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The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft And Extraterrestrial Pop Culture Paperback – December 30, 2005
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Combining literary theory, cultural criticism and muckraking, Colavito aims to debunk alternative history-believing, for instance, that aliens genetically engineered human life-but gets swept up in the frenzy of his own arguments and ends up positing "the western world is now adrift amidst its own decadence and decline." Colavito, a former believer in alternative history, traces the various beliefs' roots to H.P. Lovecraft's fiction. He does a fair job of presenting his case, using a great deal of textual analysis, but believers will dismiss it as yet another attempt to suppress the "truth," while those who haven't been immersed in the literature are likely to be bewildered or indifferent. Colavito tries to address this concern with broad theories about why such ideas have taken hold and what it shows about the state of humanity, a line of exposition that grows more prevalent and less persuasive as the book progresses; Colavito resorts to sweeping generalizations the reader must buy into for the rest to follow-an especially difficult proposition given Colavito's credentials (he is a freelance writer, not a historian or sociologist). Though the writing is engaging and the topic intriguing, readers will be frustrated by Colavito's frequent forays to the soapbox.
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"Fans of fantasy/horror writer H.P. Lovecraft must add The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture to their reading lists."
- California Bookwatch
"Combining literary theory, cultural criticism and muckraking, Colavito aims to debunk alternative history…He does a fair job of presenting his case, using a great deal of textual analysis, but believers will dismiss it as yet another attempt to suppress the "truth," while those who haven't been immersed in the literature are likely to be bewildered or indifferent…the writing is engaging and the topic intriguing…"
- Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
I also have to take away a point for the soapbox feel of the book. Yes, maybe science has lost some ground, maybe it has become a tool to be used in supporting beliefs and ideas that, by themselves, are nothing but pop fantasy and UFO nonsense. But that is a whole different book and, really, should not be raved about in this one.
May I suggest watching Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown if you want another view point of Lovecraft and his work?
But one of the most enjoyable ones has been Jason Colavito's The Cult of Alien Gods. It wonderfully goes through the literary sources of Erich von Daniken and his successors, but its major thesis is about how the ideas originate in the fictional works of American author H.P. Lovecraft. Colavito basically proves that Lovecraft is the source behind the works (mainly French) that would try to prove there were aliens in the distant past, and those were the sources utilized by von Daniken later on.
The book isn't a debunking book, though it does take the time occasionally the eviscerate the claims of von Daniken, Graham Hancock, and others. Another joy is that it also gives the historical background to Lovecraft's work (from the poetry of Poe to the Theosophical Society) as well as the cultural matrix that made the ancient astronaut ideas take off, especially in America.
You will learn not just about a pseudo-historical idea, but also about real history and literature. It does great work all around to make its thesis work and teach you many other things.
The only gripe I have is that it tends to blame a lot of this on postmodernism, which I find to be a weak thesis. There were crazy ideas like this before Derrida (Ignatius Donnelley was big in the 19th century with his Atlantis ideas), and most people are not reading 20th century philosophers or literary critics. It's more about what people want to believe (which Colavito notes), and the philosophical rationalizations are an afterthought for most, if they ever even consider it.
Try to get a copy of this book, and you will be able to see what is going on with the ancient astronauts as well as learn to appreciate the Cthulhu Mythos all the more.
I'm sure some people would love to argue certain aspects of this work, but I feel that's what the author wanted. Great compare and contrast by the author, and he plays the middle grounds between science and pseudo-science like a genius.
Most recent customer reviews
Colvato’s basic claims is that much of modern UFO pop culture is concerned with the twin ideas of lost...Read more