When journalist Sarah Scoles first contacted me to discuss some things for possible inclusion in her book, I felt the same way as when any media person wants to ask questions about UFO World: I want to answer their questions if I am able, but I fear they are looking for sensational material and ultimately won't want to hear what I have to say anyway. However, by the time I was finished talking by phone with the author, I was pleasantly surprised and optimistic a worthy work might be forthcoming. Turned out it was.
Scoles traveled the countryside, visiting the hallowed grounds of American UFO lore, allowing a wide range of people to explain, in their own words, what it's all about to them. The result is They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers.
The author does not present herself as a UFO expert, but an inquisitive explorer, and the book is a page-turner that works. Scoles clearly separates her opinions from those of the people portrayed on the pages, and she does not casually accept unproven beliefs absent evidence. The writing style is one that more UFO writers, and non-fiction writers in general, would be wise to adopt.
The book includes pertinent history on the topic of the government and UFOs, and viewpoints from UFO investigators, witnesses, skeptics, agnostics and believers. While They Are Already Here definitely appeals to readers with casual interest in what's going on in the UFO genre, it also includes plenty of material for those more experienced with the steeplechase. An intriguing visit to famous Area 51 is likely to interest even the most seasoned UFO research veteran. A road trip to the much discussed Skinwalker Ranch and summaries of current UFO World drama also await readers, among many more topics and destinations.
Other sections of the book I found particularly interesting and enjoyable include a journey to the UFO Watchtower in Colorado. The site, its residents and visitors are fascinating and captivating, whatever may or may not be observed traversing the heavens above.
Scoles takes readers through the posts of UFO forums in an attempt to gain insight into the mystery of Sunspot Observatory, which was locked down by the FBI without immediate explanation in 2018. In what might be among the coolest stunts a writer on a conspiracy beat ever undertook, Scoles camped in the New Mexico desert and hiked into town at sunrise to ask the Bureau what was up. This adventure alone is worth the price of admission.
The author has direct experience in working in a small town that exists because of its observatory, as is the case with Sunspot, and she shares her insights. Scoles periodically allows readers glimpses into her personal history and how it influences her current interpretations of the individual stories and the collective unfolding saga. She manages to do this while keeping the people she meets and topics explored as focal points of the book. In doing so, she indirectly reminds us that we, too, are at the mercy of a shaky reliance on personal conditioning for interpreting our journeys through life and UFO World.
It is refreshing to read an informative and entertaining work on the UFO genre in which the writer is even-handed, while simultaneously revealing a flair for the creative and poetic. I appreciate this book, the work that went into it, and the style portrayed. Scoles demonstrates we don't have to forsake reasonable skepticism in order to develop an appreciation for people and mysteries, nor must we abandon critical thinking to appreciate life's metaphors and ironies that surround us all.
They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers is 304 pages from Pegasus Books. It is available on Amazon in Kindle (18.99), hardcover (14.99), and audio CD (34.99).