Chariots of the Gods

Chariots of the Gods
By Erich von Däniken

Non-fiction? Well, I had to stick it in some category.

The great ur-text of the “ancient aliens” thesis hasn’t aged a bit since its first publication in 1968. Meaning it doesn’t make any more sense now than it did then, while maintaining its infectiously optimistic vision of new frontiers. “Once the improbable things that we cannot even conceive of today are shown to be true, as they will be, barriers will fall, allowing free access to the impossibilities the cosmos still conceals.” Who wouldn’t want to sign on to that?

Being picky, what I find most puzzling is the chronology. When, exactly, were our alien forefathers visiting Earth? Von Däniken can’t say. “Thousands of years ago.” Or maybe tens, or hundreds of thousands of years ago. And they kept coming back, at different times, to check on our progress, at various locations all over the world; seeding technologies, and our women. The sons of God or Ancient Ones being predominantly male.

“Certainly the Ark [of the Covenant] was electrically charged!” That exclamatory assuredness is the book’s signature style. What keeps it all going is Von Däniken’s enthusiasm, which has him leaping from scattered evidence to wild conclusions with the energy and nimbleness of a mountain goat. Because references to giants “haunt the pages of almost all ancient books,” for example, that means “they must have existed.” “So let us enter the new world of the improbable with an open mind and bursting with curiosity!” After all, can you prove that ancient aliens didn’t visit Earth?

2 thoughts on “Chariots of the Gods

  1. I call these book Alt-Histories and am leery about calling them non-fiction. The authors might think they’re non-fiction but is like Tom Cruise writing a book about Scientology…..

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    1. Yeah, I think the defence of calling it non-fiction is that it’s just being put forward as a theory. And von Daniken has admitted on occasion where he was wrong. I don’t think any of it makes a lick of sense, and there have been people who have gone through it and debunked his evidence in detail, but it’s a powerful meme.

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