01/07/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Constable Robinson. 607 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84901-363-5.
check out website: www.constablerobinson.com
'The Mammoth Book Of Conspiracies' is a companion book to The Mammoth Book Of Cover-Ups'. Interestingly, it stays clear of some things so although you won't find Roswell in here, you do find some other tit-bits about not only the Greys but also some giant reptiloid aliens who have the 'V' tendency with a taste for human flesh...apparently.
Author Jon E. Lewis spends a few pages each on ninety-eight subjects, nineteen specifically about people, and with several subjects there is documentation to support his original piece. I did wonder if this was more as padding than anything, purely because much of the detail is covered in his articles although I suspect those wanting to see examples of the sources material will find this helpful.
So, let's pick out some tit-bits that I hadn't known before or embellished what I did know.
Those of you who use Apple computers might find it either amusing or worrying that the price tag of the first one was $666.66 but more worrying is its builders like collecting personal information about you.
The so-called Church of Scientology bought out the bankrupt Cult Awareness Network, Apparently, Dulce Base in Northern Mexico is far more likely to harbour aliens than Area 51. Did you know the meaning of 'foo' as in 'Foo Fighters' is fire and nothing to do with the rock band? Although Lewis doesn't go into this in his article, it is well known that methane at ground level can generate small fireballs but I would have thought at height with planes flying at speed that such fireballs wouldn't last long enough for the pilots to see for more than a split-second.
Some of the conspiracies are actually true by the way. General Motors aided by cheap petrol helped demolish the use of street-cars (we would call them trams) in the USA. Considering the looming petrol shortages or at least a need for cleaner air, isn't it about time they were in use again in the cities?
There are some conspiracies that are probably true. Lewis points out 'The Manchurian Candidate' is how some cult religions manipulate their followers being only a little short of turning them into assassins. The whereabouts of Nazi Gold has been used in many a TV episode over the years. Although it wasn't dumped in a lake, it does appear to be in various banks now. There are noted two different plots by the Americans against Castro, one official and one rogue. While discussing the USA, Plum Island is their equivalent of the UK's Portland Down Research Centre for bio-warfare. Then again, under apartheid, South Africa had 'Project Coast' doing similar things as well.
For those of you who wondered how 'Project Paperclip' got its name and which 'The X-Files' drew attention to actually existed. When the Americans were cherrypicking ex-Nazis for their scientific or technological knowledge, they used paperclips to make it easier to pick out their personal file. The Americans didn't just pick out German scientists as Lewis point out with Unit 731, they also cherrypicked Japanese scientists, too.
The Mantell Incident, where a USAF pilot sent to investigate a UFO crashes after flying too high is put down to chasing a weather balloon. Considering that ground staff had visual and radar on the object and who must surely have been familiar with anything in the sky at the time to be suspicious enough to send planes to investigate must have meant something was happening. The reports appended seem to confirm this. Whether it was extra-terrestrial or not is debatable but the fact that the USAF have also admitted to hyping UFO reports to hide their black ops aircraft, you would have thought the true evidence could have been revealed by now. I'm still amazed how anyone could confuse the SR-71 Blackbird with any UFO considering it doesn't stay at low altitude for long.
There is a piece indicating that subliminal advertising doesn't work although I wish Lewis had considered the effect of repeat showings of adverts getting into the brain and influencing what you buy.
Probably the most tragic for its victims is the Tuskegee Syphilis Study where black people were infected with syphilis but not given any treatment in 1932 and it wasn't until 1997 that there was a former apology to the few survivors and off-spring left. In some respects, this reminds me of the ill treatment to British military personal left too close nuclear detonations in and their contamination which they never got compensation for.
There are very few conspiracies linked to our genre, although learning about the real ones should put those into perspective. I find this a fascinating book and for such a long book, actually a bit of a page-turner. If anything, it's a bit more worrying that so many of these conspiracies were true which will probably delight those who suspect something is going on but makes people like me wonder what else hasn't come to light yet.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA