Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ringmakers of Saturn by Norman Bergrun

After a few years of wanting to read this book, I finally got my hands on a copy. I have no background in astronomy or ufology but still find the basic premise of this book very intriguing—namely that the rings of Saturn are not naturally occurring but are in fact “made” by giant vehicles.

In this short book, Dr. Bergrun details NASA photos from the Voyager 1 flight that he believes prove the existence of these enormous machines. He begins with a brief history of our observations of the rings, beginning with Galileo and working his way into the 19th century. The author uses these early findings to begin building his case.

Dr. Bergrun believes that these machines are electromagnetic vehicles, or EMVs as he calls them. Exactly what their purpose is (or was) is not made clear, but their size and features are detailed—very big (they are cylindrical and up to 3 or 4 times the diameter of the Earth long) and possibly very old (Dr. Bergrun suggest that they could be as much as 3 or 4 billion years old.) Some of the plates in the book offer interpretations of what they might look like.

The author believes that the infamous Tunguska catastrophe of 1908 was the result of one of these EMVs getting too close to Earth. He also attributes the creation of Mare Orientale area of the moon to be a burn mark left by one of these EMVs.

The book is somewhat technical, but I felt that it was still very approachable to the average reader.

Then there is the big question: do I believe Dr. Bergrun’s theory? For the most part, the answer is yes. I think there certainly could be something to it because he makes a pretty good case for the existence of these vehicles, and photographs make for great selling points. However, I found it hard to see what I was supposed to be seeing in some of the photos. Maybe that is due to my unfamiliarity with NASA photos, but in a few of them I just didn’t see what Dr. Bergrun saw. All of the photos are labeled, and the author did insert markings to point out the objects and important features within them though. There are some very compelling photos as well—these make for strong evidence in Dr. Bergrun’s favor.

I think it would be a mistake to write off the contents of this book as the ravings of a wacko because Dr. Bergrun is anything but. His background and education are impeccable. He was part of NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), the organization that later became NASA, among a long list of other things. His achievements are so impressive it is worth quoting from his website at length:

Norman Bergrun is an alumnus of Ames Research Laboratory, NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) predecessor of Ames Research Center, NASA where he worked twelve years as a research scientist. At Ames, he pioneered the setting of design criteria for airplane thermal ice-prevention and the developing of roll stability laws for airplanes, missiles and rockets.
 He joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (now Lockheed Martin) where he was manager of the planning and analysis of flight tests for the Navy Polaris Underwater Launch Missile System. During his thirteen years at Lockheed, he also served as a senior scientist having responsible analysis cognizance of special space-satellite applications. After a short tour of duty with Nielsen Engineering and Research, in 1971 he founded Bergrun Engineering and Research, parent of Bergrun Research founded in 1999 especially for world wide web activities.
 An Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauics (AIAA), he is active as a leader in Congressional Visits Day events on Capitol Hill. As Deputy Director-at-Large for the AIAA western region, he overlooks section activities in seven western states. Other memberships include The Planetary Society, The Association for the Advancement of Science, The Aviation Hall of Fame, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Federation of American Scientists and the Scientific Faculty, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
 Bergrun holds a BSME degree from Cornell University, an LLB from LaSalle University Extension, a DSc (Hon) from World University and a California Professional Engineer (PE) License. He also has engaged in graduate aerospace studies at Stanford University. He is a founder of the California Society of Professional Engineers Education Foundation, is author of two books Tomorrow's Technology Today and Ringmakers of Saturn and has published over 100 papers. Two recent manuscripts, Lunar Life Forms: Revelations of Apollo 14 and Mars Puts on a Good Face: The Masquerade, have been registered with the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. He has lectured in the United States, Canada, England and Europe.
 Credited with numerous awards and citations including the California Society of Professional Engineers Archimedes Engineering Achievement Award, and Special Service Citations for contributions to the AIAA National Public Policy and to the Regional Sections Activity Committees, he is listed in Marquis "Who's Who in the World", "Who's Who in America", "Who's Who in Science and Engineering", and other reference works.
 Continuing interests include photography, NASA student activities and music, having played as a concert musician at Carnegie Hall with the Cornell University Band and having been a founder of "Aurora Singers", a 64-voice choir.

All in all, this book raises some important questions and will definitely make one think. If these EMVs are real, then where did they come from? What is their purpose? Dr. Bergrun points out that these massive, powerful vehicles could easily obliterate life on our planet, either intentionally or by accident; this is why he begins and ends this book with a plea for world peace and unity. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Allusions of Innocence

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the upcoming anthology Allusion of Innocence from Solarwyrm Press, and I am very glad that I did. It contained a great selection of short stories, 18 in all, each one very different from the others, but all of them relating to children and childhood themes.

Although it deals with children, the collection is intended for an adult audience. There is nothing YA about this one. Some of the stories deal with the supernatural, others are more psychological, and nearly all of them are dark in nature.

The editors did a fantastic job of selecting not only stories that deal with the anthology’s theme, but also choosing a cast of diverse authors. Many of the stories are set in and written by writers from different cultures from around the world. This brings a wonderful flavor to each story; one gets an idea of what life is like in different countries. In a way, it is a great sampling of world literature.

Like any anthology, some of the selections may be more to one’s liking than others. There were a few in this one that I really didn’t understand. Not that they were poorly written, they were just not my thing.

I must admit that at first I wasn’t sure what to make of Recle E. Vibal’s “White Hairs”, but by the end it all came together in a very surprising and shocking way. This is one of my favorites from the entire collection.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing of the stories was “The Cycle of Rebirth” by Mona Opubor. In this one we learn how the concept of reincarnation can be misunderstood when a mentally unstable daughter is taken to India by her father. He probably should have given her her meds…

 “Pulp Adventure”, by Laird Long, is another of my favorites here. An overly serious teenager finds himself transported into an entirely new realm when he stumbles upon his grandfather’s trunk of vintage pulp fiction magazines.

Scathe meic Beorh’s “The Street Game” was another that I really enjoyed reading; however, I feel that this one should have been longer. It seemed to end right when it had me hooked. I think this would be a good beginning chapter of a novel.

“Run Like a girl” by M. Kate Allen is unique in that the roles of the characters are quite different from what you would normally expect. The nerdy girl is the better athlete than (and sort of a bully towards) the jock protagonist. A solid feminist short story.

“The Lying, the Snitch, and the Wardrobe” by Steve Ward is a great mix of psychological horror and gore, with a pinch of the supernatural. By the end, one has to wonder how much of it was real and how much was only the delusion of a twisted mind.

The collection concludes with “The Christmas Dragon” by Tom Trumpinski, a perfect choice. This tale has all the magic of childhood in it, as well as an accurate portrayal of life in medieval times.

It should be noted that there are two stories within this book (“Dolls” by Drake Vaughn and “Monster” by Terence Toh) that have or allude to childhood sexual abuse. If that is a trigger for you, or just a subject you’d rather not read about (neither of them have anything graphic), then you will probably want to skip these two.

In all honesty, this collection exceeded my expectations. All of the stories are well-written and I enjoyed reading them.

Check the publisher’s website, Solarwyrm.com, for updates and the release date (which should be late March or April). You can find the full table of contents for the anthology here: Allusions of Innocence