Tuesday, July 26, 2011

UFOs For Every Mood

Okay. Let's compare a couple of the self-published UFO conspiracy books I keep checking out of the library for some reason: THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND SAUCERS vs. that weird document in a loose-leaf binder. In the former, the aliens are always happy and smiling widely and speaking words of comfort to the author (Calvin C. Girvin) when he is feeling low: "We Space Men have a way of 'getting around' as you would say and making friends in a great many different ways in different places." When the author is not hanging out with "Space Men," he is usually walking around enjoying the beauty of nature: "I encountered several rabbits and other wild animals frolicking around in the snow, as small animals like to do on such a night." The overall tone is cozy: "We found a secluded corner in the lobby of the hotel and talked about flying saucers till well past midnight." Though Mr. Girvin's heart is so full, a hint of gentle melancholy hangs over his self-published book: "I saw much of the girl Helen... She possessed a kind of beauty that is difficult to put into words... her big expressive eyes made me fall deeply in love with her at once. I spent many evenings with her and thought I wanted to be with her always, but strangely, in my silent moments when I pictured my future she did not seem to be in it." And sure enough, after he buys a diamond ring, his alien chums sadly inform him that marriage is not in their plans for him. And the book ends with him sobbing! So it is not all fun and games. Okay, now let's move on to the weird "book" in the white vinyl binder. It's like rummaging around in someone's brain, a feeling both unpleasant and compelling. Hey, remember that guy who wrote that manifesto about how fiction is for suckers? I think this is what he has in mind as a replacement, this sort of found object or mad collage. It's the work of a highly focused and very angry man, including news clippings he has scrawled his opinions on and photocopied. You're not going to get this experience with your "kindle," brothers and sisters! (By the way, speaking of the fiction manifesto guy - not the UFO guy - I recently found out that a story from my first book will be in an anthology he is co-editing, which just goes to show you how unlike fiction my fiction is.) But back to the UFO guy! He's not a UFO guy! He's just a really angry guy who wants to get back at some people who have wronged him, and he has put it all in an "affidavit" in a three-ring binder like a homework assignment that can somehow be checked out at the University of Mississippi library! He is not shy about naming his enemies, but I won't do that here. A sample sentence from page 1: "Despite ______'s cultivated image as a swashbuckling pilot and serious UFO researcher, he is, in my opinion, and others', an irresponsible, self-centered, loutish thrill-seeker who truly has no business in the latter field, and questionable competence in the former, given his record of hard-drinking and womanizing." Later the author fights back against the way his enemies are trying to discredit him: "For the record, it is true that I was arrested for 'soliciting a prostitute' in 1982 in Seattle in a police 'sting' operation - I have told the story many times to friends with gusto... For a huge percentage of international travelers and businessmen, journalists, and covert operators, it is not at all uncommon to purchase the services of a female escort to 'maintain appearances' when necessary... But I have been blessed with an appealing countenance and have never yet had to pay directly for the 'services' of a female." Soon, the UFO angle shunted aside, we're smack dab in the middle of the Kennedy assassination! And so on. Features a cameo by aging huckster and object of "blog" curiosity G. Gordon Liddy!