It’s not every day that you start to wonder if a Lovecraftian novella might be writing itself around you. Today I returned to my flat to find, as usual, a bundle of post lying just inside the door. Amongst the Tesco Clubcard Statements, and the usual advertising letter from Virgin Media was a small, rather intriguing brown envelope. It was a bit heavy for a letter, and, perhaps more oddly, was addressed to “Daniel Williams, …, Glasgow, Reino Unido”. Sure enough, the post mark declared its origin as being “Espana”. Well, by this stage I was very intrigued, and so I opened it, braving the threat of possible anthrax infection.

Enclosed therein was something very much odder than I had expected. It was a small book “Hercolubus or Red Planet”. I was perpelexed. I’ve never been to Spain, I don’t think I know anyone who lives in Spain, and I’ve never ordered any books from Spain…

Things got odder when I read the blurb.

“What I am affirming in this book is a prophecy that will be fulfilled very shortly, because I am certain about the end of the planet; I know it. I am not frightening, but warning, because I am distressed about this poor Humanity. These events will not be long in coming and there is no time to waste with illusory things.”

I was, by this stage, a little stumped. Why had I received this piece of evident crackpottery? To the best of my knowledge I’ve never been a member of any cult, so why target me? Is it because they thought a “Red Planet” might interest an astronomer? Surely sending an undergraduate something like this is a bit of a stretch, and why did my fellow astronomer flatmate not get one too? Very odd. However, I had a lecture to get to, so I shoved it into my pocket, and forgot about it for a few hours. Picture of the book.

The book, with a banana scale.

I own a few rather odd things, and certainly, I have a few odd books which I’ve acquired over time, but, after a page or so of Hercolubus it became clear that this was a book far odder than the Cancer Horoscopes 2014 which I’d won in an astronomy society table quiz. The book, somewhat disjointedly, tells of the planet Hercolubus, which is going to destry the Earth because we regard the Earth as a toy. It’s not immediately evident how we treat it like a toy, but it turns out it’s because scientists have measured its radius, and know its weight. I see. Apparently the Atlantians were the first victims of the destruction of the “Red Planet”, apparently because they underestimated the pure firepower of Hercolubus… Iceland’s the result of nuclear testing

The book proceeds to a fascinating insight into the effect humanity is having on our planet. For example, nuclear bomb tests (carried out by scientists, who have also, allegedly, built a “Tower of Babel”) have caused the surface of the earth beneath the oceans to open up to the “fire within the Earth”. Well, I guess you’re welcome, Iceland? The same bomb tests are the reason we shouldn’t eat fish, incidentally. Socialist Libertarians are from Venus

Rabolu, the inspired author of this work, was a practising “astral traveller”, and as such was able to visit the people of Venus and Mars, who lived in a society with no private property, and, where, apparently, nobody touches their food before eating it… The Martians, of course, all dress like warriors, but their war is with evil, not other “humanities”. On both planets, anyone’s allowed to just pick up a spaceship whenever they want and go for a spin, as there’s “no red-tape”.

The book goes on, and, I’m not entirely sure it ever reaches a conclusion past “we’re all going to die unless we learn how to turn ourselves into beings of pure energy”. Well, fair play, there’s probably some truth in that one. I’m now waiting in some trepidation for the appearance of Cthulu from the Clyde though.

If you are an aficionado of bizarre and random conspiracy theories you can actually get a copy of the book free of charge (the details are at the book’s website,, which also has multimedia additions, such as recordings of the mantras which will actually allow you to travel to Mars. Allegedly.

So yes… rather odd…

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