Steamshovel Press


"Steamshovel Roll Call"
by Kenn Thomas

To start the New Year, here's a review of what a few contributors to Steamshovel Press have been up to lately:

Acharya S:
Still battling the baddies by exposing the parapolitical underpinnings of religious ideology, Acharya has a follow-up to her classic Christ Conspiracy, entitled Suns of God. It pretty much puts to rest many of the criticisms made of the earlier work, but that never slows the attacks from the good Christian/Jewish/Islamic hordes, all of them holier-than-each-other and some them pretending to be objective scholars. She recently revamped her web site, which includes gateways to two discussion groups (one about her work, named after her Christ Conspiracy book, and a free-for-all called From Fun To Superconsciousness) plus a link to a recent video interview.

Skylaire Alfvegren:
Vegas-based writer and Fortean of long-standing, Ms. Alfvegren wrote up the 50th anniversary of Area 51 in the last issue of Steamshovel. Her book, Weird Nevada, is the most eagerly awaited volume in the Weird U. S. series published by Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran, Nevada being among the weirdest states in the union. (The current issue of Sceurman and Moran's magazine, Weird New Jersey, includes a look at a conspiracy involving Bob Dylan and a New Jersey guy who claimed to have written "Blowin' In The Wind".) Ms. Alfvegren is also in the process of founding the Western Fortean Society, a group dedicated to exploring the mysteries of the southwestern states. Her article on the Amazing Randi recently appeared in Las Vegas Weekly and inspired discussion among the troubled souls at the Randi Forum:

Greg Bishop:
Greg made his contribution to the Weird California volume after exposing the Paul Bennewitz affair as a military disinfo campaign in his recently published book, Project Beta. Bennewitz was driven nuts by the Air Force using stories of extraterrestrials that provided a foundation of lore that manipulated the UFOlogical community throughout the 1980s. Greg continues to put this story in front of today's ufologists, scheduled now to speak at the annual UFO conference in Laughlin. Greg also continues to produce his pirate radio show, Radio Mysterioso, for on Sunday nights, exploring all the high ufological weirdness.

Len Bracken:
Len recently published a new novel, Snitch Jacket, and his analysis and photographs of China's economic development since 1979 will appear in the London-based journal Principia Dialectica this month under the title, "The New China Syndrome." Bracken has been otherwise preoccupied with combating the strategy of tension by advancing his theory and practice of dialectical hedonism.

Alexandra Bruce:
Chica Bruce wrote the paperback companion volume to that movie, What The Bleep Do We Know?, entitled Beyond The Bleep. The movie has a lot of talking heads arguing unconvincingly the New Age proposition that "we create our own reality", and somehow basing this on quantum theory. Quite a chore, considering that quantum theory originally set out only to explain equilibrium distribution of electromagnetic radiation in a hollow cavity. Beyond the Bleep has more than a talking head, however-it has a thinking mind. Steamshovel readers will remember that Chica has explicated the Montauk/Philadelphia Experiment material more clearly than any of its associated personalities (Preston Nichols, Al Bielek, etc.). While movie viewers may come away with questions about how or even if quantum theory, as well as advances in neurology, heal Marlee Matelin's broken heart in the movie, Chica tackles the contradictory issues head on: "Is an affluent person, living in a cushy gated community in Sedona superior at 'manifesting' the infinite creative potential of the universe than a slum dweller in Kinshasa? When 'spirituality' gets confused with wishful thinking, combined with Middle American values and judgments, we have a problem..." (She also deals quite thoroughly with the criticism that the film is a propaganda tool for the Ramtha group, declaring herself "resistant" to its motifs.)

Jim Martin:
Famed of the Flatland book service, Jim recently sent a note from the Redding Searchlight, 12/29/05 "Area 51 proposal at least deserves Bureau of Land Management's attention" - It's a creative plan that, on paper, would ensure local control and continued recreational use of Area 51 while making some room for growth. But is it viable? Hard to say....The reason the BLM engages in swaps is that its scattered array of north state property is difficult and expensive to oversee. Consolidation is one tool for repairing that problem, but residents' passion to find creative solutions is another -- and one that will well serve the public good in the long run." Judging only from the description about being difficult and expensive to oversee, a reader might not realize that this is not about the Nevada site but a northern California one nicknamed after it.

Robin Ramsey:
Robin's magazine, Lobster, remains the most respected journal on parapolitics published on this planet, with a rather condescending tone being its main wart. Steamshovel editor Kenn Thomas sent Lobster editor Ramsey a copy of Jim Keith's Saucers of the Illuminati with a new introduction that explicated his (Thomas') relationship with his old writing partner (Keith). Ramsey returned the book unread with a five dollar bill as some kind of measure of contempt for Keith. Elsewhere, the latest Lobster (#50) boasts that a previous small review said more about the Bennewitz story than Greg Bishop said in his book on the subject (and nothing, for instance, about the unpublished affidavit by Lars Hannsen that truly fills in gaps from that period), and otherwise short shrifts writer Christopher Hitchens' points about recent parapolitics - although that's a condescension shared by Hitchens' issue-bereft American critics as well. Still, no other magazine presents the level of detail or depth of perspective that Lobster does, and so, as always, it gets a prime recommend from these quarters.

Curt Rowlett:
A former Merchant Marine and rock musician, Curt wrote some insightful work on the nature of mind controlled assassins for Steamshovel. Now he has produced a book, Labyrinth 13 that explores the topic a little more thoroughly and also mixes in some fascinating forteana - hound phantoms and haunted islands - with analytical insights into mondo subculture phenoms like the Manson family, the Process Church, the Zodiac murders, acid heads and various cults. Curt has mastered the Steamshovel approach of thorough documentation ("rich in important details not included in the main body of the book") and his conversational style is that of a genuine southern gentleman, thoughtful and not lurid or mawkish. Charles Fort himself wrote with similar clarity, but Rowlett seems to know how that sensibility stretches into new areas. Check it our further at

Kenn Thomas:
The Steamshovel editor has two books on the horizon: Parapolitics and Conspiracy Web. The first collects Kenn's writings from various non-Steamshovel places, some lecture notes on the Octopus and Maury Island and some brand new material trying to push the term "parapolitics" to counteract the media label "conspiracy theory". The book also includes a graphic novel depiction of the 9/11 conspiracy by artist Kevin Belford. It will be available from David Childress' AU Press in the spring. The latter book, Conspiracy Web, is due at about the same time, although which publisher remains unknown for complicated conspiratorial reasons. It reviews the parapolitical past, present and future and Kenn hopes to use the material for a set of lectures designed to provide an overview of the global conspiracy culture for new audiences. Kenn is set to speak at the conference in Kempton, IL, south of Chicago in May but will no doubt have other dates loaded up on the schedule before then. Stay tuned to the "Upcoming Appearances" column for details.

Previous From the Editor William Cooper Redux
Previous From the Editor 9-11 Conspiracies
Previous From the Editor Conspiracism
Previous From the Editor Taking Temperature with Michael Moore
Previous From the Editor RIP Ronald Reagan
Previous From the Editor Conspiracy and Credibility in Minneapolis
Previous From the Editor The Octopus Returns
Previous From the Editor Comic Book Conspiracy
Previous From the Editor Michael Kelly and the Conspiracy Fusion
Previous From the Editor Penn, Teller and Bullshit
Previous From the Editor Media Monotone
Previous From the Editor Zevonfest 2002

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