Sarah Scoles: They Are Already Here

They Are Already Here

They Are Already Here


Sarah Scoles
Pegasus Books, March 3, 2020,
Hardcover, $27.95, ebook, $26.23
ISBN-10: 1643133055; ISBN-13: 9781643133058

Scoles reports:

In December 2017, I read a New York Times article describing a Pentagon program that allegedly studied UFOs. I’d never cared much about UFOs, beyond thinking they weren’t real. I saw holes, conflicts of interest. Most of the sources were part of a company that sold books and movies about UFOs. On assignment for Wired magazine, I began to investigate.

I started following UFO blogs and watching “ufologists” interact online. I found that many were impressive investigators. I identified with them in a way I didn’t expect—and that made me wonder what drew them to this fringe field.

Sarah Scoles

Sarah Scoles

This book is my attempt to find out. I spent time at community groups, moneymaking conferences, and legendary areas like Roswell and Area 51, meeting people and learning how their conceptions of UFOs link up with politics, history, checkbooks, religion, celebrity, science, and trust in scientific methods.

I developed the proposal by picking one location/event/group per chapter, deciding what it illuminated about UFO culture, learning about one main person within that world, and using that person’s story to illustrate the “point” of each chapter.

I had an agent from a previous book. She showed the proposal to the previous book’s publisher, which bought it.

Reporting this book allowed me to interact with people I wouldn’t have otherwise, and to exercise emotional imagination. I wish I’d known how stressful it could be to interact online with the trolls of the community, however. Partly in light of that, I kept the book’s scope fairly narrow. I decided that I wanted to spend a limited amount of time, about a year and a half, reporting the book, and so could not write a comprehensive survey of the whole field but would have to focus on specific events, communities, and parts of history.

This experience showed me that you could spend decades reporting and writing the definitive UFO tome, or you could sharpen your focus and have a book that isn’t about everything but nevertheless says something useful and true. Those are both valuable, just different, kinds of books.

Contact info:

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Mar. 4, 2020

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

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