To boldly imagine the impossible

by Towheed Feroze

rea1It’s apt that when Star trek, the 1966 TV series about space escapades, celebrates 50 years of on screen success, a writer in Bangladesh should produce a book on the search for alien life form.
And, once more, we face that oft asked question: Do they exist?
Well, firstly why get into that argument at all! As a reviewer, the rational side of me says, nope, there is no chance but the undying romantic in me asserts: of course there is something out there, beyond our solar system which will be revealed one day.
The reason we love to believe is because, otherwise, life would become so prosaic. It’s this hope, supported mainly by vague theories that keep on fanning the alien life theory.
Science fiction has always remained a top genre in written and celluloid fiction for nothing, you know! No matter how outlandish the imagination, the human mind manages to accept it simply because there is a latent desire in all of us to keep on looking.
That mysterious sound from the sky above, or that flash of light that does not correspond to any item we know of or, the strange marks on top of the ruins of a dead civilisation – there are countless elements out there which can be used to feed the belief in alien life form.
Obaid in his book, has played on that inner fantasy, touching the UFO mania that resurfaces from time to time and presenting the hard core facts which may not be mouth-watering, but interesting nevertheless in helping us understand mankind’s fascination to look up to the heavens in search of new life.
The intriguing aspect of the human study of alien life form is that while in fiction we have explored the vast universe, setting up colonies, fighting hideous monsters and courting luscious princesses of exotic planets – the real life advance has been somewhat pedestrian.
We are still in the dark about Mars – the planted within our Solar system which, in the 50s and 60s was the topic of so many riveting books and films.
While small facts, mostly not hair raising, are revealed about the red planet, in the realms of fantasy we go into an overdrive conjuring up alien empires, lost space-crafts plus planets ruled by apes.
Coming back to the book, as a UFO enthusiast myself, the chapter on these so-called saucer like space ships from other planets appeared the most thrilling.
Once more the Roswell incident is resurrected by Obaidur. Just to refresh your memory, this was an accident in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 of reportedly an alien craft which the US government allegedly covered up, stating that it was a weather balloon crashing with dummies inside.
But, you know once a conspiracy theory starts, it’s hard to check the proliferation of embellished ideas.
Interestingly, as Obaid writes, there is another thrilling theory in circulation called the Project Serpo exchange, which suggest that the US government had an exchange programme with creatures from planet called Serpo from the Zeta Reticuli star system.
The theory states that the lone alien survivor from the Roswell incident helped the US government establish communication with planet Serpo, 37 light years away from Earth and then, in 1965, 12 astronauts were sent there on an alien ship.
Ok, just to reassure you, I am not smoking pot while I write this!
The point is – all this makes sensational reading! Thanks to Obaid, a lot of romantics will search the net and seek out the Serpo story.
True or false, who cares!
Wait a second, this book does not revolve around conjectures only; there are chapters which deal only with hard core real facts, meaning you will need patience to go through these and they won’t pique the imagination.
Overall, a laudable effort because no matter how backward we remain in space exploration, the truth remains, there is so much which is totally outside our realm of understanding.
There are countless solar systems, millions of stars, planets and common sense states, there must be one place, one spot where some civilization is way ahead of us.
Interestingly, Obaid’s presentation reminds us of a rationale given by another UFO buff plus writer Erich Von Daniken who said in his book, Chariots of the Gods, that the notion of mythical Gods possessing super natural qualities and riding across the skies could not have suddenly dawned on ancient Egyptian, Greek or Indian civilisations if there had not been such entities in reality.
There is a limit to what humans can imagine and ancient human communities, leading rudimentary lives could not have conjured up the ideas of Gods with super natural powers without any real life inspiration.
Be that as it may, despite no clear evidence out there on alien life or civilisations, we keep on weaving fantasies, our large signals always on alert to pick up any unknown noise.
As Star Trek celebrates 50 years and the Star Wars franchise brings out another film, alien life is firmly ensconced in popular culture.
Maybe someday, when we are just particles of dust, the sky may open up and allow a massive space ship to land on Earth but until then, no one is stopping us from boldly exploring new worlds in our mind.
Obaidur Rahman’s book will add a tantalizing touch to those lazy afternoons when you are jaded by the navel thrusts of Munni, Sheila or Jalebi Bai…..