Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Australian UFO books in review

Recently Keith Basterfield provided a listing of Australian UFO books which covered the broad range of titles that have appeared.  Both Keith and I made positive endorsements of Barry Watts' recent book "UFOs Down Under." 

One recent title was overlooked, namely Peter Butt's "UFO over Australia."  I described this title in a post on books targeted at younger readers  Peter's book I described as "a 355-page e-book publishing in chronological order a rich selection of Australian government UFO files."  
He told me, "As a young fellow, I’d read the occasional Post and Pix magazine, which dined out on UFO stories. I was never taken in by them, but found them entertaining and thought provoking about life elsewhere in the Universe. Indeed, that interest prompted me to make a film in 1980s about the origin of life. I filmed with NASA scientists and interviewed Fred Hoyle and he invited me to film his colleagues at Siding Springs who were looking for organic molecules on Halley’s Comet. Hoyle of course believed that life was seeded from space and Halley’s comet held the promise of proving his case. At the same time, Hoyle was a sceptical of intelligent life making the journey here."
"I am also a sceptic," he said. "I certainly doubt the ebook would be of any interest to true believers or conspiracy theorists. Moreover, it is not a highly developed thesis, rather a fun starter for young people to appreciate the evolution of the UFO siting phenomenon, which really took off here and elsewhere following Orson Wells’ radio program. The first part of the ebook charts this evolution from the early 1900s until the official investigations begin in Australia." Here I think Peter sells his e-book a little short as I found it an entertaining run through some of the files (a full take on the files would require multiple volumes), including some cultural linkages with posters and hyperlinks to some of the 1950s films of the invasion genre.
In an earlier post I provided commentary on some of the books listed by Keith. Separately I also described a possible author mystery with 2 of our earliest UFO authors 
It can be seen that there is a rich harvest of Australian UFO books that cater for a wide variety of tastes and perspectives. I am pleased to have contributed to this Australian legacy with my own books "The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story" (1996), "Hair of the Alien - DNA and other forensic evidence of Alien Abduction" (2005), plus my limited edition (2011) of my "UFO History Keys" columns.  More recently I contributed a substantial chapter to the massive UFO History Group's book "UFOs and Government" describing the Australian experience.