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Alien Worlds
Social and Religious Dimensions of Extraterrestrial Contact

Edited by Diana G. Tumminia

Paper $34.95    |    978-0-8156-0858-5    |    2007

Discusses the controversial culture of UFOs, extraterrestrial phenomena, and cosmic mysteries.

"The American cultural mainstream is broadly aware of the proposal that aliens have made contact with humans on Earth. Since a spaceship reportedly crashed near Roswell, NM in 1947, thousands of reports have surfaced of friendly visits to ‘contactees’ or hostile encounters with ‘abductees.’ Thanks to movies and television programs (e.g., Star Wars and The X-Files), millions of people are familiar with the notion of alien contact. The general public remains skeptical about the reality of these claims; instead, most view the Sci-Fi channel and read science-fiction novels for escape entertainment. However, some people believe in the reality of an alien world, and a few have appropriated this idea to create new religions, such as the Raelians, Solar Temple, and Heaven’s Gate. The foundation for these belief systems is that people have imperiled the planet’s existence by ignoring ecological and nuclear threats. By virtue of their superior intelligence and technology the aliens are the saviors in these new religions. This book’s essays explore many related and debated issues such as reasons for the appeal of the movement, the possibility of channeling, out-of-body experiences, and the nature of belief itself. The authors provide a splendid introduction to the religious dimensions of extraterrestrial contact. Highly recommended."

This intriguing collection of essays presents reflections upon the birth, proliferation, enduring appeal, and future of extraterrestrial mythology. Highly respected authors and researchers representing the varied and sometimes competing perspectives of ufology and the sociology of religion provide a fascinating and instructive voyage into the social worlds of UFOs, abductees, and contactees. Reports of aliens and the changing nature of abduction experience, even its sexual dimension, are explored in relation to literature, cultural practices, and ideology. The influence of abduction therapy and support groups is considered, as are New Religious Movements with extraterrestrial themes.

Alien Worlds will enlighten anyone wanting to understand what and how the academic world thinks about UFOs, contactee groups, and alien phenomena.

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Diana G. Tumminia teaches sociology at California State University, Sacramento. She is author of When Prophecy Never Fails: Myth and Reality in a Flying-Saucer Group.

7 x 10, 360 pages, 18 black-and-white illustrations, appendices, index

Alien Worlds

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