Friday, 21 November 2008

Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs – Gregory L. Reece ***

What can I say? It’s a subject I love. I’ve also enjoyed books on fringe science, why people believe strange things and science fiction, so this seemed an ideal book. So it’s a terrible disappointment to have to tell you it’s not very good. There are two big problems with this book. One is that the range of subject matter is rather random – bigfoots (bigfeet?), lost worlds and the hollow earth, ancient wonders and the alleged technology of genius/madman Nikola Tesla. Of these, far too much of the book – the first 100 pages of small print – is on bigfoot. The second problem is that the writing is simply not up to scratch. It’s more like the collection of notes for a book than a real book, and somehow Gregory Reece manages to take these fascinating subjects and make them, well, dull.
When I call the subjects fascinating, I ought to clarify that I don’t believe that, for example, the earth is hollow and mole men live inside it. But the people who do believe this have an interesting delusion, and there’s been plenty of science fiction based on the concept. Technically it’s mostly weird pseudo-science, rather than weird science – but that shouldn’t stop it being interesting in principle.
It’s just possible that my lack of interest in bigfoot put me of early on – but I’ve always been fascinated by Tesla and even this section failed to lift my enthusiasm. There’s good material in here, but the writer was sadly not up to turning it into an effective book.

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