Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alternative 3

In all of conspiracy lore, this is one of my absolute favorites.
It all started with a documentary film aired on the BBC back in the late 1970s.  The initial purpose of the program was to investigate the so-called "brain drain," the glut of mysterious deaths and disappearances of individuals in the fields of science and engineering.  A bit of detective work ensues, unraveling the details of just where these scientific minds have ended up...and into what insidious plot they've become involved.
Apparently, both U.S. and Soviet (at the time) officials determined that the planet Earth was not long for this universe. Pollution, overpopulation, climate change, and the resulting natural disasters would soon leave the surface of our world nigh uninhabitable.  A series of solutions were then formulated.
Alternative 1 involved the detonation of nuclear weapons high in the atmosphere while simultaneously reducing the world population.  The explosions would open holes for heat and gas to vent into space and a few engineered viruses would tidy up the excess of the herd.  This was deemed unfeasible.  
Alternative 2 was to commence construction of massive underground cities ("Mr. President, I vould not rule out ze possibility uv preserving ze human race.  At ze bottom uv our deepest mineshafts.")  that could house the wealthy, the powerful, and the genetically desirable ("seleczhun zould be made on ze basis of youth, health, vital skills, und sexual fertility.")  For whatever reason, this wasn't green-lighted either.
That left Alternative 3.  In this scenario, a colony would be constructed on Mars via a way station on the Moon.  Something that, according to the documentary, had been going on for decades.
The journalists eventually find a U.S. astronaut named "Bob Grodin," who claimed that while walking on the Moon, he accidentally came across the domed cities of Alternative 3.  What's more, a video tape is provided that shows the first human landing on Mars...in 1962.  In the footage, Russian and American voices excitedly celebrate their achievement, then something stirs beneath the red Martian soil....  

It should go without saying that this was all a big joke.  The BBC admitted as much, saying the documentary was intended to be an April Fool's spoof in the tradition of Orson Welles and War of the Worlds, only without all the unsightly panic and the cops in riot gear.  The discerning viewer probably didn't need the announcement however, given such tip-offs as no astronaut named "Bob Grodin" ever went on a Moon mission and that the film's music was provided by Brian Eno, legendary for his work with U2, Roxy Music, and Talking Heads. 
Despite it all, there are researchers who maintain that strong elements of the Alternative 3 film are true, masked amidst a documentary that is meant as disinformation.  Jim Keith and the late Bill Cooper can be counted among them (although the ringing endorsement of Cooper is not exactly something I would have wanted have.)
There are two things that I really like about Alternative 3.  First of all, the fact that people still buy into it even after it was outed as a deliberate put-on.  Secondly, it reads like fun, X-Files-style fiction, complete with government secrecy, witnesses afraid to talk, purloined evidence, and secret space travel.   I even incorporated it into Supernova, a novel that I worked on with Graymalkin.  
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