Taking a breather has given me a new perspective on the UFO problem, as it concerns me both here on my blog and in my book about the career of Dr. J. Allen Hynek. I've been immersing myself in reading and research material that goes back to the beginnings of the modern age of UFOs and beyond, taking a look at the UFO phenomenon as it affects and is affected by society and culture, and it's been a pretty fun ride so far...
|How to greet the first visitor from space, circa 1951|
By telling Dr. Hynek's story in the context of how the UFO phenomenon has influenced science, film, the military, literature, politics, television, religion and social systems, I hope to tell a much larger story and a much better story, and one that will reach a much larger audience. And as a useful byproduct, I hope to keep my material here at High Strangeness out of the gutter that has claimed so much of the UFO conversation lately.
My new reading list includes a long list of websites and government and university archives, and a rapidly growing list of books. Many of the books were already on my bookshelf and only needed to be dusted off and cracked open. Others have come to me over the past few days through dumb luck or divine inspiration.
Here's my book list so far. It may seem a bit random at first, but if you look closely you may see a theme emerging...
- "Them or Us: Archetypal Interpretations of Fifties Alien Invasion Films" by Patrick Lucanio (1987, Indiana University Press)
- "Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture" by Christopher D. Bader, F. Carson Mencken and Joseph D. Baker (2010, New York University Press)
- "The Conquest of Space" by Willy Ley and Chesley Bonestell (1949, The Viking Press)
- "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" by Dr. Carl Sagan (1995, Random House)
- "E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces" edited by Debbora Battaglia (2005, Duke University Press)
- "Science Fiction of the 50s" edited by Martin Harry Greenberg & Joseph Olander (1979, Avon)
- "Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies" by Dr. Carl G. Jung (1964, Princeton University Press)
- "The Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction" edited by Phil Hardy (1984, William Morrow and Co.)
- "The Man From Mars: Ray Palmer's Amazing Pulp Journey" by Fred Nadis (2013, Tarcher/Penguin)
- "Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction" by Brian Aldiss (1973, Doubleday)
- "Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace" by Jodi Dean (1998, Cornell University Press)
I fully expect my faithful readers to offer me more suggestions, so don't be shy!
Oh, and I also used this as an excuse to re-watch the wonderful 1951 movie version of "The Thing From Another World."
"Keep watching the skies!"