The Visitor Report - How Did Life Start - Book Review
Robert Vanderzee's The Visitor's Report is unlike any other science (fiction) book I have ever read. Yes, there are UFOs and aliens in it, but while this book does have fictional elements, it reads more like a nonfiction treatise, or perhaps like Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, it can be considered a sui generis - a genre all its own. It is based on suppositions about the true origins of mankind, but those suppositions are grounded in the best available science and logic known to date and they create this book's overall stunning hypothesis about human origins, coming to the conclusion that the theory of intelligent design is a far more likely explanation than creationism or evolution.
Why does Vanderzee give intelligent design the credit for human existence? As the book's back cover explains, "author Robert Vanderzee approached his subject with a mechanical project engineer's eye. Viewing our magnificent universe as a project, Vanderzee began to search for the answers to life's many unanswered questions, unencumbered by religion or conventional thinking, and armed with nothing more than simple curiosity and pure logic." As a project engineer, Vanderzee could imagine what kind of thinking went into the project of creating humanity, and then he considered all the details and planning needed to bring that project to fruition. Along the way, Vanderzee leads the reader through a discussion of various theories about human origins, ultimately determining which ones are not logical and dismissing them in favor of intelligent design. I really appreciated the book's early chapters for their explanation of all this background material, setting up the book's argument for the plot that followed.
I should clarify that while Vanderzee is the author, he is not the narrator. Instead, that role belongs to an unnamed "earth monitor," an alien being who is here to monitor earth and especially humans. This narrator is perhaps the book's main character. There admittedly isn't much in the way of a conventional plot or character development, but nor is there need to be in this unique book. The real plot of The Visitor's Report is the step-by-step logical and scientific explanation of how humans came to exist. And then, once these explanations are given, our earth monitor narrator and his friend Harry, a fellow earth monitor, are invited to attend an alien committee meeting about the current state of mankind in the year 2030 that will discuss the problems humans have created, their genetic and biological flaws, and the perhaps shocking - to the reader and even to some of the earth monitors - solution the committee has to resolve these issues.
The narrator's discussion of mankind's origins touches on creationism, evolution, intelligent design, string theory, and UFOs before laying out what the future of mankind will be. I am no scientist, but I have read and thought enough on these subjects that the conclusions drawn make eminent sense to me. The reader will need a little suspension of disbelief because the author is creating a fictional but likely possibility for mankind's origins, and I felt the arguments against evolution were especially well-reasoned. For example, the narrator points out that just because apes and humans, or even Cro-Magnons and Homo sapiens sapiens, share similar characteristics does not mean that they are branches off of the same tree that goes back to some shared ancestor. Without giving away too much of the book's arguments, I will say that Vanderzee has replaced God with an alien committee that manufactured the earth's inhabitants, and for that reason, they would have used similar components in various creations, so that we can expect apes and humans to have similar characteristics, just as a Ford and Chevy would have similarities common to all cars, but that would not mean the Chevy was the descendant of the Ford.
Yet this alien committee is not omnipotent. It can make mistakes, which explains most of the problems that exist on earth today, and its efforts to correct those problems can also lead to greater problems as the book eventually reveals.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Visitor's Report. I wish I could say more about it, but that would spoil all the fun. Readers can expect a very logically thought-out explanation for mankind's origins that answers many if not all of the great questions humans ponder. While this book does use fictional and creative examples to illustrate its arguments, what Vanderzee presents could very likely be the truth. I was so intrigued by his arguments that I read the entire book in one sitting and am still thinking about it. In fact, while this book is more scientific theory than science fiction, I would call The Visitor's Report a thinking man's form of science fiction and a model for what a lot more science fiction should aspire to be - works that attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe to us and make us see the world and ourselves in new, complex, and surprising ways. After all, the story of mankind may be the greatest story and the greatest mystery of all.