Mars/Cydonia Book Reviews

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The standard reference books on the ongoing investigation into possible ET ruins on Mars include Mark Carlotto's "The Martian Enigmas: A Closer Look," "The Case for the Face," by Stanley V. McDaniel and Monica Rix Paxson (eds.), and "The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever" by Richard Hoagland. McDaniel's landmark expose of the political controversy surrounding Cydonia, "The McDaniel Report," is also must-reading for anyone interested in a balanced treatment of this controversial issue. (In my experience, the self-appointed "skeptics" who condemn the possibility of artificiality on Mars are seldom aware that such publications even exist.)

For a sampling of Mars fiction, click here. For books dealing with other strange phenomena, click here.


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THE MARTIAN ENIGMAS Mark Carlotto

Mark Carlotto's book is a must-buy. Every page is a discovery in itself; the author makes his case, and makes it extremely well: Mars is probably home to non-natural features well within our technological ability to investigate (preferably through manned exploration). "The Martian Enigmas" is a satisfying piece of popular science that effectively sounds the death toll for "skeptics" who insist it's all our imaginations.

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THE MCDANIEL REPORT Stanley McDaniel

Like Carlotto's "The Martian Enigmas," McDaniel's landmark independent assessment of the Martian anomalies is both credible and urgently exciting. McDaniel does a terrific job of demonstrating how NASA has skirted the Cydonia inquiry, calling our space agency's scientific integrity into question and forcing the reader to think critically about this ongoing planetary mystery.

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THE CASE FOR THE FACE Stanley McDaniel, Monica Rix Paxson, eds.

"The Case for the Face" is a thoroughly sensible and compelling account of a small handful of researchers with the intellectual clout to tackle an enigma mainstream science has labled "off-limits": the possible existence of alien artifacts in our solar system. The contributors raise fascinating possibilities that we would be wise to examine in depth. Validating the existence of probable artificial structures on Mars is an opportunity we can't afford to miss through fear of offending the status quo.

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THE MONUMENTS OF MARS Richard Hoagland

Now in its fifth addition, Richard Hoagland's "The Monuments of Mars" is a seminal contribution to the debate over possible artifacts on the Martian surface, and immensely fun to read. Both speculative and practical, Hoagland provides a fascinating look at the scientific underground that initiated the "Face on Mars" inquiry and offers hypotheses to explain what we might be seeing on Mars' mysterious surface. "The Monuments of Mars" is controversial and totally engaging.

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THE MONKEY AND THE TETRAHEDRON David Jinks

In "The Monkey and the Tetrahedron" Jinks accomplishes an articulate and intellectually satisfying synthesis of "paranormal" matters, skillfully addressing apparent artificial structures on the Moon and Mars, breaking developments in "cold fusion" research, and the UFO phenomenon. Ambitious and well-wrought, "The Monkey and the Tetrahedron" bristles with new ideas we'll have to wrestle with in one way or another as we step forward into the 21st century.

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THE MARS MYSTERY Graham Hancock

Guerilla historian Graham Hancock's tome on the hypothesized connetion between Earth's fate and the enigmas on Mars makes for an interesting cautionary read. "The Mars Mystery" is a thoughtful speculative work that bravely confronts scientific and historical enigmas.

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ARCHITECTS OF THE UNDERWORLD Bruce Rux

"Architects of the Underworld" by Bruce Rux is a compulsively readable, intelligently constructed encyclopedia of unexplained alien phenomena. Rux attempts to link UFOs and alien abductions with the Face on Mars, drawing on a variety of esoteric sources. While I disagree with Rux' thesis, "Architects of the Underworld" is worth reading for its panoramic slant on mysteries old and new.

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NOTHING IN THIS BOOK IS TRUE, BUT IT'S EXACTLY HOW THINGS ARE Bob Frissell

Bob Frissell's "Nothing in This Book Is True, But It's Exactly How Things Are" (now in its third, expanded edition) is one man's attempt to reconcile subjective truths with a bewildering postmodern universe consisting of alien Grays, monumental architecture on Mars, secret government conspiracies, and sacred geometry. Copiously illustrated and written with surprising lucidity, Frissell's manifesto is an illuminating crack in the wall of orthodox thought. "Nothing..." is an intriguing compliment to other works that attempt to "explain it all," such as David Jinks' excellent "The Monkey and the Tetrahedron" and Bruce Rux' wildly credulous "Architects of the Underworld." Take the plunge!

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DEAD MARS, DYING EARTH John Brandenburg, Monica Rix Paxson

"Dead Mars, Dying Earth" is a meticulous and elegantly crafted story of two worlds. The authors take us on a rigorous journey from dry and inhospitable Mars (where the remains of an apparent extraterrestrial civilization beckon) to Earth of the early 21st century, poised on the edge of ecological catastrophe as a result of global warming. Is our planet heading for the same fate that befell Mars, our closest planetary neighbor, and if so, what can we do about it? Urgent and arresting, "Dead Mars, Dying Earth" has already been called the "Silent Spring" of the new millennium. Read either as a behind-the-scenes expose of the forbidden science of planetary SETI or as an erudite work of comparitive planetology, this unflinching look at what our species is doing to our planet deserves a vast audience.

