The Grays Mass Market Paperback – May 29 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Vocally, Lang and Vincent Price have a lot in common. While Price reveled in the spooky and sinister, Lang, though he packs a similar, possibly more extensive arsenal, does not hyperbolize, instead using his creep factor to corral the listener into the den of the writer and lets Strieber do the scaring. Strieber, who claimed in 1987's Communion to have been abducted by aliens (or "Grays"), parlays that experience into a yarn about the Grays' ultimate plan, to save themselves and mankind by breeding a human savior: nine-year-old Connor Callahan. The small hitch is that all humans, like Callahan, will be the subject of genetic manipulation. Enter Col. Michael Wilkes, steely government spook willing to kill most of mankind in order to eliminate the Grays. Lang shows great range, conveying each character's anxieties and emotion with élan. Even as the action and horror intensify, and the characters fight for the survival of mankind, Lang is cool as a cucumber-and that makes it all the scarier.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In 1985, Strieber, then a top horror writer, author of The Wolfen 1978) and The Hunger (1981), had an alien-abduction experience. The book he wrote about it, Communion (1987), was so successful that his output of fiction dwindled in the 1990s as he expanded upon his biggest best-seller. Stillborn sequels to The Hunger emerged in 2001 and 2002, but The Grays is a quantum leap back to his fictional form, powered by his newer, nonfiction obsessions. In it aliens--the grays--have been with humanity for a good, long time, for excellent reasons. They've been helping humanity avoid their mistakes, which destroyed their emotions. Now, after a several-million-years journey, the rest of the grays, for whom those among us were pioneers with a purpose, are nearing Earth. Measures crucial to their success have been set in motion, most important among them, the creation of a human child of supernormal intelligence to receive the grays' advanced knowledge. Trouble is, hints of the child's existence had to be made to humans with authority; hence, the Roswell business. And hence, the development of rival factions within the top-secret military operation that guards the Roswell aliens. Strieber manages the plot built on those premises as a breakneck race to find the child and, depending on which faction the characters belong to, protect or destroy it. It's a terrific read, already blocked out like a screenplay for the major movie now in the works, marred only by a few treacly passages about the wonder of it all. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
However, before too long I found myself bored by hollow, cardboard characters, coincidences that didn't seem likely, and a dispassionate text that failed to reel me in like previous Strieber books had.
Due to the lack of any really good characters, and a plot that seemed (to me) to be at odds with what Whitley really believes, this book was a dull one that I had to plod through mechnically just to finish. It did however have many of the cornerstones of the UFO genre, such as Nordic aliens and floating anti-gravity triangle craft. Still, I doubt I'll ever pick it up again. I'll stick with Communion.
2 stars. Has some outstanding material scattered in the text, but as a whole, not a very enjoyable read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"The Grays" is a gripping novel with clearly defined good guys and bad guys. Ultimately, the grays, themselves, turn out to be good guys - and we root for them in the end. I won't say give away ending of the story, except to say that it is a powerful climax of action. I was glued to the book until well after 1AM, the night I finished it.
Having read much of Strieber's non-fiction work, I could see his views reflected throughout The Grays. It did a great job of capturing the UFO abduction phenomenon, as he has experienced it. I have heard similar things from other UFO abductees. You get the sense of fear and menace from the phenomenon, that the main characters experienced as children.
What I missed about it is the same thing that I miss in nearly every UFO-related fiction story. And this is that the book "solves the problem." It tells us who the grays are, why they are here, and what our relationship with them is. One doesn't get the sense of ambiguity that seems to pervade the UFO/abduction phenomenon. In this way, it misses the sense of "mirage" and logical paradox. I believe that to truly capture the sense of the UFO phenomenon, it would need to leave the reader hanging - wondering just what the main character experienced. So far, the only work of fiction I've seen that captures this ambiguity is "The X Files."
Strieber indicates in his website "UnknownCountry.com" that he wrote The Grays to trigger abductees' memories of their experiences. It will be interesting to hear from many of them, to see whether it succeeded in doing this.
I also thought that his portrayal of the coverup - the global conspiracy, etc... seemed a bit simplistic. I didn't get the feeling of this vast conspiracy within the deepest recesses of the government and military that arises from reading Richard Dolan's "UFOs and the National Security State." I more got the sense of a few crooks, in highly placed circles in the government. However, The Grays does give you the sense of interaction between the military and UFO abductees. So in that sense, it does a pretty good job.
In summary, I recommend the book because it is a great novel. I also recommend it because it is fascinating and action-packed veiw of the phenomenon through the eyes of the most prominent of UFO abductees, Whitley Strieber. It will take it's place as one of the finest of UFO fiction.
If your taking a road trip or just like to listen the audio CD is your best bet. It made our 16 hour trip interesting and quick. You won't fall asleep behhind the wheel listening to this title, and thats for sure.
Mr. Strieber does respect his fans, mainly his website subscribers, but listening to him for years I think he takes a pretty dim view sometimes of the general population and especially those in the media, so perhaps he wrote The Grays thinking of them and how to sell them a story. But there were definitely sections of the book that were thrilling and inspired, especially whenever he writes about the visitors themselves.
The ending, not to give anything away, has an almost E.T. feel to it, so I expect some comparisons will be made to that. In fact, I found it less believable in a way than the conclusion of E.T., which is often thought of in retrospect as a "kids' movie" but I think that's because people project a certain cuteness on the E.T. character; one that is not necessarily there in the movie when viewed objectively while screening out the hype that surrounds it.
Back to The Grays, Mr. Strieber really built this book up on his website, in terms of creating expectations, and frankly I was left a bit disappointed. He has essentially stated that reading this book will unlock, in many people, the ability to get into meaningful contact with these enigmatic beings that he's written about for about 20 years now. I think that he bases that mostly on the fact that he presents, in The Grays, what is really a very simple concept: that one can telepathically communicate, more rapidly and more effective than with words, in a series of pictorial scenes more or less, and this is how the visitors do it. So in essence I think he believes he's teaching us the language of "alien" communication. Maybe so, but Whitely Strieber himself believes he has an implant in his head that amplifies this ability, and (IMO) it possibly requires the amplification of the visitors themselves, so I'm skeptical (even given a very open mind to all the possibilities he brings to us) that hordes of people will now be in better contact with visitors who may help usher in a new age for mankind, following The Grays.
So in the end, I felt that it was more movie story and less significant insight than I was expecting. But by all means read it yourself and see what you think. Maybe I simply don't have the necessary implant, or mine is malfunctioning! My more urgent recommendation is to locate a copy of Strieber's Majestic and read that, most definitely!
So, I found myself wishing I could read the next book's chapters, simply to see where it all goes from here - how it might come out. So, I'll be waiting for the next installment in whatever form it takes.