Wednesday, September 14, 2016

MUFON's Top 100 UFO Books

MUFON, or some members of MUFON, have come up with a list of what they think of as the one hundred top books about UFOs published over the last seventy years or so. There are some things wrong with that list that I thought I would mention, which is, of course, my opinion of what is wrong. You can see their list here:

The first three books on this list were written by George Adamski (one with Desmond Leslie) and that makes me wonder about this. Adamski was the contactee who claimed communication with people of Venus. Tall, good looking people who apparently were worried about Earth and our warlike ways. In the 1950s and 1960s when the contactees were in their heyday, Venus was seen as a world somewhat similar to Earth except the surface was hidden in a perpetual cloud bank that suggested a steamy, jungle-like, swampy planet. Today we know the surface is hot enough to melt lead and doesn’t seem to be the likely home of any living creatures, let alone an advanced race capable of interplanetary flight. This would mean that Adamski wasn’t honest in his descriptions of Venus or in his communication with the inhabitants… his book might have been influential but it was complete fiction. Should it actually be on a serious list?

Adamski is not the only contactee represented here. Dan Fry, or should I say Doctor Dan Fry and his The White Sands Incident is on the list. Frank Stranges, or should I say Dr. Frank Stranges, is there with his Stranger at the Pentagon. I’m not sure why there are so many books by contactees who claim to have interacted with alien creatures, usually from other planets in the Solar System. I have to wonder why George van Tassel was overlooked.

Another entry that I think is questionable is The Philadelphia Experience. This is that tale we discussed a while back that is based on the hoax perpetrated by Carlos Allende or Carl Allen, depending on his mood. There has been quite a bit written about this, and it was the subject of several books, but the whole thing started when Allende (or Allen) created the letters about teleportation and Navy experiments. He even admitted the hoax and his parents and other family members confirmed the hoax. It seems that this is the fifth or sixth book of fiction to appear on the list.

This would be the same complaint about Behind the Flying Saucers. Though there has been some resurgence in the Aztec UFO crash, I believe the case has been discredited. Two of the primary sources had backgrounds that were less than sterling (though I know Frank Warren disagrees with me on that or at the very least doesn’t believe it disqualifies their testimony).

I also wonder why UFOs: God’s Chariots made the list when Erick von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods did not. I mean that if we’re going to credit someone with creating the whole ancient astronaut theory, it was von Daniken who popularized this idea though others had reported on this many years before von Daniken hit the bestseller list.

Don Keyhoe
Oh, there are some very good books on the list. David Jacob’s UFO Controversy in America seems to belong. So do the two books by J. Allen Hynek, The Hynek UFO Report and The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. And let’s not forget Allan Hendry’s The UFO Handbook. Some of Vallee’s books are there, but I wonder if they might not be overly represented. I think the same thing about Keyhoe’s books because I worry that some of the information is more speculative than factual, but then, those books were certainly influential. The same can be said for the Lorenzen’s though they sometimes let their enthusiasm for the extraterrestrial cloud their vision.

I was surprised to see Carl Sagan on the list. His book with Thornton Page, UFOs: A Scientific Debate is properly there as well. Strangely, Steven Spielberg made the list with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which is obviously a movie created for entertainment. The book based on it doesn’t add to our knowledge.

Actually, this looks more like a list someone prepared of his or her own library of UFO books. It is an eclectic mix of books that run from those that are clearly fiction (Adamski and Fry) to those that actually add something to our knowledge. I don’t know the criterion used to select the books, but it seems that it wasn’t very strict and probably had more to do with MUFON entering the book publishing business than anything else.


John Steiger said...



"Inconceivable!" to quote Wallace Shawn from A PRINCESS BRIDE ...

Pitch313 said...

I read Adamski's Inside The Space Ships when I was a young teenager in Northern California.. Partly out of curiosity about flying saucers and partly to vex the librarians who did not want me to read such books. I did not find Adamski persuasive about actual contact with extraterrestrial beings, but I did sense that he was on to something about our popular culture.

Terra for ET tourists, maybe.

Curt Collins said...

Kevin, here's an article on the list. "we asked one of the founding members of the Mutual UFO Network, John F. Schuessler, to provide us with a list of what he believes are the top 100 books for sincere serious seekers."

