High Strangeness: Best UFO Book Ever!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Best UFO Book Ever!

So... Over the past several months I've been doing some pretty intense work on my book about the career of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and it's time to talk about what I've been up to. Think of it as my early Christmas present to you.

It was suggested to me over the summer by a knowledgeable person that the opening chapters of the book were not "lively" enough. I rejected this assessment at first, but after giving it some thought I realized that it was in fact spot-on. The book's opening was flat and inert; it presented the right ideas, yes, but did so in a very static way. For some reason, I had been afraid to flex my writing muscles, and that is not the way you want to start a book.

About that same time, seemingly by coincidence, I decided to pay a visit to the beautiful Yerkes Observatory, which is located about a half-hour from where I live and also happens to be where Dr. Hynek earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics in the early 1930s. Before I knew it, strange discoveries started to pop up left and right. I met interesting people who knew fascinating stories about Hynek, and then I found other people to corroborate the stories. Then I scored an interview with Dr. Hynek's son, who was able to fill in countless details of his father's life. As I studied that period in Yerkes' history and in Hynek's life, an amazing over-arching narrative started to take shape, and I realized that I had the key to a "lively" opening to the book staring me right in the face...

That's my man, Hynek!
And so I embarked upon months of rewriting... And now, armed with a really kick-ass opening to the book, and the guidance of a new friend and mentor who knows his way around the publishing world like no one I have ever met (and who I strongly suspect is a human-alien hybrid), I am ready to take my new and improved book to market. To that end I've written a query letter that I'll be sending out to literary agents over the coming weeks, and I've decided to present some edited excerpts from the letter here for your enjoyment. I'll tell you right now that there aren't any spoilers in the letter, but there area few hints here and there... 

And, yes, it is a lot of bragging, but that's how you sell a book, folks!


Science and mysticism, for all their mutual distrust, spring from the same human desire to understand the universe. In recent times, only one scientist of note has embraced this fact, and has been able to walk both sides of this divide with confidence.
Astronomer J. Allen Hynek (1910-1986) never wanted to be involved in the UFO phenomenon; he was a self-described “innocent bystander” when the US Air Force needed a credible scientist to explain away the baffling UFO sightings sweeping the nation in 1947, but he was in truth the only man for the job.
"20 Percent: The unexplained UFO encounters that defined the career of Dr. J. Allen Hynek” is the authorized account of Dr. Hynek's tumultuous dual career as a professional astronomer and a celebrity UFO hunter. My narrative non-fiction book—named after the 20 percent of UFO sightings that remain to this day completely unexplainable—follows along on Hynek's long stint as official debunker for the Air Force's "Project Blue Book," and recounts his dramatic transformation from UFO skeptic to lonely advocate for scientific study of the phenomenon to internationally-revered UFO expert and developer of the iconic “Close Encounters” classification system.
And there’s the mysticism, an aspect of Hynek’s life that has until now gone unexamined. With input from Hynek’s family and closest colleagues, “20 Percent” explores his open flirtation in later years with paranormal, metaphysical explanations for the UFO phenomenon. As more and more people believed that the truth was out there, Hynek wondered more and more what “out there” really meant…
I come to this project as the writer of one of the “Top 100 Star Trek Episodes of All Time,” as ranked by Hugo award-winning science fiction author Charlie Jane Anders on io9.com (my Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Who Mourns for Morn?” came in at #72), and my platform grows from there. On the basis of my Star Trek work and my popular UFO blog www.highstrangenessufo.com, I formed an association with the Dr. J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies and began plans to chronicle Hynek’s remarkable career.
"20 Percent" will challenge the myths and misinformation—including stories of his infamous “swamp gas” debacle—that make Hynek a divisive figure even now, nearly 30 years after his death. It will be a must-read for UFO devotees and skeptics alike, and will add immeasurably to the world's understanding of a phenomenon that is as culturally pervasive as it has ever been.
Would you read such a book? If so, how much would you pay for such a book? Because, I'm telling you, it may be the best UFO book of all time.


purrlgurrl said...

I would read it. I'm waiting to read it.

Bill Chalker said...

Count me in to Mark - looking forward to reading it.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Thank you kindly, folks!

Pine Bush Anomaly said...

Can't wait! Hynek was right about the metaphysical aspect.

mister anderson said...

Can't wait.