From the Editor |
The Intersection of the UFO Phenomenon and Science Fiction in the Public Psyche
The UFO phenomenon and science fiction now seem to intersect in some sort of uncanny valley of the mind. For so very long, UFOs have been the stuff of science fiction, but things have changed — and profoundly so. The horizon of the human mind must broaden to successfully process this new information. The effects of our cultural conditioning may prove to be a formidable obstacle in shifting perspectives in this matter — both individually and publicly.
It is territory as strange as the concept itself, with just as many unknowns. Negotiating this new territory is for me, an almost surreal experience. It is also an immensely exciting one.
I have been fascinated with UFOs from the moment I learned of their existence, whether that were in fact or fiction did not matter. The concept was indescribably intriguing to my mind. It spoke of wonder and mystery in a grand and unknown cosmos. The realm of the inexplicable.
All of this is near and dear to me. As I mentioned in the Editor’s Introduction, that fascination led me to establish The Flying Saucer Poetry Review, the first-ever literary journal devoted exclusively to poetry and art about the UFO phenomenon. It was the only thing I could come up with to be able to fully explore and express my interest in the topic. I hoped that there would be others who would share in the inspiration of this creative approach and happily, there are. In an unexpected and validating twist, the magazine placed second in the 24th Annual Critters Reader’s Poll and my very, very long poem on the subject of UFOs was nominated for a Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association Rhysling Award this year. See that very, very long poem, “The Third Law,” in the debut issue of The Flying Saucer Poetry Review for my thoughts on the high weirdness that is the UFO phenomenon. To then be in contact with Leslie Kean regarding her work on the UFO phenomenon completed a trifecta of events that I would not have begun to imagine when the magazine was published. So, for the first time, I feel like I am in some small way contributing to furthering and expanding public interest in this phenomenon, one which I believe to be profoundly important.
It has been a long and perplexing road in getting here and we still have a long way to go. The work of many dedicated and visionary people, like Leslie Kean and her work, have brought us to this point. A sea change is happening even as I write this — and, in a sense, science fiction will never be the same again. It seems that science fiction has served as almost a proof of concept for the UFO phenomenon.
Already, watching an old movie or TV show involving UFOs is overlaid with dramatic new meaning and perspective. Imagine if the day comes when the knowledge of their existence is as accepted by human civilization as the Earth orbiting the Sun?
So, where does that leave science fiction? After all, UFOs and the alien creatures that presumably pilot them or built them have been a science fiction staple through the years. Well, it’s only one element of many in the literary pantheon of science fiction. But more importantly, science fiction is speculative, so ultimately nothing need change in our treatment of UFOs beyond perhaps, recognizing that they actually exist. We know that human spaceflight exists, and we write about it in science fiction. Whether UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin or not, or something else entirely, nothing much really changes for science fiction, we’ve been writing about Martians since H. G. Wells and creatures of the wildest imagination since H. P. Lovecraft.
If anything, it imbues science fiction with a certain elegance of anticipation, wouldn’t you agree?
— The Editor