Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken

Chariots of the GodsChariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if aliens visited this earth eons ago and started a breeding experiment with humans to create modern man? What if they have stopped by to visit periodically in the past to give technology to or even depopulate and tweak their creations? Has the evidence of it been right in front of us on cave painting walls, and in the design of fabulous ancient man-made wonders this entire time?

Erich von Daniken's book raises these questions and discusses them with enthusiasm and energy familiar to anyone who has ever spent a serious amount of time hanging with X-philes. Indeed, this book, with it's catchy hooks and easy to digest packaging is pretty much the granddaddy to all of modern pop-culture's most popular science fiction television shows and movies. It's quite easy to get sucked into the pages and pictures of this book for an afternoon read and to get that same entertained rush one gets when watching a thoroughly entertaining show or movie.

What of the actual science in this book?

Well, I am no scientist and all of that is up to serious debate. Daniken himself seems to have a past murky with scandal and rivalry. The community of "serious scientists" have all dismissed this book as flawed, fanciful, or a conglomerate of plagiarized ideas from more qualified men, but that has done little to stop the success of this particular tome and of the books that he has subsequently written as companions to this one.

Daniken raises a lot of questions and does his best to prove his points with photographs and examples of odd archaeological finds around the world. Some of it has been disproved over the passage of time (this book was written in the late sixties), some of it is pure speculation based on flimsy fact (but then the same can be said of many ideas and faiths), and some of it does strike a chord that could make you lift your eyebrow and go, "Oh... wow... what if...?" And it's rather fun to find yourself in a constant state of wanting to converse with the paragraphs either to debate, scoff, or raise your finger in surprised agreement.

Daniken's writing style is far from abrasive, in fact he seems to go out of his way not to offend anyone's set belief system by making it clear he is only raising the IDEA of something rather than invalidating the world view of anyone else. It's a brilliant tactic because it makes the book highly readable to anyone regardless of their set values.

I certainly enjoyed the ride.

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