Whitley Strieber

This is the tale of Strieber's personal visits with several folks from outer space. They take him off in the woods, stick things up his nose, into his brain, and:
    I was being shown an enormous and extremely ugly object, gray and scaly, with a sort of network of wires on the end. It was at least a foot long, narrow, and triangular in structure. They inserted this thing in my rectum. It seemed to swarm into me as if it had a life of its own ... I had the impression I was being raped, and for the first time I felt anger.
(When I read this passage to a friend, he said, "Obviously they came from Uranus.")

Strieber claims that he has been having strange experiences all his life, including levitating above a train when he was twelve, being visited by a giant praying mantis when he was camping as a youth, missing whole days when he was in college, losing weeks during a trip to Europe, disappearing in mysterious fogs, and, the ultimate, waking up in his cabin in upstate New York with a three foot feller at his bedside, who hit him on the head with a wand, told him to "be a good soldier" --- and then took him off into the woods, where he gave him the aforementioned triangular shaft.

Communion is slick, easy to read, hard to put down. It is convincing in some ways; in some ways it is not. As a professional, Strieber has the ability to cast a writer's spell, so that when I am reading this at 3:00 A.M., and a bald-headed Rumpelstiltskin with pointy eyes pokes his head around my door, and tells me (in word pictures) that he is ready to take me out to the woods for a proctological exam, and when the humming starts up outside the bedroom window --- I know I am a goner. I may be in line for a visit from the Mata Hari of the bug-eyed world, who's

    got a big head and her eyes have bulges ... she's sort of brown-skinned, not like a black person but like leather. Yellow-brown. And when she opens her mouth her lips are all --- she hasn't got lips exactly --- but it flops down. Her lips are floppy. I never saw her talking to me. You know, the truth is, I don't know what that is. I don't know whether it's a bug or not. And I also don't know if it's a woman or not.

Strieber so wants us to believe these stories of his meetings with "the visitors" that he has lie-detector tests, goes to a shrink, gets hypnotized, gets the session recorded, transcribes it, and puts it in the middle of the book so we can read it. But he protests too much: his stories and theories go on and on. They are certainly far less interesting than his revelation of triangular inter- (or intra-) planetary probes.

People like him always turn up at wedding parties, don't they, and if you listen to them for a few minutes, you're a goner, for they'll blister your ear if there's no one around to rescue you. After awhile, you end up disbelieving what they are telling you because they won't shut up. Is he delusional? Some would say probably, and others would say magnificently. The real key to Communion is whether you believe already, or whether you would rather believe that this is merely the gabbiest pen in the East.

--- Franklin Bower
[Drawing by Pete Blind]   

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