Review of “The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture,” by Jason Colvato

The Cult of Alien Gods is the worst book I’ve read all year.


Colvato’s basic claim is that much of modern UFO pop culture is concerned with the twin ideas of lost civilizations and alien visitation. Colvato claims bot of these ideas were created by H.P. Lovecraft, and that the modern UFO flap is a confused retelling of these stories.

It’s easy to prove this wrong because he completely ignores pre-20th century expressions of these ideas. For instance, Mormonism. Colvato seems completely ignorant of this tradition. I don’t know how old the ideas of lost civilizations and alien visitors are, but they are at least as old as Mormonismi, and when Colvato traces these ideas, he seems ignorant of that fact.

For instance, he blasts “racist” pseudo-scientists who theorized of pre-Columbian contact with “Vikings, Druids, or wandering Irish monks.” He ignores Jews, who both Mormons (like Joseph Smith) and pre-Mormon thinkers (like Solomon Spalding) claimed visited America.

Colvato also claims that Ignatius Donelly, an American politician, “planted the seed” for the idea that “the gods were not mental creations but were once flesh-and-blood features.” As Mormons believe this, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are spiritually advanced space aliens, this cannot be true

Colvato’s writing is highly repetitive, and he makes many sloppy mistakes along the way. He also comes across as mean. He accuses others of racism and sexism, he is ignorant of philosophy (confusing Nietzsche’s philosophy on the acceptance of personal suffering with aryan supremacy) and explains only the footnotes that he’s had prior professional involvement with some of the writers he’s criticizing.

I don’t believe that paleo-SETI, the idea we might find aliens by looking at our own history, has been successful. Or that “ancient alien” researchers have produced serious research. But that doesn’t make lazy and dishonest criticisms of them valid. Nor does it make Colvato’s ignorance of philosophy, theology, and history anything but painful to slog through.

I read The Cult of Ancient Aliens in the Kindle Edition.

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