Literary Links: The Truth Is Out There

As fans of the X-Files will remember, “The Truth Is Out There” was a catchphrase for the show. Recently, our government has become more interested in searching for the truth about the possibility of extraterrestrial life and UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena) or UFOs (unidentified flying objects.) Once thought of as largely a conspiracy theory, there has been more attention by Congress on observations reported by reputable professionals, such as military/commercial pilots and other individuals that have a more complex knowledge of what current technology can produce than, well, someone like me.

A recent hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability featured several testimonies from former military pilots with firsthand accounts of UAPs along with testimony from David Grusch, whistleblower and former Defense Department employee. Retired Navy commander David Fravor, the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 41 in 2004, indicated the observation of an unrecognizable object by himself and his pilots that could rapidly descend from 80,000 to 20,000 feet and hover there for hours. There have been many visual sightings of different unexplained phenomena over the years, and part of the hearing discussed the difficulties with reporting these observations and repercussions for those that do.

Altogether it made very interesting listening, I have never thought a lot about this possibility (except during my children’s teen years). After listening to this thoughtful testimony by reputable professionals, my mind is open to some exploration, and I invite you to do the same.

Interstellar book coverInterstellar: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Our Future in the Stars,” by Avi Loeb, the longest serving chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, along with a plethora of other academic, government and professional achievements, is a good place to start. Many critics have called this book the epitome of scientific curiosity. Loeb not only explores the real possibilities of interstellar life, but provides a plan on how to interact with intelligent life beyond Earth. Simply said, once we move into the neighborhood, how do we meet, interact and engage in a meaningful way with our new neighbors? Given the wildly catastrophic weather events, such as wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, melting icebergs the Earth now faces, his argument that interstellar engagement might be necessary to our survival seems relevant and worth listening to.

“Given there are between 100 and 400 billion-star systems in our Milky Way Galaxy, where the heck is everyone else?” This is one of many questions Stephen Hunt, a best-selling science fiction author, asks and explores in “Strange Incursions: A Guide for the UFO and UAP-Curious”. Although he has tended to be a disbeliever, recent events, such as the congressional hearings and the acknowledgement that the Pentagon has been running an Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, but previously denied, has sparked his curiosity. He wants to find out “What does the U.S. government know that we don’t?” Hunt’s first nonfiction book is an interesting turn of perspective on these questions.

Following along with Hunt’s last question, the next book highlights the involvement and knowledge of presidents from Truman to Obama in UFO documentation. “The Presidents and UFOs: A Secret History From FDR to Obama,” by Larry Holcombe is packed with documented incidents connected with each presidency The Presidents and the UFOs book coverfrom the 1940s forward. Each chapter is dedicated to a single president and how each has dealt with and handled the UFO phenomena. Through documented incidents, Holcombe tries to determine what did they know, what was being covered up and whether they were actually a part of it. He also looks into the Air Force’s handling of UFO issues and Project Blue Book. While not able to provide definitive proof, he does make a case for their involvement.

Still not convinced? You are not alone, or, as authors Peter D. Ward (a geologist and evolutionary biologist) and Donald Brownlee (a cosmologist and astrobiologist) conclude, “maybe we really are alone.” Their book, “Rare Earth” attests that, while microbial life is definitely possible, conditions do not exist in the rest of the cosmos that would support more complex life. Using their expertise in geology and astrobiology, they make a case for the rarity of complex life in the universe due to the lack of precise astronomical, geological and biological conditions that have allowed animals and humans to evolve. Earth is a particularly rare planet and located in the “Goldilocks Zone,” providing the perfect temperatures necessary to evolve complex life.

Whatever your beliefs, this topic is a great one to delve into, particularly with the days growing shorter.  We have more time to gaze into the night sky and wonder if we are alone… or not. Take a look at more books in our collection.

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