I’ve been a big fan of the “horror novels” of San Antonio, Texas-born author Whitley Strieber since reading the wonderful vampire story “Hunger” some time after its release in 1980 or so… Whitley’s emotionally-charged prose is always bang on, his narratives always seem to deal with some other “folklore-invaded” version of reality, his characters always exude contradiction.
And this is Whitley Strieber, through and through.
Contradiction seems to haunt the guy; and it’s no more eloquently expressed than in his new book exploring his “real life” Visitor experience, “Solving the Communion Enigma.”
Boxing day 1985, Whitley Strieber was first “abducted by aliens” and this actually became the bane of his literary life. The cover for his 1987 book “Communion” (about the abductions, plural) blasted that chamois-leather visage of the female alien all over the psyche of the global populace. It said, “The aliens are here and we’re not even safe in our bedrooms.” It was also adapted into a film, a horror film (starring Christopher Walken), which everybody expected disclosure from their governments and scientists, forthwith.
But that’s not what happened.
Enigma remained, and the furore surrounding other Hollywoodized parallel abduction episodes like Travis Walton (“Fire in the Sky” ), and others soon faded away. UFO-hysteria came and went. Blatant consumerism regained a captivating foothold on the human condition; that corporate jackboot pressed onto a human face forever.
But the Visitor experience didn’t go away, not for people like Whitley Strieber who continue to be summoned to an “audience with the gods.”
And I’m a skeptic, I’ll admit that right here. As far as I’m concerned, UFOs are nothing more than covert military aircraft and the adult Whitley Strieber is nothing more than a victim of MK Ultra-style conditioning exercises as part of some military operation dealing with TOTAL GLOBAL MIND CONTROL. I don’t believe the hype about “imminent alien invasion” as portrayed in “Independence Day” (1996) or “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (2008) or espoused by NASA scientist Werner Von Braun.
I didn’t realise that Whitley’s connection with the military go waaaaaaaay back to when he was at school, and he goes into great detail about “Dr Krause” and what he thought (feared) was done to him in special military schools. And this is a theme that permeates the book; that if you subject children to enough childhood trauma, they’ll be more pliant as drones of a corporate future. That to truly train someone, you have to physically and mentally BREAK them. And while you may scoff at this, look at the ultra-realistic trauma depicted in our latest war-simulation video games. These products are effectively “opening up” the human psyche to later-life manipulation, if we’re to believe recent research.
It’s very telling that the subtitle of this book “what is to come” is not a question, i.e. there’s no question mark. The statement “what is to come” is graphically aligned with the last word of the title “enigma”… my take on this is “enigma is to come.”
And this is seen to be our saving grace. Whitley Strieber is suggesting that the “alien” from “Communion” is not the be-all and end-all of global disclosure of the UFO phenomenon. In fact, he’s even suggesting that the alien visage of “Communion” has little or nothing to do with the alien invasion that we’ve all been expecting since “flying saucers” first skipped across the skyline of the Mount Rainier back in 1947, soon after Operation Paperclip would have settled ex-Nazi scientists into their new NASA roles.
Another thing that was NEW to me at least is the revelation in this book that Strieber had his own (meteoric iron) implant, in his ear—yes, just like that character he wrote about in his 2006 novel “The Grays” (which I reviewed here on Scene 360). In fact, Strieber seems to make a habit of writing fiction that turns out to be part of his Visitor experience in some strange way. And there’s a serious religious element in that the “three thieves” of his Grays aliens mirrors the Catholic refractions of god-the-father, god-the-son and god-the-holy-ghost of the celestial triumvirate (excuse my Roman terminology).
“We are what we are made to be, it’s very difficult to escape our upbringing,” is this what’s being divulged, here, in this book? Well, maybe. It spends a lot of time discussing Crop Circles and Abduction Testimony and you’re thinking: “The more I hear about this stuff, the more common-place it’s becoming.” Is this series of books from Strieber, and others, a slow-trauma-induction to the ways of a world which we could easily unzip from the back like a flesh suit and flip-flop into and out of alternative worlds at our leisure?
Sure, why not?
But does Whitley Strieber “Solve the Communion Enigma?”
Of course he doesn’t. And while the title of this book isn’t (technically) a lie, it’s a real “come buy me” or at least “taste my angle.” My angle of what? Well, of our lives, people. As shows like “V” have tried to programme us that welcoming AN ALIEN PRESENCE into our human sphere of existence might not be a good idea at all, in that we’ll fall victim to the oldest trick in the book; Deception.
We’re a gadget-loving race; new and novel are the lures that cause us to live as virtual slaves to a Consumerist ideology of (glorified) PROFIT for the silver-spoon-fed few, and (mostly unreported) destitution for the worthless eaters, the mindless masses. It’s what we’ve been brought up to understand. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and Darwinistic ‘survival of the fittest,’ no matter how mis-used that quote is, is our clarion cry.” This mind-driving is how we can belittle and degrade those “below us” or who we appear to have “conquered” in some way. It’s woven into the fabric of our lives. But no one ever really conquers anyone; there are always only degrees of prison life, and we’re all prisoners in the scorching light of reason.
Personally, I’m not too keen on seeing Whitley “drinking vodka” most nights or “believing multi-verse or big bang theory.” It paints a ruddy picture of a man in turmoil, and I guess that’s what he is. That’s what we all are, in our own special, unique and troubled ways.
Do I like this book? Oh, yes.
Would I recommend it to more readers? Oh, yes.
With luck, each reader will get something different from it that will add to the seven billion living questions of why we no longer live on a Free Planet?
Read More: A book review of "The Grays."