Friday, March 18, 2011

David Halperin

Back in the 1960s, David Halperin was a teen-age UFO investigator. He later became a professor of religious studies—his specialty, religious traditions of heavenly ascent.

Journal of a UFO Investigator, released last month by Viking Press, is his first novel.

From a Q & A at his publisher's website:

What sort of research did you do in preparation for writing this book? How much of the story directly reflects actual UFO literature?

The story is deeply rooted in the UFO traditions of the 1950s and early 1960s, which present-day UFOlogists look back to as a golden age. Morris K. Jessup, for example, was a real person, author of several UFO books. The legends surrounding his death in 1959 would have passed back and forth in long letters between Danny and other teen UFOlogists, with wide-eyed speculation about whether Jessup really committed suicide or whether this was a "cover" for something more sinister. The Three Men in Black—long before Hollywood got hold of them—were part of the 1950s UFO lore, much of it shaped by the great West Virginia mythmaker Gray Barker and his bestselling They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. Readers can check out the historical note, posted to the Penguin web site for more details.

I knew this UFO world so intimately from my own adolescence that there wasn't much research required beyond poking through my voluminous files of correspondence from almost fifty years ago, plus rereading the UFO books that so influenced me back then. The UFO Encyclopedia, published in the 1990s by my old friend and fellow-UFOlogist Jerome Clark, was an inexhaustibly rich resource for me, as it will be for anyone with the smallest interest in UFO belief. And I...[read on]

Learn more about Journal of a UFO Investigator at Halperin's website and blog (“my thoughts on UFOs, religion, the writer’s life, and other subjects dear to my heart”).

Watch a video trailer for Journal of a UFO Investigator.

The Page 69 Test: Journal of a UFO Investigator.

Writers Read: David Halperin.

--Marshal Zeringue