Stranger Things and the Montauk Project

One very successful television series of the last few years has been 'Stranger Things', a thriller-supernatural series centred around several kids who encounter the results of strange experiments being carried out at a base outside their American town. The series has adopted the style of famous books and television series of the eighties, especially those by Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. This combination of up-to-date special effects, a 'conspiracy theory' style plot and the classic eighties vibe, which is very much in fashion at the moment (Ready Player One being a good example) has made the series very successful. This article is all about where they seem to have got the psychic, supernatural, conspiracy-theory ideas for that series.

When the Duffer Brothers originally pitched the series to the producers in Hollywood, they called it 'Montauk'. They created the image opposite as part of their presentation, including the sinister tower in the distance. To quote from the Wikipedia page for Stranger Things:

The series was originally known as Montauk, as the setting of the script was in Montauk, New York and nearby Long Island locations. The brothers had chosen Montauk as it had further Spielberg ties with the film Jaws, where Montauk was used for the fictional setting of Amity Island.

I find this explanation hard to believe, for Montauk Air Force Base, in the Eastern coast of the United States, was already famous among aficionados of conspiracy theories for exactly the kind of experiments that take place in the series. According to some, secret experiments took place underground there in the late Seventies that succeeded in doing all sorts of dark and very strange things.

Sample chapters for 'Amber Robots' sci-fi novel

I have now finished my science-fiction comedy novel 'The Amber Robots of Loving Death'. This novel has been through many incarnations but I'm now perfectly happy with it. I'd describe it as an accessible, though-provoking, fun science-fiction novel for adults. If you'd like to read the first three chapters, here's the file as a pdf. I don't have a publisher for it yet but I'll post any relevant news on this blog as and when.

Here's the first three paragraph:

One million years ago, in the Western Spiral Arm of the Milky Way, there was a beautiful solar system consisting of a golden sun, circled by ten majestic planets. On the system’s third planet lived a race called the Floo. They were highly advanced and had reached the stage in their development where they no longer cared about technology. Instead, they spent their days thinking deeply about about life, the universe and the very nature of existence.

After a century of thought, the Floo came to a sobering conclusion; life was fundamentally about suffering. To exist was to feel pain, cold, hurt, loneliness, heartache and misery. As the Floo were a compassionate and caring species, they were very upset at this state of affairs. They wanted to end that suffering and help all creatures enduring such torment. Eventually, after much discussion and analysis, they decided what they needed to do; kill everyone.

The Floo went over their reasoning many times, but they could see no flaw in their logic. If they truly cared about the endless suffering of all other living creatures, they should do their best to limit that suffering as much as possible, by ending all life in the universe. They therefore built ten-thousand highly-advanced, near-invulnerable machines known as the Amber Robots of Loving Death, all equipped to travel rapidly through the galaxy, annihilating all life as they went, while doing it in as caring and painless a way as possible. The Floo did accept that some living creatures might not actually want to be killed by homicidal mechanoids, and so they programmed their robots to only kill unhappy people. Unfortunately, this didn’t help much as once everyone in the galaxy had heard about the Amber Robots of Loving Death, the sight of one approaching invariably make the person concerned feel very unhappy indeed, which was exactly the wrong way to be.


The Twelfth Planet by Zechariah Sitchin - book review

I have to start this review with a confession. Although Zechariah Sitchin’s ‘The Twelfth Planet’ has been around for a very long time (I now own the 30th Anniversary Edition of the book), I’ve never read it up to now because I felt that its main ideas were too far out to be possible. To explain my scepticism, here's what Sitchin was stating, to the best of my knowledge:

1) The Annunaki, the gods of Ancient Sumer, were from another planet, Nibiru, in our solar system, whose very long, eccentric orbit meant it wasn’t near to Earth for most of a ten-thousand year orbit.
2) The Annunaki were on Earth in ancient times for mining purposes.
3) The Annunaki created a hybrid human, a mixture of themselves and Homo Habilis, four-hundred-thousand years ago, so that they had a worker available to do the back-breaking mining activity.

I was very sceptical about those three ideas for rational reasons. Firstly, I concluded that point 1 wasn't true, as there was no evidence at that time of an eccentric, long-orbit planet around our solar system. I was also very sceptical of point 2 and 3, because I felt that a race from another planet would find the mining and transport of raw metals to another planet far too costly in terms of resources for the activity to be worthwhile.

