Out There by Howard Blum

by rthieme on April 4, 2007

The Swiss Cheese School of Investigative Reporting

There are many more holes here than substance. The book depicts the author’s journey, including a number of meetings with anonymous sources that lead to nothing newsworthy, and is not a coherent well-researched account of UFO phenomena or its many subsets (black budget research, disinformation deception and cover stories for classified research, aerospace technologies, immense amounts of UFO data from the forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies, research into metamaterials, nanotechnology and cloaking technologies, the psychology sociology and spirituality of UFO investigation and reporting, etc, etc.) so the reader who does not have a broad understanding of the field and its several subcultures will be left more confused and uninformed than when s/he began the book. I understand the publishing pressures to bring such an incomplete account into print and sell the TV and movie rights, in the hope that an X-files-like narrative may result, but the book does not even lend itself to that. Suggestions of conspiracy are light and fluffy, despite the evidence in the book itself for disinformation and intentional confusion on a meaningful scale – and for good reasons. This book shows why a domain that is nine tenths under the water lends itself to just about anybody and everybody saying anything and everything. The bad thing about that is that it might suggest to the uninformed that there is nothing worth investigating. These few dots are not connected to each other or to the many other dots that might suggest plausible and meaningful patterns – patterns that are not simply imposed on the data but are suggested by it as hypotheses worth exploring.

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