The ever-increasing crop circle library has been further added to with the arrival of the latest update of Michael Glickman’s ‘Crop Circles’, and a children’s colouring book of crop circle shapes. ANDY THOMAS gets his crayons out…
CROP CIRCLES by Michael Glickman
Wooden Books has made quite a name for itself producing little volumes which set out to explore geometry, number and artistic form in British historical culture, ancient and modern. The range has changed its style of late, though, mutating from medium-sized hardbacks of a distinctive solidity and simple artwork, to smaller paperbacks of a rather pleasant bendy quality, complete with silvery text and a more snazzy design. Whereas the hardback look had a kind of perhaps-too-exclusive intellectual aura about it, the new soft evolution feels more accessible and commercially-minded, which can only be a good thing in terms of getting this kind of information out to a wider world.
‘Crop Circles’ is the third version of Michael Glickman’s compact guide to the myriad artistic intricacies of agriglyph witnessed over the years. Like its earlier versions, it explores not theories or the paraphernalia of cerealogy, but simply the forms and geometrical functions of the designs themselves, grouping different styles of formations into genres and tracing their development. Michael, whose eye for this sort of thing is renowned, is the perfect mind to put all this into perspective. Anyone looking for the more controversial side of Michael, also renowned, will not find it here (look out for his new website and long-awaited crop circle memoirs for that, currently being worked furiously on), but will instead find a feast of drawings, diagrams and observations that will remind them of the genius being laid out in our fields.
Visually, the new version is a big step up from its predecessors, with beautiful textured paper and sepia tints, which do far more justice to the designs. Owners of previous editions will find this worth owning regardless of any necessary repetition - with several seasons having passed since, this latest update inevitably adds in many important formations to the analysis and groupings of the genres, and there are several completely new entries.
One innovation is the addition of an appendix, prepared with the help of Allan Brown and other croppie geometers, which specifically explores the extraordinary mathematical qualities of the patterns. This adds greatly to the usefulness of the book in demonstrating yet further that what we have on offer from this mysterious source, carved in the unique medium of crops, is something which demands much greater respect than society has yet accorded it.
At just £4.99 (actually cheaper than earlier editions), for those with any kind of dedicated interest in the circle phenomenon, it would be ridiculous not to own this.
‘CROP CIRCLES’ is available from Wooden Books, 12a High St, Glastonbury, Somerset, UK, or can be ordered directly from the author by e-mailing:
CROP CIRCLE COLORING BOOK by Scott Onstott
There have been a number of attempts in recent times to attract a younger element to the crop circle world, through children’s books and projects like Nick Kollerstrom’s attempts to get crop circle geometry taught in UK schools (see his website at: www.hypermaths.org/cropcircle).
Scott Onstott takes this approach to its ultimate conclusion with the production of the first cerealogical colouring book. Basically just a series of unshaded crop circle diagrams, seemingly based on surveys and drawings from the great and good of the croppie community, the owner is invited (with a helpful demonstration on the front cover) to dig out crayons and paints and intuitively splash chosen colours into the gaps.
The author explains his rationale thus: “This is more than a coloring book. It’s an exploration and meditation on crop circle geometry. My hope is that the geometry may inspire you and act as an entry point to your own investigations”. With no construction lines or superimposed shapes included, purists might argue that this is not geometry on display, but simply the essential outlines of the basic designs. However, one gets the point.
The location, crop type and date of each original formation is featured on the back of each page (though there are a couple of minor errors in the review version I had, and the central circle of Milk Hill 2001 is inexplicably missing in its diagram), which serve to bring them into the real world for anyone who might mistakenly think these are simply randomly chosen shapes for kiddies to scribble in.
I say kiddies, but that’s not really fair – I can imagine adults, just as much as children, might find applying colours and textures to these formations a meditative and investigative experience, as the author intimates, helping them to explore the function and form of the designs in a not unrelated way to the aims of Michael Glickman’s book above. An interesting experiment.
Scott has also produced some rather beautiful greetings cards (pre-coloured, this time!) based on crop circle designs. For details of how to get both these cards and the book, go to: