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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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11/01/2005 Archived Entry: "Book review: Alien Rock"

Alien Rock: The Rock'n'Roll Extraterrestrial Connection
By Michael C. Luckman
Published by Pocket Books

Review by Richard Mellott

Just the title is enough to get a skeptic like me going on and on about the nut-jobs roaming the planetůand then I thought, I like science fiction, why not go along for a pretend ride? So, Google in hand, I proceeded to read, giggle, and google names, dates, and stories. I wanted to check into these stories about Aliens and Rock Stars.

I started doing the dates and names together, and got some interesting results. I did find that some of the people he mentions did exist, but not in relationship to the artists or events in question. When I began to see that happening again and again, I realized this author probably just used the art of juxtaposition to bring unlikely stories together, with a sense of reality. One of the rock concerts he talks about happened on the dates he mentioned, and was organized by the managers that he names, but the key figures never mention the events he talks about in his book. I am referring to a man named Dr. Don Hamrick, who was supposed to have been introduced to John Lennon as a concert promoter. The mention of two other concert promoters, John Brower and Ritchie Yorke, who were actually associated with a peace festival in Toronto in 1970, apparently lent some credibility to the story. Hamrick's alias of Z. Charneau didn't show up anywhere, either. So, I began to see how, by inserting a "mysterious character" he was able to spin fantastic tales that gave a sense of historic basis in fact, a common ploy used by historical fiction writers. That's all well and good in a literary piece, but not in a supposed reality-based story about aliens.

I always thought the MIB interpretation of the National Enquirer as the place to really find the truth had already been exposed as a joke. Unless you are really a patient person, the willingness to suspend suspicion is difficult, especially when the author is writing in a style reminiscent of tabloid writing. Mr. Luckman claimed that unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings had been reported by Jimi Hendrix, someone whom I highly revered in my youth. Being a child of the sixties myself, I also had no illusions about Hendrix's source of inspiration. While the music and poetry of the New Age used many references to space, aliens, and prophesy, there is nothing real about the imaginations of an albeit great musician who's under the influence. The New Age of Jimi Hendrix had much more to do with the use of LSD and mescaline, magic mushrooms, peyote, amphetamines, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Under the influence, we all saw many wondrous things, including the lawn of our parents' home rushing up to meet our faces.

I persevered in my desperate pursuit of interesting reading, but the same old story twists kept emerging. My imagination wasn't brought along on the trip, and I no longer experience the flashbacks from my youthful indulgences. I couldn't be cajoled into enjoying the image of Elvis cavorting with aliens at the age of "between five and ten" and having his gravesite visited by ET. The description of aliens touching him sounded more like something a child would report after abuse. The author's link of Elvis's having a Blue Light hovering over his birthplace while he was being born, supposedly witnessed by his father? Google never heard of it, except in references to this book, and it may have been the origin of Kmart's Blue Light Special. Let's face it, if indeed we have been the subject of study and invasion, I'll be eating a lot of crow, but I have a hard time believing that Elvis would be of any scientific interest, unless it would be an anthropologist investigating the social phenomena of hip-shaking, cow-licked truck drivers.

When I was growing up around the same time as most of these musicians' heydays, none of these events were publicized in the underground newspapers of the day, or on the underground radio stations. My generation, in its teens during the Summer of Love, prided themselves, as much as the burgeoning drug use would permit, of being skeptical of whatever the government would have us believe. We seemed to be enchanted by the possibility of aliens, as an alternative to religion. It might have had something to do with protests against the Vietnam War, the influx of drugs into the Freak and Hippie subculture, and conspiracy theories surrounding the wave of assassinations. Maybe aliens started the Women's Liberation movement, hell yea! I know some of the Jesus freaks that I talked to, along with the Hare Krishnas had this otherworldly quality to them, the blank stare of the group-hypnotized zombies... Those were strange times, I must admit.

There were many science fiction authors who fascinated me, and whose aliens were very "realistically" portrayed. I also read about monsters in space, but had no trouble distinguishing between the reality of Earth, and the tales of dragons, wizards, elves, Ents, and little people. We enjoy these stories because they appeal to our childish and na´ve nature, and take us back to a time when Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were central to our existence. J. R. R. Tolkien's characters were only in books at that time, and we thoroughly enjoyed his creation of whole new fantastic kingdoms, creatures, and histories. The Hobbit and the Trilogy were subjects of many book reviews and drunken wandering in the woods, looking for walking trees, but it was all in fun.

Mr. Luckman is one of those who have taken note of this sentiment and tried to lure us to go a step further. However, his attempts to convince us of the truth of aliens among us fall far short, both empirically and stylistically, of the excellent fiction and video game artists whose distant worlds and peoples we dive-bomb and battle on a daily basis. Mr. Luckman's purpose may have been to bring the head-bangers among us back to reality, not an easy task, but I ain't buying it. I can take it in small doses at the grocery store, but it choked me to read a whole book of it, and I had to hit the (flying) sauce® to get 'er done by Halloween, before the mother ship comes to get me.

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