It does have some odd choices and omissions. I'd favor a list that included the most influential books,and Adamski and Scully would make that cut, for sure. By the way, do you know of a list that compiles the best-selling UFO books of all time?

Paul Kimball said...

All that I need to know about the usefulness list is that it has The Roswell Incident on it twice (at #7 and #57)!

Nitram said...

I agree with Curt... a far more interesting list would be the "best selling" UFO books of all time.

Undoubtedly some of your books would be on that list Kevin.


TheDimov said...

the way people bought the whole Adamski thing is just plain embarrassing, for humanity. I mean his footage was laugh-out-loud stuff, and I mean, laugh out loud. And yet... this organisation MUFON who are supposed to study the things includes multiple books of his in their list? Is this some sort of joke or what?

Paul Young said...

8. Beyond Earth: Man’s Contact with UFOs, (1874)

Maybe information can be gleened from this book that might put Don Maor and Kevin Randle's argument concerning the origins of Area 51 to rest, once and for all!

As for the omission of one of the best overviews of the UFO subject, Tim Good's "Above Top Secret" at the expense of three from the delusional George Adamski...Sacrilege!!!

And Paul Kimball...Didn't you know that "The Roswell Incident" is the title for two totally different books? According to the list one was written by William Moore and Charles Berlitz and the other by Charles Berlitz and William Moore. (I prefer the latter)

Paul Young said...

And why didn't,
"How to dedicate your life's work to a pointless exercise" by Seth Shostak, not make the list?

Terry the Censor said...

> The first three books on this list were written by George Adamski...and that makes me wonder about this.

Despite being numbered, the list is alphabetical (typos and other errors notwithstanding).

As Paul pointed out, The Roswell Incident is listed twice -- once with Berlitz as lead author, once with Moore as lead author.

But this is weirder:

52. Ufology, by james McCampbell, 1976
53. Ufology: New Insignts from Science and Common Sense, by James McCampbell, 1973

They are different printings of the same book.

CommanderCronus said...

Now that I've seen the list, I nominate Inside UFO 54-40 by Edward Packard as the definitive text on this subject.

Seriously, though, I didn't see a single book by Phillip J. Klass on the list, and he should be there. Though his viewpoint was controversial, one cannot have a full understanding of the UFO subject without having been exposed to the debunking side of it.

I'd also add Whitley Strieber's first two UFO-related books to the list. Those books fall well into the contactee genre, but his perspective on the UFO phenomenon - one that blends UFOlogy with spirituality - was unique and, in some ways, ahead of its time.

Richard Dolan should be up there too. The list is incomplete without him.

Mr. Sweepy said...


Sorry to hear that you are not on the list. If there is any consultation, it is likely your work was used in quotes many in those 100 books.

Your still number one on my list.

Mr. Sweepy said...


Do you think you didn't make the list because of swamp gas? (That of course is a joke!)

Mr. Sweepy said...


Here is a list I found that you were on about UFO writers and books:

You are also shown in "UFO Researcher" in Google Search and in Wikipedia:

Wikipedia List of ufologists:

If I may offer a professional suggestion, you might do the following. First clean up you Wiki page. They might dump your page if you don't. I know because the powers to be at Wiki have refused our page even though we meet every criteria. The problem is we don't have any competitors which is a whole other issue.

Second, you should be on top of the Google Search rankings for UFO writers. If you would to create a simple website with a readable (Google search robot) link to all of your book titles and books you have written, this will vault you pretty high and fast with both Google and Wikipedia.

PS... I figured out how to legally hack Google Panda Algorithm twice. It's not just learning the rules of the search ranking game but figuring out how to beat Google. Don't believe me? I can show you.

gef the talking mongoose said...

Ummm ... Close Encounters of the Third Kind? I like the movie, but of course the only book is a novelization of the movie. Which is, of course, fiction. And if movies are eligible for inclusion, might as well add Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc. etc. etc.

Surely the 1956 quasi-documentary Unidentified Flying Objects would be far more fitting.

Also, what about Jerome Clark's 3 UFO Enclyopedia volumes, or the single-volume distillation, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial?