3 June 2023


Paul Davies. What's Eating the Universe, and Other Cosmic Questions. Penguin, 2022.

What's Eating the Universe? Is a scientific detective story explaining how age-old cosmic puzzles have recently been solved. It is a fascinating and thought-provoking book by Paul Davies that explores some of the biggest mysteries of the universe. 

Davies, a renowned physicist and writer, takes readers on a journey through the history of cosmology, from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Along the way, he discusses the latest research on dark matter and dark energy. The book begins with a discussion of the Big Bang, the moment when our universe began. Davies explains how scientists have pieced together the evidence for the Big Bang, and he discusses some of the theories about what happened before and after the Big Bang.

One of the most intriguing questions that Davies explores is the possibility that the universe is not eternal, but is instead finite and will eventually come to an end. This idea is supported by the observation that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. If this trend continues, then eventually the universe will become so large that even light will not be able to travel across it. As a result, all of the galaxies will be out of sight of each other, and the universe will effectively cease to exist.

Another fascinating question that Davies discusses is the possibility that we are living in a simulation. This idea is based on the fact that computers are becoming increasingly powerful, and it is conceivable that one day they will be able to simulate a universe that is indistinguishable from our own. If this is the case, then it is possible that we are not real, but are simply characters in a computer program.

The book also explores the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter is an invisible substance that makes up about 85% of the matter in the universe. Dark energy is an even more mysterious substance that is causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate. Davies discusses the latest research on dark matter and dark energy, and he explains how these substances could be affecting the future of the universe. There is no centre of the Universe; in reality every galaxy is moving away from all the others or, instead imagine the space between the Galaxies to be swelling.

In addition to the two main questions discussed above, Davies also explores a number of other fascinating topics in the book, including the possibility of time travel, the existence of extraterrestrial life, and the meaning of life itself. He does this in a way that is both informative and entertaining, and he never shies away from the big questions.

This is a thought-provoking and engaging book that will appeal to anyone interested in the mysteries of the universe. Davies's writing is clear and accessible, and he does a masterful job of explaining complex scientific concepts in a way that is easy to understand. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the universe and our place in it. He is also very good at weaving together scientific research with philosophical and theological insights. The book is full of interesting facts and insights, and it will leave you with a much better understanding of the universe. 

The book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. It is a book that will make you think about the universe in a new way, and it will leave you with a sense of wonder and awe. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the mysteries of the universe, cosmology, astrophysics, and the big questions of life.
  • Gerrard Russell

26 May 2023


Alan Sanderson. Psychiatry and the Spirit World: True Stories on the Survival of Consciousness After Death, Park Street Press. 2022

Right, no doubt you’ll be thinking even after just a casual glance at this book’s title, it’s obviously a hatchet job on the whole afterlife thing, by an out-and-out sceptic. Psychiatry and the spirit world! Has to be a sneery put-down by a hardnosed materialist scientist. Has to be. But you’d be wrong. It very much isn’t. And that might be both most of its charm and at least some of its problem.

21 May 2023


Eleanor Parker. Winters in the World – a Journey Through the Anglo-Saxon Year. Reaktion Books, 2022.

Although this book is presented as an analysis of Anglo-Saxon material relating to the seasons and the calendar, the author's intention is also to introduce the reader to Anglo-Saxon poetry and to share her evident love of the poets' use of words. As a layman reading this book I found the author's enthusiasm infectious. She celebrates the early flourishing of the English language in the two centuries before the Norman conquest; when it briefly replaced, and in turn was again replaced by, the use of Latin. 

16 May 2023


James B Kaler. Heaven's Touch. From Killer Stars to the Seeds of Life, How We Are Connected to the Universe. Princeton Press. 2022 [Paperback]

This is a fascinating and informative book that explores the many ways in which the universe affects our planet and our lives. Kaler, an astronomer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, writes in a clear and engaging style, and he does an excellent job of explaining complex scientific concepts in a way that is accessible to the lay reader.

12 May 2023


Morgiana (A film by Juraj Herz) Czechoslovakia 1972. Second Run Blu Ray 2023

The hectic action of Morgiana occurs in an unspecified time though it’s probably late 19th / early 20th century. The plot is simple: two sisters Viktoria and Klara (played by the same actress Iva Janzurova) inherit a fortune after the death of their wealthy father. Viktoria’s left a small castle, jewellery and other possessions. 

7 May 2023


The 'Archives for the Unexplained' are situated in NorrkΓΆping, Sweden. They were founded in 1973 as the archives of the group UFO-Sweden, but gradually expanded into the largest private, yet publicly accessible collection of books on UFOs, paranormal phenomena, psychical research, cryptozoology, and the whole range of Forteana. 

30 April 2023


Jack Hunter (ed.) Deep Weird; the Varieties of High Strangeness Experience. August Night Press, 2022.

The term 'high strangeness' was coined by J Allen Hynek in his 1974 book, The UFO Experience. He used it to describe accounts which seemed to stray beyond the limits of his Type One, Type Two, etc. classification system for UFO reports, and which were being ignored by UFO researchers who were fearful of stepping outside a 'scientific' approach to the phenomenon.

26 April 2023


Andrew Collins and Gregory L Little. Origin of the Gods. Bear & Co. 2022.

Andrew Collins and Gregory L. Little present a provocative and controversial theory about the origins of human civilization. They argue that our ancestors were not the first intelligent beings on Earth, and that they were aided by extraterrestrial beings in their development of technology and culture.

14 April 2023


It's been quite a while since we noted a new philatelic issue of interest to Forteans, but I know many of our readers will be interested in a new set of stamps from the Isle of Man, commemorating the centenary of the birth of Nigel Kneale, creator of Professor Quatermass. The stamps show portraits of Kneale against background collages representing his books, films and TV dramas. 

12 April 2023


Dee Dee Chainey and Willow Winsham. Treasury of Folklore: Woodlands and Forests: Wild Gods, World Trees and Werewolves. Batsford, 2021.

From time immemorial, the forest has been a liminal space for humankind. Onto this dark, sometimes dangerous environment has been projected many of the fears of our species. In the modern world we can be forgiven for forgetting just how dense and dark woodlands used to be and how much of a physical barrier they were, especially to travel.