UFO Propulsion, Vehicle Design and Related Phenomena

By D. V. Williams

Vantage Press, New York, NY, 1998, paper, $12.95.

Reviewed by Scott Bruffey

I remember reading someplace that a great way of making someone feel uncomfortable during a conversation was to tell them that you were a psychiatrist or a priest. I personally found three others: 1.) The introduction of any conversational topic that requires hand puppets to explain; 2.) Starting off any sentence with "Jesus tells us..." and 3.) If anyone asks your opinion on a world event, answer "I think it's demons," whether that answer makes any sense or not. All in all, those are four great ways to keep people from bugging you at cocktail parties.

In his book UFO Propulsion, Vehicle Design and Related Phenomena, author D. V. Williams gives us a fifth: a sobered attempt to explain UFO propulsion systems based on events described in the Bible.

Unlike the traditionally schizoid overtones most UFO-Bible mixtures seem to cultivate, Williams' book is surprisingly tame; he doesn't ramble on for chapters about angel-devil-alien-Freemason conspiracies that eventually spiral down into insanity more closely resembling a season premiere for Battlestar Galactica. He does speculate -- greatly and consistently, in fact -- but that speculation is just used as a vehicle for introducing designs and patents for theoretical propulsion designs and engine systems.

The book is an attempt to rationalize claims that, by the year 2000, we will have discovered two inhabited planets somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy because two books in the Bible offer clear data from which we can determine how UFOs are propelled, and based on that, where they originate from. Williams further claims that these clues were intentionally left in the Bible for us to find when we as a species were technologically advanced enough to do something with the data.

Considering that we have statues and paintings that depict Moses and other biblical-types as having horns on their heads, all because of a mistranslation of a single word, it's amazing to me the trust and foresight these aliens had in predicting that not only would the proper languages evolve with the proper syntax to describe the events in question, but that the events in question would even be remembered at all, much less provide us with enough data from which to extrapolate an error-free design for an advanced interstellar propulsion system.

Personally, I find such a proposition baffling. That's like sitting down to do the Times crossword puzzle and having someone say, "Screw the clues, use this copy of Barnaby Rudge instead. It uses the same words, just work with it until they fit." And which Bible did he use? King James? Living? Satanic? How did the aliens prefigure all the editing that's occurred over the past two thousand years or so?

Williams treats lots of assumptions as fact, far more than I feel like going into here. The main ones that bother me are his certainty that their designs ("they" being Williams and some unnamed collaborators which I find very mysterious) accurately depict how UFOs function, and that aliens are here to abduct our daughters, slaughter our cattle, and steal our natural resources. Uh, did I say his speculations weren't paranoid? Quick, gimme an eraser....

The last time I checked, we didn't have any hard and fast answers concerning any of those phenomena (or for that matter, if the phenomena is actually occurring), just lots of amusing speculation. Amusing to those of us who aren't on forced medication, anyway.

He then goes into tremendous detail on exactly how UFOs work and under what conditions (earth-type conditions, that is) using all these detailed, perfectly symmetrical illustrations that make this a great coloring book for obsessive-compulsive nine-year-olds.

I'll tell you right up front: I'm not a rocket scientist. I do have a pretty good grip on how we believe reality works and the laws (?) with which we measure same, but that's really only because I fell asleep less in science than in other classes back in high school. As far as deep theorizing, well, don't wait up for me. Williams doesn't appear to be a rocket scientist either; his credits list him as having a BS in finance. Still, the science in this book is pretty dense. Lemme throw a quote at ya:

Figure 11 attempts to depict the stabilizing torques. In our drawings we would sum 32 components of torque on the horizontal plane. The general formula for torque is T = I times alpha, where I is called the moment of inertia. The moment of inertia is equal to, in our examples, 1/2 times mass of electromagnetic plate times radius of plate squared ((mr^2)/2 times Alpha). Alpha is the component of angular velocity.

The book goes on for 94 pages like that. I don't know what any of that means. Hell, it took me five minutes just to find that little ^ symbol on my keyboard so I could type it in. Rule of thumb: if a symbol isn't on a touch-tone phone, most people probably don't know what it is and don't care. Except for that little "~" that's all over my browser.

But I digress.

Maybe all that Mr. Mister arch two Moonbase Alpha blah blah does work. I don't know. But if it does, unless he was emailed an engineering schematic from an Alpha Centauri Radio Shack (and it wouldn't surprise me a bit to find one there -- 7-11s either), he and his "associates" were the ones who came up with all this. Giving the Bible or aliens credit for second hand inspiration is fine, but to say he merely copied their designs verbatim is taking humility a little far. No, make that way too far.

Next we'll hear that William Shakespeare claimed that, sure, he threw all the words down on paper, but the real authors are angels or spirits or fairies. I'm sorry, Bill, but until you can prove angels wrote Hamlet, I'm inclined to believe that you had more to do with the authorship than some hypothetical messengers of God.

I can't say that I recommend this book unless you're really wet up for magnetic field theory. If you are, however, and are one of these people who love to talk about the last book you read, just remember to bring your hand puppets.