As the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association driving through America on the latest leg of the Laodyssey, it felt like a duty to see Roswell, now that I had the chance to do so. It was only half a day to visit the site of the reputed July, 1947 UFO crash and if all you’re there to do is look at UFO mania, that’s about all of the time you need.
I took a quick stroll through the visitors center, a few of the stores catering to UFO enthusiasts and the UFO museum, had an excellent chile verde at Martin’s Capitol Cafe, stopped in for a little relaxing at the library, and received an excellent tour of the Main Street Arts Gallery where I had a chance to see how the local artists both embraced and tried to create beyond the shadow of the UFO culture that emerged around the city. The work of Veronica Luevano and Konsula particularly stood out to me on this trip.
The International UFO Museum out there is still excited to receive interesting materials connected to the study of extraterrestrials, the more serious the better, even, but they’ve also assembled a collection of original art, especially from different cultures around the world probing the UFO phenomenon.
I will note that while the main exhibits are great, even the ability to see a typewriter that was used to type up the stories connected to Roswell for the local papers (which I suppose is interesting only to fellow writers) that my recommendation is to instead take a moment to go into the museum’s library whose entrance is tucked away near the front. There, they keep more interesting materials that more than justify the visit, including additional art and books.
Interestingly enough, there is evidence on the visitor’s map that someone from Laos has visited the International UFO Museum before. Make of that what you will.
I’ll have to see what the SFPA has in terms of materials ready to send to the Museum even as I consider how the Lao culture engages with beings from other worlds. Looking through our traditions, the Nak and the Kinnaly seem the most likely of the major mythological races our traditions connect to what we might call extraterrestrial experience, but others might have different thoughts on the matter. Recently, the artist Camino and I decided to take a step forward in sparking the conversation in our community. We’ll see where it goes from there!