Thursday, December 28, 2017

Book Reviewers: We Want ANSWERS!

After reading dozens and dozens of book reviews of various paranormal and UFO books, I noticed that many of those giving negative reviews were coming from one of two places. One, some were uber-skeptic debunkers and didn't have much to say other than shouting BUNK! The other seems to be a deep seated irritation that the author didn't give an answer to what UFOs are, or aliens, or ghosts, or Mothman, or MIB, or Sasquatch . . . Impatient with the author's exploring many theories instead of just one, the reviewer then gives the book a negative review based on the lack of an answer to the mystery being explored.

When I pick up a book on UFOs, the paranormal, cryptids, or other anomalous areas, I don't expect an answer. For one thing, it's only the writer's opinion -- it's never THE BIG ANSWER. Can't be. If it were, the world would be a different place. Paradigms would be shifted. Turned upside down. Inside out. So I don't expect a book to give me an answer, because it can't. All a writer can do is give their perspective.  Which is enough for me.

I read these books because of my intense interest in the subjects. I like to hear the narratives of others, find patterns, relate experiences to my own, discover what the author thinks. Which is different than giving us an answer.

When it comes to the world of the weird, our 'Goblin Universe' -- we might have some provocative physical evidence (that doesn't prove anything, just leaves us with tantalizing hints) but pretty much, we have mountains of witness reports. Anecdotal evidence. Which is not worthless at all. Within that data one can find patterns, connections, synchronicities, parallels and similarities to one's own experiences, historical information. Which then can lead us to develop our own ideas. Inspire us. Encourage us to keep studying. Compare with other works in the same field.

It's the writer's job to be honest (I do expect that!), respectful of witnesses, and to present his or her data clearly. Each writer has their own style and tone, and it's a matter of personal taste for the reader to decide which they prefer. (Myself, I like a variety; as long as I think the writer is ethical.)

But the rest is up to the reader. Hopefully the reader is inspired and motivated to seek more on her own. Not be fed easy answers to mysteries that have remained with us for centuries. No one book can do that, and I don't expect any one book to do that.

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