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Remnants of the Gods

Book Review of: Remnants of the Gods

A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in Egypt, Spain, France, Turkey, and Italy

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Review of Remnants of the Gods, by Erich von Daniken (Softcover, 2013)

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)


Yet another outstanding book by an author who always delivers and always delights. Writing with his normal verve and humor, he brings the reader on an informative and intellectually stimulating photographic tour of unexplained (by our conventions) artifacts and monuments in five countries. Over the years, his photography has improved, and consequently this book is visually stunning.

I personally don't have any problem following his logic, but even von Daniken admits that he's talking about things that cross the boundary into absurdity. For example, structures built of of massive stone have a fit and finish that exceeds our modern capabilities yet these have been in existence for thousands of years. Absurd! It can't be possible, can it? Then you look at the nearly 200 photos and illustrations. OK, it's possible because it's there. But how was this done? In a time when stone tools were the height of technology and humans barely subsisted?

He follows this particular theme throughout the book. Look at this, he says. Here are multiple photos showing it from different angles, and these photos capture great detail. The object isn't made up to fit a theory. It exists, and it exists as described.

Confronted with item after item of amazing construction that was completed at at time when "human technology" was an oxymoron, what is the reader to think? Maybe ancient humans were just really good with stone tools? Someone had developed a stone age laser alignment tool using no electronics or power source, so that explains how they so precisely cut and fit the granite? Maybe they didn't need the information technology system required to plan and execute these projects because, uh, they could just wing it? Anyone with experience in large construction projects (in my case, such projects as nuclear power plants, large refineries, and paper mills) would find it absurd that somehow people with the very limited technology and systems of the time somehow built these structures at all, much less so well.

There's controversy over a particular individual's statement, "You didn't build that" but when applied to these structures the statement has a resounding truth. Humans did not build these. At least, not by themselves. If you think possibly they did, go buy a slab of granite and try to make a small-scale structure from it using only stone tools. Then try with any tools you can find. You'll get the idea.

It's not just these structures, but also their locations relative to each other that is amazing. In addition to Von Daniken, other authors have covered the startling fact that cities dating back millennia are located in a precise grid pattern that mountains and other geographical features made impossible until very recently in the progress of human technology. This grid wasn't even discovered until a review of military flight logs led to investigating the spatial relationships of these points on the map.

For these phenomena to come into existence as they have requires very advanced cartography, complex geo-location, highly complex project management, stunning logistics, and tools so advanced we have not yet developed them. Somehow, people who had not yet invented metal tools did all this? It's absurd.

The ubiquitous references to the "gods" throughout ancient history provide a collective clue as to who dunnit. We don't know if these gods were space travelers, beings from another dimension, or perhaps some uber species that somehow erased vast evidence of itself and moved to some other planet. Theories abound. Von Daniken is famous for his theory that the gods were visitors from another planet (or planets). He's sold over 60 million copies of his books expounding and explaining this theory and some of its corollaries. I've read several of these, and have always found them worth reading. Somehow, he manages to make each one different.

Of course, the idea that alien visitors from another planet or dimension visited us raises the question of why we don't see them now. If they invested such resources into building these monuments to our primitive forbears, would they not reveal themselves to us now? Von Daniken explores this question and provides some great food for thought.

Personally, I think they are still looking for signs of intelligent life. Look at what we are doing to the planet and to each other; not very smart. And is it not idiotic to spend vast treasure on vast military systems when most of humanity lacks access to clean potable water? It may very well be that an alien civilization is so fascinated with our lunatic, self-destructive ways that they are just observing us the way we watch a movie about some pathetic character who makes a hash of his life. Or maybe they teach their children how devastating it is when organized crime replaces rule of law, and here is a perfect example.

Perhaps we need to look at these phenomena with the awe of a child, and try to live up to the idea that some civilization from somewhere once valued us enough to walk among us. They left literally massive evidence that they were here. They may have left clues inside the pyramids or other structures, but we are just not yet advanced enough to read those clues. Perhaps if mankind were less destructive, those visitors would return and solve the mystery. The downside there is Von Daniken wouldn't be writing these excellent books anymore. But maybe a good problem to have.

Anyhow, I really liked this book and recommend it to the intellectually curious.


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