cover image The Secret School: Preparation for Contact

The Secret School: Preparation for Contact

Whitley Strieber. HarperCollins Publishers, $24 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018731-6

With this new volume of recovered memories and apocalyptic predictions, Strieber continues the journey he began with Communion, his extraordinarily successful account of alien abduction. While that book was largely about his experiences with ""the visitors,"" the follow-up books, Transformation and Breakthrough, were more concerned with the spiritual implications of alien contact. Strieber now takes this process even further, into prophecy and New Age rumination. He contends that, as a child in San Antonio in the 1950s, he and other children were taken in the middle of the night to a secret school run by aliens in the middle of San Antonio's wild Olmos Basin. The book is structured as a series of ""lessons,"" mostly specific memories of his ninth summer, followed by ""commentaries,"" a series of vague and increasingly wild speculations and predictions. Most of the spiritual content here is a farrago of nearly every New Age preoccupation imaginable--aliens, reincarnation, time travel, millennial disaster, Atlantis, etc.--""proved"" by highly credulous readings of popular science articles. As the author of entertaining and elegantly composed narratives about personal contact with mysterious entities that are unsupported by proof and that purvey a maddeningly vague message of spiritual release, Strieber has become the Carlos Castaneda of the 1990s. Even those who don't believe a word of what he's saying will enjoy his writing--about his Texas boyhood in particular--and his ability to conjure a sense of terror, awe and wonderment. (Jan.)