Now, what that means in regards to spaceships and extraterrestrials, I have no idea. I do know that even if you discredit 99.9 percent of all sightings and/or contact with otherworldly beings and UFOs — if you subtract the ones that are tricks of light or weather conditions, secret government aircraft being tested, weather balloons, hoaxes, the fabrication of compulsive liars or scam artists, and the ramblings of lunatics — even if you took away all of those, there is still a fraction that cannot be explained.
On to the review:
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have an idea of which side of the line Whitley Strieber falls on, but I’ll keep that opinion to myself.
Strieber is the author of several well-known novels, probably THE HUNGER and THE WOLFEN being the biggest. He is also the author who came out with a book called COMMUNION that detailed his abduction and assault by alien-like creatures. In 1989, it was made into a movie starring Christopher Walken as Strieber. The movie was significant in that:
a) It has a scene of Walken, as Strieber, being anally probed by little gray men, which will forever be locked inside my memory; and
b) Whenever I picture Strieber in my head, I now instantly picture him as Walken.
One could argue that the latter is actually a detriment, because if you truly want people to take you seriously, you probably don’t want their mental image of you to be as Walken (anally probed or not). I mean, I love Walken as an actor, but can anyone see him playing the role of a normal, well-adjusted member of society? Anyway …
Strieber still occasionally writes fiction here and there, but since the late 1980s, his literary output seems to focus primarily on building upon COMMUNION. His follow-up books detail his interaction with the alien creatures, his multiple abductions, his subsequent investigations into UFOs, extraterrestrial contact, government experiments and cover-ups, etc.
SOLVING THE COMMUNION ENIGMA: WHAT IS TO COME would seem to be about tying up all of his experiences into one neat package with perhaps a neat resolution. In other words, after 25 years of writing about his experiences with these otherworldly or other dimensional beings, that Strieber would have some answers. After all, the title begins with the word “solving.”
You would be wrong.
No, in Strieber’s latest “nonfiction” book, what you have are a bunch of strange occurrences mixed with memory fragments and conjecture. Also, you have an author saying one thing, then contradicting himself almost immediately afterward.
In SOLVING THE COMMUNION ENIGMA, Strieber talks about traumatic experiences he had as a child when he may have been involved in some sort of weird experiment, then links it vaguely to news articles he’s read about other children being involved in similarly weird situations. A name will spark a memory of his, and it all must somehow be connected to his initial abduction by the weird creatures he calls “the Grays.” But don’t call them aliens.
As Strieber relates, after the publication of COMMUNION, he somehow became the poster boy for alien contact, which led to him being ostracized for his supposed beliefs. Strieber says it was all a mistake, however, as he never really said he believed in extraterrestrials, only that he was detailing the weird occurrences that he experienced.
Which is all kind of passive aggressive in a way: It’s like a guy writing about a bunch of things he did while he was stoned, and then upset that he’s labeled as a pothead.
Strieber writes about sales of his books dropping, or “falling off a cliff,” after the publication of COMMUNION, although the fact that he continued to write about it, still writes about it, did a radio show about it, did a TV special about it, and so on, makes it hard to sympathize with his plight.
Yes, I get that some people think he’s a loon and some people have even shown hostility toward him — again, as he relates — but then, you know, stop talking about it so much. Go back to writing vampire books.
SOLVING THE COMMUNION ENIGMA is a mishmash of UFO data that Strieber has compiled, mixed with half-remembered things from his childhood, mixed with strange things people have told him that happened to them. If you’re into the whole UFO conspiracy thing and enjoyed Strieber’s other books on the subject, this work is right up your alley.
If, however, you’re hoping for some great truth to be revealed, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. It’s just more of the same … only without the scene of Walken getting penetrated. —Slade Grayson