High Strangeness: Finishing a UFO Book

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Finishing a UFO Book

Wow, I'm down to the last chapter in my Hynek bio!

It's a weird feeling, let me tell you. I've been lugging this book around for 4 years, and in a matter of a few weeks I'll be sending it out into the world. Well, to my publisher, at any rate. And from there, who knows?
Dr. J. Allen Hynek (1910-1986)

When I look back on this project, several things amaze me:

  • I have found amazing people and stories that I never ever would have dreamed of getting into this book when I started out.
  • I have had to leave out mountains of material, but it's still a ripping good story (and all the material I couldn't fit in the book will make for a series of really wonderful podcasts).
  • I know more about J. Allen Hynek than I know about my wife.
  • My understanding and appreciation of the UFO phenomenon has been completely transformed.
  • There are some jaw-dropping surprises in Hynek's story.
  • Speaking of jaw-dropping, Hynek was either written up in or wrote articles for some of the finest titty magazines in the business. 
  • Also speaking of jaw-dropping, the bad guys in the story are very unexpected, and very, very bad.
  • Hynek could be an incredibly funny dude, a quality that is sorely lacking in many UFOlogists.
  • I did end up writing about Roswell, but only after finding some amazing quotes from Hynek about his true feelings about saucer crash stories.
  • A LOT of people loved and respected the guy.
  • People who took his astronomy classes decades ago still have fond memories of him.
  • I want to be more like Hynek.
Also, this:

That Juno probe that just entered into orbit around Jupiter? Should have been named after Hynek (and should have included a Lego Hynek).

9 comments:

kascht said...

Can't wait ti read the book!

Robert Sheaffer said...

Well, I took several astronomy classes from Hynek when I was at Northwestern, and I certainly enjoyed them. He was a fascinating individual. However, he was too trusting, too disorganized, and too gullible.

Mark OC said...

Saying someone is "too" this or "too" that is purely subjective. I'd agree that Hynek made some poor decisions in the final years of his life, but you have to factor in the brain tumor.

Brice said...

I'm looking forward reading your book, though I have a very mixed opinion about Hynek. I think he betrayed his scientific duty for a long time as for keeping his job, and that when he was "out of business" started speaking differently.

If not indiscreet, I was wondering what you meant by "My understanding and appreciation of the UFO phenomenon has been completely transformed."

Mark OC said...

I'll just say, for now, that I am much more open-minded in my thinking about what the true nature of UFOs might be.

Vyv Huddy said...


Very much hoping your book gets through the publisher and into our hands quickly.
I have a particularly keen hearing more about your conversation with Bill Powers who worked with Hynek. In a previous post you'd promised more stories and that was in 2012!
Did you know he came up with a theory of behaviour that many people think is as revoluntary to behavioural science as copernicus was to astronomy? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perceptual_control_theory

Mark OC said...

Yes, Bill told me a little about his work in behavioral science! It was really fascinating even if it was way over my head...

Talking to Bill before he passed away was one of the great pleasures of writing this book. I'm sorry he's not going to be around to see the finished product, because I think he would be pleased with it.

Vyv Huddy said...

Thanks Mark. Looking forward to reading it - is there distribution in the UK where I am?

Mark OC said...

There certainly should be! I'll try to find out.