Vernon, in his debut, tells how his boyhood sighting of a “flying saucer” over his neighbor’s house led him on a lifelong quest into UFO encounters and shadowy government scheming.
The author provides a big-picture exegesis of UFO conspiracy theories, while weaving in his own personal story about being a reluctant “contactee.” A science (and science-fiction) buff as a youngster, he was stunned when one night in 1968, he saw a flying saucer up-close from his bedroom window—an uncanny thing, hovering over a nearby yard. Vernon then delved into ufology, and over the years, his everyday life took some twisted turns. For example, his work mate at a Florida psychic phone line diagnosed him as being a victim of secret, regular alien monitoring and experiments since his early childhood. At this point, Vernon shifts the focus away from the story of himself, setting aside an intriguing subtheme about his dawning realization of his sexuality. Instead, the book turns to the alarmist notions of would-be E.T.-hunters and whistle-blowers in the X-Files-ish ufology subculture. It supports a sinister thesis of terrestrial governments having “sold out” the human race to dissection-happy space creatures, in exchange for access to flying-disc technology (later tested at Area 51). The author helpfully evaluates books, videos and interviews with late-night paranormal-radio luminaries such as Stanton Friedman, Communion author Whitley Strieber, Linda Moulton Howe and famed, alleged abductee Travis Walton, usually approvingly. Interestingly, however, the author doesn’t uphold every UFO conspiracy theory, instead praising “healthy skepticism,” which is perhaps why some popular UFO-lit concepts, such as Bigfoot and the Men in Black, are conspicuously absent. He also delivers engaging, snappish callouts against unbelievers (he describes the late Carl Sagan as a “cobra,” for example), the faceless elites behind the “cover-up,” and a dumbed-down, apathetic public. At its best, it’s evocative of iconoclastic sci-fi author Harlan Ellison at his snarkiest.
UFO conspiracy theories, delivered in red-alert tones by an atypical follower.