Anyway, the argument of his book is this: that our man Lovecraft was the originator of the ancient astronauts meme. Not that H.P. believed in alien astronauts, just that Lovecraft's fiction is where the idea came from: that nobody else before him had floated the idea, in fiction or non, that alien astronauts visited Earth in the distant past and spawned myths of ancient gods. My first instinct was to call bullshit. Surely somebody, some Blavatsky-style Theosophist or Donnelly-style catastrophist or Moonbat-style hoaxer cooked this idea up before the 1920s? But I realized I don't actually know of any. Maybe he's right? If only I had some friends who knew a thing or two about Lovecraft, or old pulps and fantastic fiction, or just general weirdness... Any thoughts, folks?
Whether or not you buy that central argument, the book's a breezy enough history of ancient astronaut hokum. The main part that was unfamiliar to me was the French connection: Colavito pinpoints two French writer-fans, Louis Pauwles and Jacques Bergier, as the missing link between Lovecraft in the 1920s and the von Daniken types in the 1960s and 1970s, and also the point where the ancient astronaut meme jumped the rails from fiction to alleged non. I can't say it didn't make me want to run a game about French New Wave-style filmmakers in Paris 1959 delving into Les Choses Qu'On N'est Pas Censé Pour Savoir. Kind of a Jean-Luc Godard meets Jacques Cousteau thing: The Life Eldritch with Steve Zissou?