A few days ago I wrote a review for a terrific thriller, Coincidence Theory by Steven Allinson, a fresh look at the stories of the Biblical story of the Exodus, jammed with detail and edge of the seat tension. The chain reaction was a tumbling effect through the old grey matter to some stuff I read years ago.
Erich Von Daniken made a name with his ideas regarding the origin of some of the more elaborate and puzzling structures and artefacts strewn across our planet, Mayan, Aztec, Egyptian, Minoan, and the most exotic of all; the Atlantean elements, sunken buildings and a myriad of other things. The theory and the subject of his books; Chariots of the Gods, Gold of the Gods, was that earth had been visited in the distant past by space travellers who brought knowledge and technology to the primitive population, and thereby lifted us out of the mud and pointed us towards the stars.
That had my thoughts trailing along the line, did the astronauts who inspired our ancestors, for the sake of the discussion, get their knowledge from an earlier race of travellers and they in turn get it from someone else, you get the drift? So on and so forth back to the beginning of time and the first space faring population. in a universe with a known starting point there has to be a first, right at the beginning of the line.
What if we are the first and not the latest in a line of hand-me-down technologies, then the story of the ancient astronauts is not a memory but a briefing of the task we have yet to fulfil. We may not be alone in the universe but we might the top of the heap regarding technology and invention, and the others out there are waiting for us to boldly go.
I know there is a school of thought that suggests all the space stuff of the sixties was done in the dry and dusty bits of the US, but I can't subscribe to that. Why would anyone want to pretend when we have the imagination and the incentive to do it for real?
The imagination has been there for years, decades, by now centuries, writers, artists and film-makers have explored the idea of travelling off planet, to the moon and beyond as much as they have ventured to the bottom of the sea with their imaginary explorations, and so many of those have become reality. Jules Verne and HG Wells stared at the Moon, Edgar Rice Burroughs went further and went to Mars, Arthur C Clarke wrote his Space Odyssey, where the monolith drew us out from our moon towards Jupiter and engineered the Jovian moon Europa into an evolving planet. He took humanity across the stars to a new home with The Songs Of Distant Earth and leaving this blue jewel behind was part of life, of growing and exploring.
The incentive is because we can, we can imagine it, and by that do it!
Where will yours take you tonight?