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Captured By Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe





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About the book:

Joel Achenbach (Why Things Are) describes Captured by Aliens as a travelogue, a record of his strange journey into "alien country." With Carl Sagan as a sort of totem animal on this spirit quest (in fact, one of the author's first stops is Sagan's living room), Achenbach plots an eccentric course through the land of UFOs and the search for extraterrestrial life, going from NASA headquarters in Washington, DC to local MUFON meetings, from an asteroid-blasted quarry in Belize to a Las Vegas hotel room in which he's hypnotized by an alien abductee. He even visits the set of the X-Files. (Achenbach reveals Gillian Anderson's very un-Scully-like take on alien beings: "[T]hey operate, vibrate--this is going to make me sound like a complete nut--they vibrate on a different energy level than we do.")

With the investigative skill of a seasoned reporter (which Achenbach is, for the Washington Post) and the wit and charm of an NPR commentator (which he also is), Achenbach turns out to be the perfect companion for such a cosmic road trip. This curious, earnest, and frequently hilarious writer proves equally at ease with legit figures like Sagan and NASA administrator Dan Goldin as he is with self-described "Starseeds" (aliens in human bodies) and technophiles like Mars-booster Bob Zubrin. Achenbach knows his science, but he always brooks just the right amount of nonsense. --Paul Hughes

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