My first and most influential book, The Cult of Alien Gods: H. P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture, was published fifteen years ago this week. In the crush of work on my two new books, I nearly neglected to mark this important anniversary. When I published the book back in 2005, I received heavy criticism both from those interested in H. P. Lovecraft and those interested in space aliens. Both groups felt I had done a disservice to them by explaining how the modern ancient astronaut theory grew out of the influence of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos on the authors of one of the hypothesis's key texts, Morning of the Magicians. But now, after all this time, this conclusion is so widely accepted that some who discuss it no longer credit it to me, for it has passed into the realm of fact. It is an honor, I suppose.
The Cult of Alien Gods is not perfect, nor is it the book I would write today. I was only twenty-three when I wrote the book, twenty-four when it was published. Despite selling thousands of copies, I have never seen a dime of profit from that book. (I earned some initial royalties which did not cover the costs incurred writing the book, and since then the magic of accounting has kept the book perpetually shy of the threshold for receiving a check.) Nevertheless, it both made my reputation and locked me into a niche from which I only now have a chance to grow beyond.
I have mixed feelings about this anniversary. For the realm of the mind and for the historical record, it is good that I wrote the book. Without it, I would never have discovered so many secrets about history and culture. But I do wonder if I had held off whether I might have been able to grow my career in a more mainstream direction. I can remember how proud I was of having a published book when I applied for jobs in publishing back in 2005, 2006, and 2007, only to have editors turn up their noses. They published literature, you see, and I wrote about déclassé aliens. They couldn't have me on their staff lest I corrupt their Olympian literary taste. Yeah, but you can Google my name and see how many people have built on what I've done. No one knows who any of those editors are.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.