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In rehashing most of the garden variety conspiracy theories out there, this book does little to add or subtract from them.

Book Review: UFO, Conspiracy & Beyond by Undisclosed Sources (Donald Ryles PhD)

Call it a direct consequence of my inquisitive nature, or just the desire of an "inquiring mind that wants to know." But I've always been kind of a sucker for a good conspiracy theory. Whether it's UFOs, alien abductions, the secret government, or just those damn Republicans — count me among the true believers who know that "the truth is out there."

I've just always had a sneaking suspicion that there was a lot more to things like Roswell, Area 51, and the like than whatever the government was officially letting on. Besides all of that, I also just happen to love a good story.

Which is why I jumped at the chance to review UFO, Conspiracy & Beyond by Dr. Donald Ryles, an author I have otherwise never heard of despite the fact that I'm fairly well versed in the fringes of UFOs and conspiracy theory. In this book, Ryles compiles a series of anecdotal reports and opinions which come from a number of undisclosed (and unidentified) sources.

The biggest problem with this format comes from the lack of a forward or introduction letting the reader in on just what's going here, choosing instead to jump right into the content itself. The end result is a narrative that runs non-stop from one account to the next, offering little in the way of an explanation on how to distinguish one from the other. 

What the book does tell you from the get-go however, is that Ryles is some sort of PhD, although there was nothing I found either in the book itself or the press materials to verify this. In fact, there is precious little here that tells you much about the author at all. No inside or back cover bios. Pretty much, no nothing.

A quick internet search did reveal that Ryles does have a website, and that he also has another book called Hidden Secrets Of Many But One, where the events of 9/11 were apparently prophesied by a spirit guide in 1997. At about this point, that inquiring mind I mentioned earlier was starting to grow increasingly skeptical.

So the book itself is an interesting enough read, even if, as a result of the format, it tends to veer a bit all over the place.

There are also a lot of gaps in the narrative. Early on in the book, one of Ryles "sources" makes reference to a "previous report" about UFOs that he believes to be a hoax, and then begins to cite the reasons why. The problem here, is that the suspicious report itself is never produced, which only leads to further confuse the reader (or in this case, me). Likewise, when discussing UFOs, Ryles also makes reference to something called "TLOs" — an acronym which I've never heard of before, and which is never explained (or at least I couldn't find one).

Between all of this, most of the garden variety conspiracy theories and subjects out there are rehashed — from time travel to reptilian and grey aliens to mind control to bases on Mars and the moon. One such theory opines that most UFO and abduction cases are probably more the product of government shenanigans than anything extraterrestrial. The real question is whether the source of the technologies displayed in such encounters is something closer to the ground or indeed alien in origin.

In the end, UFO, Conspiracy & Beyond is harmless enough as speculation based entertainment. It raises a few valid questions, but otherwise does little to add or subtract from the fields of Ufology or paranormal investigation. The book also features a "paranormal primer," as well as original poems by Ryles.

This is a noble effort, that with a little more done to unify the various accounts and opinions expressed might have been a worthy addition to the conspiracy "literature" already out there.  Unfortunately, without more in the way of an easier to follow format, or at least an introductory explanation, this book falls short.

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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