Book claims to solve Roswell mystery, but 2 SF greats knew better

The author of a new book claims to have solved the mystery of the Roswell UFO incident, when in fact two legendary SF writers learned the truth decades earlier.

Just out in bookstores is Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen. According to Badass Digest, Jacobsen claims to uncover all the secrets behind the mysterious Air Force base in Nevada, with the help of a number of people who used to work at the top-secret installation.

Right off the bat—in Chapter One, in fact—Jacobsen makes the surprising revelation that a key early moment in the base's history came as a result of the 1947 crash in Roswell, N.M., in which many believe an alien spacecraft smashed into the Earth and its wreckage was carted away for study at what became Area 51.

According to Jacobsen, the wrecked craft wasn't an alien vehicle at all, but an advanced Russian spy plane that the Russians designed with the help of Nazi scientists recruited after World War II (we did something similar, called Operation Paperclip). The plane was piloted not by aliens but by "deformed" teenagers, of whom two survived.

However, fans of science fiction literature know better. Two great SF writers, Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson, went in search of the alien spacecraft themselves—or least the truth about the story—when they heard about the Roswell incident as young men. But they ended up concluding that the whole thing was a bunch of nonsense, and that the object that crashed in New Mexico was nothing but a weather balloon.

Jacobsen's book might be a fun read for conspiracy and UFO buffs—we may check it out ourselves—but when it comes to the truth about Roswell, who are you going to believe—someone trying to make a few bucks with a new book or two of SF's greatest storytellers?

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