I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In Search of Ancient Idiots

So, every now and then I like to read the sort of trashy 70's paperbacks I was addicted to when I was a teenager. There were dozens of books out about the Bermuda Triangle, ancient astronauts, UFO's, and Bigfoot, and I eagerly devoured them all. I was addicted the implication that there might be some huge secret just waiting to be revealed, some final proof of alien life visiting Earth, or of a second, primitive race of man still hiding in the forests.

I recently found a copy of "In Search of Ancient Mysteries" in a Goodwill Store for a nickel. Who can argue with that price? I read it, wondering if I could still work up that sense of wonder and mystery I'd loved so much as a teen. Alas, no. I'm really left more with the impression that my teen self was a moron. The authors main premise is so self-evidently awful that I can't believe there were enough readers for this book to justify a dozen printings, as the cover boasts. The premise is a familiar one: All the great stone monuments built in ancient times could not have been built by ancient man alone. The blocks must have been carved and moved great distances with the help of advanced alien civilizations. As added proof, any rock carving of a man wearing a funny hat is held up as portraying an astronaut in a space helmet. Any triangular rock is pointed to as a delta winged aircraft, any circle is called a flying saucer.

Many critiques have pointed out that this genre of book is insulting to ancient humans, who were quite capable of these wonderful feats of stone engineering. But, I can't help but think they are also insulting to the ancient alien civilizations as well. They came there across vast reaches of interstellar space and built homes for themselves, and the best material they knew how to use was rock? They built all these giant stone buildings with no running water, no electrical outlets, etc., and they are supposed to be more advanced than we are? Show me a Mayan temple built out of 2000 year old plastic and I might be a little more convinced.

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