Thursday, February 01, 2007

Book-A-Day #200 (2/1): An Account of a Meeting with Denizens of Another World, 1871 by David Langford

Book-A-Day ends with a quirky SFnal book with an exceptionally long title, which seems only fitting.

I've been reading this book for about a week, at various times -- I kept putting it down because I found it a bit tedious and hard to get through, but the thing is only 94 pages long, so I finally did make it to the end this morning.

This is one of Langford's earliest books, and is ostensibly a manuscript by one William Robert Loosely, a Buckinghamshire cabinetmaker, who had an encounter with a UFO in 1871. Loosely's short account is prefaced by some background on the UFO thinking of the time (the late 1970s) and followed by a too-long, and too-dry, explanation of what the aliens were trying to explain to the reasonably intelligent but not scientifically educated Loosely.

An Account was actually written entirely by Langford, and I suspect that it's meant as a parody of either contactee memoirs (not as likely) or of some type of UFO explication he encountered in the '70s. Langford's essay "The Question of Interpretation" has the feeling of prose that's supposed to be dull, for a particular purpose, but, if there was any parody intended, it's lost on me now.

The fact that this apparently hasn't been reprinted since its original 1979 edition also leads me to suspect that it's generally considered of its time, and a minor work by someone who did much better stuff later. So, unless you're a Langford completest (and I guess I am, since I have this) or have a serious historical interest in UFO literature, this would be a book to avoid.

The Fabulous Book-A-Day Index!

And...that's a wrap. Book-A-Day is now over. Even if I happen to finish reading a book tomorrow (which is possible), it won't count. I'll probably still post "Just Read" bits on the pleasure books I just finished, but I'll avoid talking about books I'm reading for the SFBC, since saying "this publishes in four months, so I shouldn't talk about the plot" over and over is getting old. And I do expect to restart "Reading Into the Past" next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The fact that this apparently hasn't been reprinted since its original 1979 edition [...]"

Actually, that's not _exactly_ true:

You need to go about halfway through that essay to read the relevent bit.

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