As Nick Redfern noted over at UFO Mystic, this truly is a sad moment for the UFO community. Stuart Miller, creator and editor of Alien Worlds Magazine, has announced that he has had to close down the publication.
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to be in Stuart’s “stable” of writers.
Getting that opportunity was surprisingly painless. Shortly after I started blogging, Stuart picked up my first UFO article, “UFOs — an Unreasonable Argument,” for his news list, which was called UFO Review at the time. I thanked him for doing this, and as time went on he would carry just about any relevant posting I had to offer.
After I decided it was time to move on from blogging about UFOs, I proposed a parody column to Stuart for his new magazine, sight unseen, based only on the warm reviews it was receiving. My column, The Round Files, had a rather brief run (issues three and four), and my third installment was in issue five, which won’t be appearing, unfortunately.
My proposal, which consisted of a few explanatory paragraphs and a sample column, was accepted almost immediately. Stuart actually solicited and reviewed suggestions for layout, and took great care to make sure we understood each other. It would be difficult to imagine a better relationship with an editor.
The deciding factor in my mind for working with Stuart was his sense of humor. The UFO subject, as fascinating as it can be, is a dismally humorless one, and just glancing through an edition of an ezine of his from a couple of years back (also known as UFO Review) it was delightfully obvious Stuart was able to think about the subject seriously and laugh at it at the same time.
Those of you who read earlier installments of The Round Files when I published them here or on my (long retired) blog High Oddness, will probably remember that I was going after a very dry, subdued approach, something Stuart noted was unusual in American writers.
(No, it’s not real.)
One thing that really jumps out at me from the experience of the column itself is that there were people who didn’t get that these were parodies. I had a couple of emails from folks trying to track down the book I invented for my debut column, Listen Pal, Your Flight Never Happened — The Really, Really Secret Mission of Apollo 18, and I had to disappoint them. I was poking fun at “William Rutledge’s” Apollo 20 nonsense, and at least some of the audience didn’t pick up on that.
I let them down gently, though I found it a bit amusing. Depending how you count them, there were something like 20 gags in that article, and yet there were people who took it seriously. For my last submission I included a footnote that makes it perfectly clear what these articles were, but … well … no one will be reading that.
(No, I’m not publishing it here. Ain’t gonna happen.)
It would be easy to write these people off as dense, but I think it’s more complex than that. It may be a case of people who “live” in the subject matter getting “tunnel-visioned” on what they expect and missing everything else. A bit sad, actually.
It was fun doing The Round Files, and maybe some time in the future given the right opportunity I will return to them.
Stuart — I hope you’re reading this: thank you for the opportunity of seeing my work in print in that stunning magazine of yours, and I wish the best to you and all your future endeavors. I truly do.
Copyright © 2008, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.
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Daniel Brenton is the creator/author of the 5 Second Novel series, co-author of the space race thriller Red Moon (with David S. Michaels), and is the author of the satirical column The Round Files, published in Stuart Miller's short-lived Alien Worlds Magazine.
Despite being a writer, Daniel has no cats at this time, is unwilling to become an alcoholic, and has a very difficult time keeping a straight face while writing about himself in third person.