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MARTIAN GENESIS, THE ATLANTIS ENIGMA and THE SECRET HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT Herbie Brennan

In this quick, highly readable volume, Brennan suggests that the human race originated on Mars and cites archaeological anomalies that may eventually lead our species to a profound redefinition of who and what we are. "Martian Genesis" contains many "ancient astronaut" cliches, but remains thought-provoking. The question Brennan addresses cannot be comfortably brushed aside: If the Martian "Face" is artificial, then what does it say about our evolutionary heritage?

Continuing in the same archaeological vein as "Martian Genesis," Brennan's "The Atlantis Enigma" is a thought-provoking reappraisal of human history. Taking Plato's poetic description of the lost civilization of Atlantis as a starting point, Brennan subjects orthodox anthropological theories to late-breaking findings including (but by no means limited to) the construction of the Pyramids and Sphinx, convergent world mythologies, tectonic upheaval, and meteor collisions. Brennan argues that the Ice Age was preceded by a technologically sophisticated global civilization that was obliterated by a "supernova fragment." Brennan's book is open to argument, but it's incisive, well-cited and potentially illuminating.

"The Secret History of Ancient Egypt" is a provocative companion to Brennan's "Martian Genesis" and "The Atlantis Enigma," and possibly the most entertaining layman's synopsis of Ancient Egypt's strange and contradictory history yet written. Brennan may not have all the answers, but he asks the right questions and offers frank, intriguing speculation to bolster his thesis: that Egypt's history is thousands of years longer than maintained by orthodox historians. Recommended for skeptics and committed students of "forbidden archaeology."

AFTER THE MARTIAN APOCALYPSE Mac Tonnies

My own contribution to the Cydonia/SETI debate. Highly speculative and up-to-date.


Related titles...

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PROBABILITY 1 Amir Aczel

Most astronomers concede that life (of some sort) elsewhere in space is a statistical inevitability. Amir Aczel's "Probability 1" is the only book I know that goes so far as to "prove" this assertion. Aczel introduces the reader to the realm of probability theory, zeroing in on one of the human race's most beckoning questions: are we alone? According to Aczel, we aren't. Regardess of whether or not one endorses the author's mathematics, Aczel's study of the likelihood of extraterrestrial life is a significant and interesting book that succeeds in conveying the sheer vastness of the Cosmos.

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THE CASE FOR MARS Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner

Mars guru Robert Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" is easily the most inspiring book on space exploration since Gerard K. O'Neill's "The High Frontier." Zubrin and Wagner offer a convincing case for colonizing Mars, documenting novel technologies that challenge the way we think about rocket propulsion and life support. "The Case for Mars" describes in detail how propellant and water can be extracted from the Martian surface, allowing colonists to "live off the land" in a time-honored pioneer spirit. "The Case for Mars" is an invigorating call to arms.

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THE HIGH FRONTIER Gerard K. O'Neill

"The High Frontier," published in the 1970s, served as the manifesto for the L5 movement. O'Neill elegantly presents his case for near-Earth space colonization as a way to curb rising populations and provide cheap, renewable energy to Earth-bound and space-based communities. This book is not the utopian blather one may expect. O'Neill's visions of lunar mining facilities, geosynchronous microwave transmitters and spheroid orbital habitats (capable of housing thousands in literally unearthly comfort) are grounded firmly on established engineering principles. Had we heeded O'Neill's advice, the late 1990s would have witnessed an explosion of space infrastructure and a decisive cure for many of our planetary ills. Ironically, "The High Frontier" reads at least as sensibly as it did twenty years ago. O'Neill's dream is one we would do well to remember.

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THE COMING GLOBAL SUPERSTORM Art Bell, Whitley Strieber

Bell and Strieber's "The Coming Global Superstorm" is an articulate speculative book that predicts a possible "superstorm" brought on by cyclic changes in the North Atlantic Current. Strieber presents compelling evidence that such "superstorms" have happened before, and muses that perhaps our civilization was prefigured by another that perished in prehistory (the victim of ancient climatic chaos). Strieber and Bell are nonscientists, but their apocalyptic theory is a welcome addition to the debate over our disintegrating global climate. Let's just hope they're wrong.

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THE COSMIC CONNECTION Carl Sagan

Newly reissued, "The Cosmic Connection" is a liberating exploration of extraterrestrial intelligence. "The Cosmic Connection" addresses interstellar radio communication and travel throughout the galactic neighborhood. Sagan seems remarkably comfortable with the notion of alien civilizations in Earth's proximity--an attitude that, via the machinations of science politics, he did his best to shroud in academia before his untimely death.

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THE TWELFTH PLANET Zechariah Sitchin

Zechariah Sitchin's cult classic "The Twelfth Planet" (and the rest of his exhaustively argued "Earth Chronicles") insists that humankind is the result of long-ago genetic engineering by entities from another planet. Crafted and (sometimes liberally) "reconstructed" from Sumerian and biblical texts, Sitchin's scientific naivete is overshadowed by some very real historical anomalies, suggesting that his sweeping "ancient astronaut" saga just might be close to the truth. Whatever your interpretation of Sitchin's elaborate hypothesis, "The Twelfth Planet" is an unusual and important book that casts the social and genetic legacy of homo sapiens in a stirring, eerily plausible light.

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