure, the book is nothing more than a collection of opening monologues from his show; no new material. Yes, it was thrown together to make a quick buck. But this is where Miller is different from the rest of the Seinfeld-wanna-be rat pack—he’s in it for the money and he doesn’t mind saying so. That’s exactly the kind of honesty that I want from someone that makes a living telling society what it’s doing wrong. The only real draw-back to the book is the fact that these rants weren’t written with the print media in mind. There are sections where you can tell that the humor was carried entirely by a long pause or a goofy look that don’t work as well as the rest of the book. But, hey—I was rolling on the ground laughing as I read this stuff. I’ll gladly fork over $21.95 for that. And believe me, I have on numerous occasions. Miller’s choice of material is as good as ever too. He skewers everything from his own acting career to abortion. Ranting Again as literature? Sure. It’s a must read for any up-and-coming author. Miller has a unique talent for constructing similes that leaves me in awe. I would love to see him attempt a piece of true fiction. With his unrivaled ability for making obscure cultural references, he could crank out a book that critics would be analyzing for decades. I’ve just got to say though, lay off the Pavarotti jokes. I think Miller can do without this overused fat-joke shorthand of his. Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

 

Book Review: Hemingway’s Chair

HemingwaysChairby Michael D. Pederson

 

Hemingway’s Chair
Michael Palin
St. Martin’s Press, 280 pp.

Most people are familiar with Palin for his work with Monty Python. That’s what drew me to the book; as a long-time Python fan I had to see what Palin’s fiction was like. 1 liked it. It was, however, nothing like Monty Python. Instead, Palin treats us to a dry, quirky, character study. Hemingway’s Chair, focuses on the life of Martin Sproale, the assistant manager of a small English post office. Sproale is quiet, shy, predictable, and completely obsessed with the life of Ernest Hemingway. His job is going nowhere, his relationship with his girlfriend is stagnant, and he still lives with his mother. When Sproale meets an American student that is studying Hemingway, his life begins to take on new meaning. The student (Ruth Kohler) begins to draw out Sproale’s inner Ernest. She tells him about an old deck chair of Hemingway’s that is up for auction. Sproale then begins to fixate on the chair. This is where Palin really shows his chops. The transformation of Sproale from a mild-mannered postal employee into an active, daring, Hemingway-esque character is brilliant. The main plot of the story involves the privatization of Sproale’s post office. He opposes this from the beginning and his opposition becomes stronger as he gets more in touch with his Hemingway persona. Also, Palin populates Sproales hometown of Theston with an interesting mix of oddballs and conservatives that allows him to poke fun at English manners and social morés along the way.

All told, I enjoyed the book considerably. Just don’t make the mistake of expecting Python-level humor here. Once I got past that, the book was much more enjoyable.

 

Book Review: How Few Remain

HowFewRemainby Michael D. Pederson

 

How Few Remain
Harry Turtledove
Del Rey, 596 pp.

The latest book from the undisputed master of the alternative history novel is not a disappointment. Once again, Turtledove uses the “What if the South won the Civil War?” premise to hang his story on. However, this is not a sequel to his popular Guns of the South. Instead, How Few Remain is set in 1881, twenty years after the Confederacy’s victory, and the North and South are once again in conflict. This time the dispute is over who is going to lay claim to the Mexican Territories. When the South moves in, the North declares war. Unfortunately, Dixie is now backed by England and France (this is how they won the war) so the outcome isn’t as certain as we would expect. Turtledove uses major historical figures as his main characters: Lincoln, Longstreet, Jackson, Stuart, Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, and Samuel Clemens. Accurate, well-written, and extremely believable. A must read for fans of alternative history.

 

Book Review: Shadow Image

ShadowImageby Michael D. Pederson

 

Shadow Image
Martin J. Smith
Berkeley Publishing Group, 344 pp.

Shadow Image professes to be a “whipcord thriller,” and “a suspenseful ride.” I don’t think so. The story’s hero, Jim Christiansen, is studying repressed memory in Alzheimer’s patients. When one of his patients (the matriarch of a local political dynasty) is injured in a suspicious fall at home, he begins focusing on her case. His girlfriend is also hired as the family’s defense attorney to handle any problems that may arise from the fall. Two-hundred pages into the book, all he has uncovered is a suspicion that the family may have covered up the accidental death of their son three years prior. In order to keep the death covered up, the family goes on a killing spree, and even kidnaps the main character’s children. Needless to say, this doesn’t help them to keep a low profile. Highly disappointing. The suspense builds too slowly, the characters are two-dimensional, and the villains are completely illogical.

 

Book Review: Destiny’s Road

DestinysRoadby Michael D. Pederson

 

Destiny’s Road
Larry Niven
Tor, 433 pp.

With Destiny’s Road, Larry Niven returns to the universe of Legacy of Heorot, and Beowulf’s Children. Heorot and Beowulf document the colonization of the planet Avalon, and the settlers’ conflicts with the vicious native wildlife. Destiny’s Road starts 250 years after the colonization of the planet Destiny, a much tamer planet than Avalon. The only threat to the citizens of Destiny is a lack of naturally occurring potassium. Upon landing, the original settlers built two primary cities, and a road connecting the two. The story follows Jemmy Bloocher as he travels Destiny’s Road from one end to the other to uncover the missing history of Destiny, and to find the lost colonists of the second city. Niven tells an intriguing tale, filled with believable characters. If you like space battles and high-adventure with your science fiction, look elsewhere; however, if you prefer solid science, and well-developed characters than this is the book for you.