To Infinity and Beyond

Larry Geis, and others. Beyond: the Everlasting Frontier. New Dimensions Foundation, And/Or Press, 1978.
Here is a. work - based on a Californian radio series - in which the almost impossible happens ; the ufologists emerge as paragons or sanity and scientific respectability amid a welter of futuristic speculation Admittedly, they have little competition, as the representatives of 'straight' science are those curious gentlemen, the proponents of the 'space colony', led by Gerald O'Neill himself. One would like to be able to smile tolerantly at them as harmless eccentrics, were it not for the sinking feeling that; like their spiritual predecessors the designers of the tower block apartments, they are only too likely to get their way! The ultimate symbol of the future is surely going to be a deserted, vandalised O'Neill colony, lurking like a cosmic Mary Celeste in s pace, its walls covered in indelible, twenty-first century aerosol paint with the slogan "Manchester United Football Club Rule OK".

Into this fantasy have been drawn such colourful characters as Governor Jerry Brown of California and Timothy Leary, the prophet or LSD turned prophet of God, declaring that "the most intelligent people alive today are on the West Coast of the United States" - thus proving that LSD cause permanent brain damage! Compared with such heady stuff the ufologists seem very sane indeed, their contributions tor the most part being quite familiar. One chapter, and the introduction to the whole book is by Jacques Vallee, who seems to view the carnival with an amused detachment. In his own paper, Vallee comments that our own perceptions are conditioned by our own culture, and that "The notion that the history of man is the slow but irresistible emergence of the rational mind out of irrational darkness is one of the most curiously persistent falsehoods of intellectual life."

A comment that other contributors to this book, and certain ethnohistorical chauvinists in the British UFO scene should note carefully. -- Peter Rogerson. MUFOB New Series 14, Spring 1979.

No comments: