A writer, historian, and geek through and through. I focus on fantasy, science fiction and whatever comes my way. I am writing and drawing a webcomic called Booger Balls Inc, and I'm working on two graphic novels as well.
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Chariots of the Gods is a story that has stirred curiosity over the test of time and our own Seth Frederiksen is here to remind us why.
Fewer works have had as much as an influence in the realms of fiction and science and still retain its initial luster over the decades. Many begin to wain away with time, being remembered by the few who still seek to find this hidden knowledge. One work that stands as the exception to this rule is the book Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken. The book is one of the quintessential treatises on the Ancient Astronaut theory, as well as being credited with introducing this theory into the mainstream audience and not outliers of the sciences.
The theory focuses on the postulation that many of our religions, myths and legendary figures were in fact visitors from other worlds. This theory has influenced many science fiction novels, television series, films throughout the years. Examples of these include Star Trek, Ancient Aliens, and the Aliens franchise (especially the recent entry Prometheus.) Though the idea has been the focus of fictional works, non-fiction works are lesser known, as they are usually passed off as many as simply whims of fancy.
With the reputation of the book preceding this reading, it was somewhat disappointing. One of the first traits noticed while reading the work is the somewhat rushed decisions, when it comes to connecting the evidence between historical and archaeological findings Daniken uses to help support his arguments. Though Erich von Daniken didn’t use the phrase in the work, the meme “I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens,” was playing heavily while reading the book.
This wasn’t entirely at the fault of the writer. Until an alien can be found, interviewed, and prove that aliens did in fact land on the earth, it’s a little hard to make the argument without a few holes. And even then, there’s probably going to be a few hold outs who will think that this is a facade to fool the masses. Despite that, the rapid shooting logic seemed to be a little disconcerting in assuaging the skeptics who do not take the theory at face value.
Secondly, Daniken spends much of the work focusing on how we might become versions of Ancient Astronauts ourselves when we begin our ascent into the stars. This would not be so much of a problem, but this comprises a good third of the book. A chapter would’ve been great, but after a while it becomes somewhat boring. It would’ve been nice to have had more time devoted to further defend and provide evidence to support his theory.
Thirdly, there seems to be this wild fear within many of the Ancient Astronaut proponents that some of the evidence brought forth might be simply be the result of a person’s active imagination. This is not to entirely discount the chance that visitors have played a role in human history. But there’s also a high possibility that many of the artistic examples used to support Daniken’s argument could’ve been just by the artist. Simple as that.
This is not a full on attack on the idea of the Ancient Astronaut or on Erich von Daniken’s particular argument. As much as there is no evidence to completely support this theory, there is still no final evidence to prove that it’s just fiction. So to pass it off as hokum is not only ignorant, it’s simply foolish. The history of science began as speculation and unproven theories, and eventually many of the scientific fields were proven to valid and beyond speculation. So to pass the theory off without giving it some real examination would be foolhardy to say the least.
The book is definitely worth a read for anyone who is interested in getting an introduction to the Ancient Astronaut theory. Many of the tenements and the strongest examples for the theory are cited. Erich von Daniken’s book did have its cracks in the armor, but its still worth a read. Many science fictions fans would appreciate what’s brought up throughout the book, and there are plenty of ideas for new stories.
Seth Frederiksen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @SenseiSeth
An interesting book to read over a weekend. It has some interesting moments but nothing that would make you reconsider your thoughts on subject discussed.