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The Martian Factor

Author: Keith Flitcroft
Poseidon Books 2005

Reviewer: Lee Paqui

Having been involved in the UFO field for over forty years, author Keith Flitcroft has an awful lot of information crammed into his head. Information that had to come out somehow. How it has finally emerged is in the form of a ‘novel,’ one based on unarguable fact and couched within the story of an extraterrestrial visitor to Earth, who is charged with an interesting task.

Written from the point of view of a young Martian, placed here on Earth to investigate how the UFO phenomenon is being perceived by humanity, ‘The Martian Factor’ provides a unique and intelligent perspective, not only of Ufology in general, but on the workings of the human mind. It demonstrates clearly how some of us think – and how some of us patently don’t think.

After our Martian is hurriedly dropped off in Canberra, he must first escape a bushfire before he can begin his exploration of planet Earth. Consequently, his investigation begins there, in our nation’s capital, and then proceeds on a state by state exploration of our most intriguing UFO cases. And apart from exploring the UFO phenomenon, the protagonist of the piece must also fit into human society and all that that entails – employment, socialisation and exploration of the human mind – without giving himself away.

Getting a job and buying a car, our Martian takes the reader on a state by state tour of Ufology, It is an interesting narrative device, and the chapter on Queensland is particularly fascinating for its descriptions of the early days of UFORQ (then known as the ‘Bureau’) and the exploration of major Queensland sightings from the 1950s onwards.

‘The Martian Factor’ is notable for its in-depth exploration of Australia’s major sightings and their consequent investigations by government and official bodies and UFO researchers. It describes the objects, craft and occupants that have been seen and encountered. In the guise of our visiting Martian, Mr Flitcroft posits unique theories and points out obvious facts that have been seemingly overlooked. He compares sightings to similar (or the same) objects sighted elsewhere, and notes commonalities between encounters, ie magnetic effects, noises (or lack thereof), associations with water. He also explores the reactions of witnesses, both intellectual and emotional. For the UFO researcher, reading this book is like looking into one’s own head, as strange as that sounds. It’s familar territory, and

‘The Martian Factor’ is a seemingly unlikely but invaluable addition to the UFO researcher’s database. Though it is disguised as a work of fiction, it contains a worthy and accurate history of actual sightings and encounters across this country and beyond. It also accurately portrays average Australians, who are after all the unsuspecting witnesses to this most unexpected phenomenon, and how they are struggling with assimilating the reality of UFOs into their daily life.

‘The Martian Factor’ likely represents the merest tip of Mr Flitcroft’s iceberg of information, but it is a unique introduction to Australian Ufology from its humble and innocuous beginnings, through to the current state of play.

Categories: Reviews

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