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.
11/10/2020 07:49:24 am
Congratulations, Jason. It's a good book and an accomplishment and had a healthy influence.
11/10/2020 10:23:25 am
11/11/2020 01:38:37 am
11/10/2020 07:58:55 am
Perhaps it is caused by the rise of the middlemen who have the power to choose ones fate, rather than the audience choosing who they like.
11/10/2020 09:08:31 am
Happy Anniversary! I was going to buy it for my Kindle, but I got distracted by Faking History and bought that instead. Another time.
11/10/2020 09:33:21 am
11/10/2020 10:41:35 am
Who doesnt want to write the Great American Novel when they are in their 20s? I have a couple friends who are still at it 40 years later with nothing seeing print. A couple others did get their book published and they quickly turned into the Great Bargain Bin Buys. Be careful what you wish for.
11/10/2020 10:55:34 am
I thought it was the norm in contracts like these to have clauses which specify a certain monthly sales level below which rights to the work revert to the author.
11/11/2020 10:16:03 am
The contract specifies that rights revert only when the book is no longer in print. They do a minimal print run every year to ensure that never happens.
11/10/2020 01:03:38 pm
Hi Jason -
11/15/2020 07:02:29 pm
Good to hear Mr. K Street hasn't scared you away, Grondine.
11/11/2020 09:22:12 pm
Wow. Just took a deep breath, and had to stop.
11/15/2020 06:50:09 pm
As you know, Jason, Dean's mother and others often read poetry to him. And being Quakers, the philosophy rings true to their beliefs. I wouldn't try too hard to bend him into an acolyte of the Cthulu cult.
11/16/2020 10:07:57 am
Congratulations on a great book. I used it as a reference on my lecture on Ancient Aliens at a local community college. Standing room only audience of mostly interested folks. One hostile woman, critical of my conclusions asked "Don't you believe in anything?"
11/17/2020 05:25:54 pm
The appropriate response to those of that ilk should be, Is there anything that you won't believe? Or some polite translation of that question.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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