Behind the X-Files

Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping. X-Treme Possibilities: A Comprehensively Expanded Rummage Through Five Years of The X-Files, Virgin, 1998.

Love it or hate it The X-Files will help you identify where the loonies get most of their wacky ideas from. As the authors say in this book, The X-Files is the product of a nation that is so betrayed by its leaders that it has come to believe that there is some cosmic conspiracy at work. As a consequence, the Greys are to blame for the evils and shortcomings of US democracy. They are the all-powerful bureaucrats from outer space:
  • "The Greys are also the dead of Belsen (an image The X-Files takes literally), aborted foetuses, shaved experimental cats: all those things we've done, that we should be guilty about, externalised, mythologised, and back to do to us what we did to them."
The activities of Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully have "progressed" from being earnest variations on popular horror and science fiction films based on tabloid headlines, to self-conscious, tongue-in-cheek storylines.

This book provides an episode-by-episode guide which takes you through all the twists and turns of the plots and how they relate to each other. It is an entertaining and insightful read and contains many nuggets of intriguing "facts" from the series. For example, Mulder eats sunflower seeds in several episodes; apparently these have a protective effect against vampires and from other potential biological threats against humanity. I wonder if many parrots are starving due to people imitating him?

For ufologists and explorers of the unknown this is a fine look at the interface between fact and fiction; it's also extremely good value for money. Buy it before they get you. -- Nigel Watson, from Magonia [Monthly] Bulletin 14, April 1999.

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