Book Review: Stargate Detroit
Title: Stargate Detroit - Transcending the Gateways to Freedom
Author: Chad Stuemke - Website
Concept: ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆★★ - 8/10
Execution: ☆☆☆★★★★★★★ - 3/10
Overall: ☆☆☆☆☆★★★★★ - 5/10
Recommendation: A qualified buy recommendation
Reading Stargate Detroit is a somewhat disorienting affair. Any individual paragraph can induce either disbelief at what is being passed off as argumentation, or whimsical delight over the brilliance of the ideas presented. And whatever else one may say about Stuemke's book, it is full of ideas. Stuemke's broad thesis is that downtown Detroit is home to a wide range of Egyptian and Masonic symbolism, centered on the "cosmic temple" of Hart Plaza. Now that's all well and good; given the city's history and when much of downtown was built, neither Egyptian or Masonic themes is even vaguely surprising. However, he is unwilling to simply present his observations, many of which are quite interesting. He insists on trying to weave all of this symbolism together into a single integrated network of mystical importance. The book suffers from two major flaws. First, it tries to imply that the concept of the stargate, which it explicitly ties to the film and TV franchise, has some meaningful cultural significance outside of and prior to its science-fictional origins, while presenting little to no supporting argument. Second, and more aggravating to someone accustomed to better disciplined Fortean writings, it continually elides "maybes" and "possiblies" into definites, and without any preamble lumps together as related events, locations and artifacts that have no apparent direct connection.
Now, all that being said, the book contains a ton of interesting material. If one simply ignores a lot of conjunctions, and treats it as a series of short essays on esoterica of Detroit, it's pretty engaging. Ultimately, the book would probably generate less cognitive dissonance if it were structured as separate chapters on Hart Plaza, Masonic elements in Detroit, and so forth, with a few final chapters weaving things together, rather than trying to build all of the observations into a single construct.
On balance, Stargate Detroit is more intriguing than annoying, and would be worth a purchase for most Mythkateers.