Monday, January 05, 2009
Nice review of my new book: "A World of UFOs"
Reviewed by Nick Martin, Winnipeg Free Press
A World of UFOs
By Chris Rutkowski
Dundurn Press, 315 pages, $22
UFOlogist Chris Rutkowski has compiled in his latest book pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about unidentified flying objects -- except, alas, whether they're extraterrestrial spacecraft.
Rutkowski explains that a UFOlogist does not study UFOs -- he or she studies reports that witnesses have filed of seeing something weird in the sky.
Rutkowski, who has a university degree in astronomy and has penned five previous books on paranormal subjects, has been analyzing UFO reports for more than 30 years.
His most recent book, 2006's The Canadian UFO Report, included some truly spectacular cases in Carman and Falcon.
In A World of UFOs, Rutkowski tries to cover all the bases, gathering UFO sightings from all over the world, and categorizing them by country, by continent, by the most famous, most bizarre, most interesting, most defying explanation.
Of course, he gives us the sighting of nine disc-like flying objects that American pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted near Mount Rainier in Washington State in 1947, leading to the coining of the term "flying saucers."
He does not overlook the notorious abduction of Barney and Betty Hill as they drove along a lonely New Hampshire road in 1961. Under hypnosis, the couple recalled the lost hours on that drive they spent being examined aboard an extraterrestrial craft.
And, it goes without saying, Rutkowski recounts a brief account of the alien craft that supposedly crash-landed near Roswell, N.M., in 1947, possibly putting the bodies of several alien astronauts into the hands of the U.S. military, and allegedly sparking one of the greatest coverups in human history.
Rutkowski, to his credit, never goes off half-cocked about these and dozens of other sightings. He's a scientist who looks first for the rational explanation -- reflected lights, a satellite or meteor or re-entering booster rocket, an aircraft or weather balloon, Venus or a star -- but offers dozens of sightings by intelligent people, for which there appears to be no ready explanation of what they saw in the sky.
There's even one here about a Brazilian fellow who was taken aboard an alien craft, where a female alien wanted to have a really, really close encounter with him. Unfortunately, he just couldn't get in the mood.
Rutkowski also ranges widely to list the best movies made about UFOs, looks at TV shows, and tells readers what details they'll need to note when they report seeing a UFO.
Probably the best part of the book is an A to Z of the UFO world, which gives Rutkowski free rein to riff on his own thoughts in depth on subjects such as abduction, cattle mutilations, hoaxes, little green men, and what governments really know and aren't telling us.
Read A World of UFOs near a window, and keep one eye on the page, and the other on the sky.