Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The UFO Diaries, Martin Plowman

I should have reviewed this book weeks ago, but it’s been a difficult one to process. My interest in the book was directed towards the “UFO” part of the title, while the author wrote a book more focused on the “Diaries” side.

Martin Plowman set out to study those who study UFOs. This was the focus of a postgraduate degree. As part of course work he travelled to the Americas (North, South and Central) to meet with people with some kind of attachment to the UFO phenomenon. After some disappointment with Roswell and its claimed crashed flying saucer, he set his sights on Latin America and most of his book tells about his experiences there.

I did learn a few new things about the people with UFO claims. I hadn’t known that (in)famous contactee George Adamski was a theosophist and I was kept interested by his Roswell interview with Walter Haut . But those UFO related insights were rare. Most of the book was a kind of travelogue which sometimes touched on UFO-related regions such as those publicised decades ago in Erich Von Daniken's popular but mostly discredited Chariots of the Gods?.

Even though his travel experiences are interesting enough in themselves, it wasn’t really the kind of book I was looking forward to reading,

I feel part of the problem for me is that Plowman had no real interest in what lies behind UFO reports and he makes that clear all along. UFOs therefore become incidental to his personal quest – the goal of which was never really made clear. Maybe there was no aim in mind beyond completing his course, or maybe he didn’t figure out what his own motives were, why at times he seemed driven to continue the goalless journey he had started.

I was kindly provided with a review copy by the publisher, Allen & Unwin.

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