In the dawn of Time they came from space to become… We have a new collection: UFO books. Lovingly assembled, now long dispersed, here is a small snapshot of the 70s and 80s publishing phenomenon, fuelled by television shows like Arthur C.Clarke’s Mysterious World, and the late Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of… series. Viewed from afar, the 1970s feels like an era of high-weirdness, with saucers at the heart of a crowd-sourced mythology that drew upon pagan esoterica. Only as the decade progressed did they evolve into symbols of the military-industrial complex, conspiracy and collusion, coming full circle to the paranoia and fear that accompanied the very first Cold War-era sightings. The ideas and theories still bleed into the modern era, though, through curious outliers like Erich von Daniken’s failed Mystery Park (‘Instead of a fun family amusement park, the attractions were intended to represent von Daniken’s [theories], not imaginary fantasy and entertainment.’) Daniken’s colourful conjectures are worth a post in themselves – the old BBC documentary The Case of the Ancient Astronauts does a fine job of debunking its wilder claims (with the added bonus of a splendid BBC Radiophonics Workshop (make your own!) theme tune, the rediscovery of which made for a great thread on Paul Cornell’s website)). Unsurprisingly, the internet is still awash with ‘research’ that makes the pulpy claims of these luridly covered paperbacks seem tame in comparison, not helped by the occasional leg up from mainstream pop culture. But has there ever been a better named for a Ufologist than Brinsley Le Poer Trench, 8th Earl of Clancarty?
Other things. UFO sightings and other insights into 1960s Valleys life, the story of 18,000 negatives discovered in a Merthyr Tydfil library / Diane Keaton has a good eye for architecture / Quadrant, a rhythm game (via RPS) / the Artiphon is a musical instrument (via The Coolist).