Communion – Whitley Strieber

2016-02-02 22.22.00

Avon – 1988

Wow, what an utterly ridiculous book. Although the accounts herein are presented as fact, this book is often listed as fiction. Fiction or not, it’s not a plot driven book, and I feel that the most appropriate way to review it will be to paraphrase the entire text:

“My name is Whitley Strieber, and this book is an account of my abduction experiences. Twice in the year of 1985, I was taken from my bed by a gang of little men who then took me to a weird room in a crystal in the sky and stuck an ugly pipe into my crapper. That’s right folks. I was abducted, and the things that took me decided to jam a piece of their technology into my rectum; the alien contraption punctured my wrinkled rim and ruptured my shite-filled poobag. The dirty little bowsies were collecting a sample of my gick! [You might find it peculiar that anyone would want Whitley Strieber’s shit, but in fairness, Communion has sold 2 million copies!] Oh yeah, there was another weird lifeform in the crystal too. It looked like an insect, and it raped me. Well, I say rape, but I was actually pretty hard at the time! Can you blame me?

After this happened, I decided not to jump to any conclusions. I did however, start hanging out with Budd Hopkins, the UFO abduction expert. He recommended that I go see a hypnotherapist. I took heed of this good advice, and the hypnotherapist proved to me that I had actually been abducted a bunch of times throughout my life. He reminded me of the time that I built a rocket engine in my bedroom when I was a little kid. The aliens had told me how to make it, but afterwards they decided that I shouldn’t have that information so they burned down my parents house. How did I forget that? Silly me!

I’ve used the word ‘aliens’ a few times, but I’m not actually sure that it’s  spacemen who are abducting me. I’ve no real reason to believe that they’re from another planet. They might just be elves or fairies. Whatever though, they probed my asshole and I got the shag; I hope they come back soon!

At this point, I don’t really have much else to say, but I feel like I can probably write another 150 pages or so. I suppose I’ll just fill up space with eventless interview transcripts and a ton of mystical speculation. Fuck it, yeah, I’ll just make allusions to mythical figures and tarot cards, and my book will get really popular with brainless, new-age morons. They’ll ignore the fact that nothing in this book is remotely compelling, and they’ll all think that I’m really smart.”

That’s pretty much the entire book, although I’m not quite sure I’ve captured the arrogance of Strieber’s tone. It really surprises me that something this utterly trashy could be taken seriously by anyone.

I also watched the film version of Communion with Christopher Walken playing Strieber. I have to say that this was one of the few cases in which I far preferred the movie to the book. The film has pretty bad ratings according to what I have seen, but I thought it was as good a movie as could possibly be made of this rag. There’s something really awkward about the whole film, and the special effects are bizarrely bad. It mostly follows the book’s plot, but it gets fucking weird towards the end. The most bizarre scenes almost feel like a satire on the most bullshitty parts of the text. In fact, part of the reason that I liked the movie so much was that it felt like it was making fun of the book; you could watch the film and argue that it depicts nothing more than a dysfunctional family’s bizarre descent into hysteria.

There’s a story that Strieber saw Walken’s depiction of him and told the actor that he was playing the character too crazy. Walken allegedly responded, ‘If the shoe fits…’ I have liked Christopher Walken as an actor for a long time, but if that story is true, he is truly a king amoungst men.

The book was shit, but I enjoyed reading it. I have the sequel, Transformation, and I’m sure I’ll get around to reading that one too. If you do read the book, make sure to watch the film. I’m not sure if the film would be as enjoyable if you hadn’t read the book, but if you’ve made it this far through my review, you have all the information you need. (Although I still think it might take reading the 350 pages of the book to be able to really savour the embarrassment that the film must have caused Strieber.)

School is a nightmare at the moment, and posts will definitely be slow for the next couple of months, but I have some serious gems coming in the post that you are going to want to read about.

11 thoughts on “Communion – Whitley Strieber

  1. I agree with your assessment of the book (and the movie too). I recall reading this when it first came out, when I was an impressionable teenager who believed in this kind of thing. It was fascinating to read the book again as an adult and realize quite quickly that he just made it up. Incidentally it wasn’t a rocket engine he claimed to have built as a kid, but an “antigravity machine,” though the distinction probably has no practical purpose. The sequel, “Transformation,” is even more outlandish and bizarre, but the third one, “Breakthrough,” takes the cake, where Strieber claimed an alien lived with him in his house for three months (but conveniently left no proof of its presence). Strieber is still out there, but his star has waned–no pun intended–since the end of the Art Bell era, and since the soul of the woo community has largely wandered away from aliens/UFOs/New Age and been co-opted by the political conspiracy underground exemplified by people like Alex Jones.


    1. I hear you brother. I have a copy of transformation that i will someday review. I also found a cheap copy of breakthrough at the weekend but i decided that one can wait for a bit. Please, if you have any other recommendations for this kind of outlandish nonsense, I would love to hear them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never gotten around to reading this book, though it sure does sound entertaining. I have seen the film, however, and taking it strictly as a work of fiction, I actually quite like it. Aside from Walken’s perfect performance, I enjoy the fact that it’s directed by Phillipe Mora, who also directed the craptastic Howling II (1984) and Howling III: The Marupials (1985). Let’s be honest, Mora was a pretty shitty director; but he also had some unique and truly offbeat ideas. (I mean come on; who else ever came up with the idea for marsupial werewolves?!) And while Communion is probably a much better film than either of Mora’s two Howling sequels, it’s definitely got his bizarre personality written all over it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed the film of Communion very much, but think you’re spot on about the books. On the subject of abductions, Fire in the Sky is worth a watch. Based on the Travis Walton case.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always liked the creepy cover illustration for this book, which was probably my favourite part of the book looking back. The content itself was highly dubious at best, even to my addled mind at the time.
    Strieber was apparently a moderately decent horror writer before he got into all this wonky alien stuff. The film adaptation of The Hunger with Bowie in it is a guilty pleasure of mine, and the adaptation of The Wolfen was a rather strange little film. I have copies of Catmagic and The Wild that have been sat in my stack for a while I’ve been meaning to read.
    I recently read most of his collaboration with Art Bell that was the basis for The Day After Tomorrow, the premise being that global warming will shut down the North Atlantic circulation and trigger a rebound ice age, which is only slightly off into the realm of pseudoscience, unlike all this recent nonsense about the Grand Solar Minimum being peddled by the Electric Universe enthusiasts and other tinfoil hats and crypto-nazis. The book itself was still only barely readable, so I never did get around to finishing it.


    1. Yeah. I have been considering reading Strieber’s fiction for a while. I have audiobook versions of most of his novels. I’ve heard a few are quite good. I don’t know though. The last thing I read by him (Breakthrough, I think it was called) was so utterly awful that it might taint the experience.


      1. The Communion sequels were definitely a low point. I don’t know if the whole alien thing was just some kind of personal/professional meltdown for him, but he decided to double down, and he still comes across as emotionally unhinged in recent video I’ve seen. Rationalwiki has quite an amusing page devoted to him. I still kind of want to like him, but there is definitely something amiss.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s