But this scepticism may have been misplaced. Recently, several scientific developments seem to have boosted Sitchin’s theory. There has been the discovery that a planet around our sun may be a reality, thanks to the studies of orbital anomalies in the Kuiper Belt, the large region of comets on the edge of our solar system. There has also been the genetic discovery that the changes in genes required to turn Homo Habilis into Homo Sapiens are so extensive, specialised and mutually dependent that it’s almost impossible that they could have occurred purely through natural selection. Thirdly, just last week, a scientific report was published describing the discovery of Homo Sapiens bones in an ancient mine in Morocco, bones that have been reliably dated to 300,000 BC, two-hundred-thousand years before Homo Sapiens was supposed to have developed in Africa.

All the above three scientific discoveries are ground-breaking and seem strong enough to force the scientific establishment to rewrite their understanding of major subjects. What’s more, all three discoveries support Sitchin’s theories about the Annunaki. If these ‘gods’ did create a hybrid annunaki-habilis person, Homo Sapiens, four-hundred-thousand years ago, then it would explain both the bizarre acceleration of genetic changes from Habilis to Sapiens and the presence of Homo Sapiens in a mine, three-hundred-thousand years ago.

Because of these developments, I put aside my earlier misgivings and read Sitchin’s book. I’m very pleased I did because it’s an excellent scholarly study. Sitchin’s decision to learn cuneiform as a way to really find out what the Sumerians were saying is exemplary. The book is also very readable and engaging. His ideas may still sound crazy but at the moment, from a scientific point of view, Sitchin’s theory is actually the most plausible theory for our current state on this planet. An ancient, technically advanced race colonising Earth half a million years ago, then hybridising Homo Habilis to create a worker-slave, is actually the most plausible explanation of why Homo Sapiens is here, how our civilisation arrived, appearing from literally nothing in 4,000BC, and where we need to look for answers and further understanding of ourselves and our past. I therefore heartily recommend the book.

'We are not alone' book review and Martian thoughts

This week, I've been reading 'We are not alone' by Dirk Schulze-Makuch and David Darling, a popular science book that reports on and explains the evidence for life in other parts of our solar system and what form that life might take.

The book's first half focusses on Mars and the evidence for life on that planet. That particular topic has been in the news this week. There's been lots of media discussion and NASA press conferences about the significance of tell-tale trails on the martian surface, particularly running down from certain cliffs and mountains. As 'We are not alone' points out, this evidence has been known for ten years or more, and so it's surprising that it's being reported as such a big deal now. The cynic in me would wonder if it's something to do with the release of Matt Damon's latest movie 'The Martian', but that's probably just a coincidence.

As Darling Schulze-Makuch's book explains, the story of evidence for life on Mars kicked off with Percival Lovell and his claims for Martian 'canals'. In truth, Lovell was simply re-iterating an Italian astronomer's observations of 'canali' on Mars, which is Italian for 'channel', but Lovell's embellishments and conclusion that Mars was inhabited by a civilisation struck a popular chord.

Later on, probably the most important episode of 'life on Mars' evidence came from the Viking lander expedition. Devices on the Viking lander found evidence of life in the Martian soil. This evidence should, at least if NASA had followed its own rules, have been enough for scientists to declare that life does exist on Mars, but certain scientists on the NASA panel had their way and the evidence was eventually dismissed as inconclusive. Read More...

UFOs: Something strange is going on

Unidentified Flying Objects are fascinating. I can't imagine anyone who's interested in science-fiction not being interested in flying saucers; they're mysterious, alien, advanced and a little bit scary. What's more, the possibility of aliens visiting Earth, using advanced technology, is perfectly feasible too. From a statistical point of view, the chance that we're entirely alone in the galaxy is virtually nil and the chance that a sentient species on a nearby star has reached a level of technology that enables them to visit us is extremely high.

I used to be sceptical of UFO's being real, because I thought that interstellar travel was physically impossible because of the Laws of Relativity, but after reading a recent paper on manipulating space-time to travel at faster-than-light speeds, I'm now happy to accept that superluminal travel is feasible. If the physics of superluminal travel are fine, then it would be very strange indeed if no aliens had visited us in the past or were visiting us now. Therefore, according to logic and probability, there should be aliens visiting our planet right now and it's highly likely they've been visiting our planet for a long time.

But if that's true, then either those aliens are keeping a very low profile or the powers-that-be leading our countries on Earth know about them and they're keeping the fact a secret. This second possibility shouldn't really come as a shock to anyone. 'Knowledge is Power' goes the old adage and powerful people like to be as powerful as possible. We're therefore left with two possibilities; there are no aliens visiting Earth (which is statistically highly unlikely) or there are aliens visiting Earth and our governments are keeping it secret (which is statistically highly likely, but hard to prove). Which is it? Read More...