Jenny Randles and Peter Warrington. UFOs: A British Viewpoint. Hale, 1979.
Miss Randles seems to be a controversial figure in the British UFO scene (at the recent BUFORA convention in London the very sight of her name in a back issue of MUFOB provoked one prominent BUFORA hierarch to spluttering incoherence, and a favourable mention of her from Allen Hynek from the platform produced a deal of amusing grimacing from other personalities). It will come as a surprise to many, therefore that this long-awaited book is for the most part a sober and interesting account of the contemporary range of the UFO mystery, illustrated by up-to-date, UK reports, in the main from UFOIN reports.
Such potential traps as military involvement (yes, but not so sinister), and physical evidence (not proven), are looked at sensibly, and the chapter on the role of UFO investigators and groups, while it may raise a few hackles, does not seem calculated to provoke too much huffing and puffing. The bulk of the book is an exposition of the amended Hynek classification scheme that the authors have adopted, taking much the same format as Hynek‘s UFO Experience. Although most of the cases described will not be new to the most assiduous UFO magazine reader, they are usefully collected in book form for the first time here.
Towards the end of the book the authors tackle the more contentious subjective dimensions of the UFO experience, and detail some of their own involvements with the notorious 'Gary' affair. This will give the general reader a glimpse of the weirder shores of ufology, whilst still dealing with it in a rational way.
If the book had ended here, I think I could have recommended it almost without serious reservation. However the final chapter destroys the credibility which has been assiduously built up to then. We are back in the world of 'vibrations' and idle speculation. Having carefully explained the dubious and equivocal nature of the physical and photographic evidence, pointed out the essentially subjective character of the experience and been honest about the contradictory nature of much of the evidence, the authors (or is it just one of them?) seem to pull back, and desperately cobble together a vague, crypto-scientific 'explanation' that will enable then at the very end to fall in with the old slogan: "UFOs are real", The reasons for this are I think dealt with eloquently in AlIen Greenfield's piece elsewhere in· this magazine.
So, I recommend this book, up to page 218. From then on, you're on your own! -- John Rimmer. MUFOB New Series 15, Summer 1979.