Yes, it's that Bryan Appleyard, the star journalist whose recent output has included a comprehensive demolition of John Prescott. Yet this paragon of good sense concludes this odd but readable book by admitting, "I moved from scepticism to belief and finally came to rest with acceptance". In the first half, he scrutinises accounts of alien encounters, from bizarre abductions to pilot reports. In the second half, he discusses aliens as "expressions... of the predicament of self-consciousness." In short, aliens are not alien. They're us.