Monday, April 18, 2011

The Golden Age of the Saucer 'Zines

We live in an amazing world of advanced communication, with the Internet and "smart phones" and so many other tools, but there is something missing - heart, and maybe even soul. I'm old enough to remember a time before all of this new-fangled technology, wondrous though it may be, when people actually published things and sent them along in the mail, and when individuals actually took the time to write letters, and chose their words carefully, as opposed to the verbal diarrhea we experience today on chat forums, e-mails and the like. It might not have been a kinder, or gentler era, but it was definitely more... civilized, and meaningful; the cultural difference between an Ingmar Bergman film, and a Michael Bay movie.

Back in the early years of flying saucerdom, even before my time, there were myriad flying saucer 'zines that various people and UFO groups produced, sometimes for an issue or two, and sometimes for runs of months or even years. Some were funny, while most were serious (sometimes too serious, and therefore  unintentionally amusing as a result). Some had a pseudo-scientific bent, while others were of a spiritual, quasi-religious outlook. All of them helped build a community of real people who, whatever we might think of them, were more human and therefore more interesting than the "community" of avatars and pseudonyms that we have today. James Moseley's "Saucer Smear" is one that remains, a charming, curmudgeonly touchstone of a bygone era. Here are a couple of examples of others, long gone.

The first one, "Orbit", is from the United Kingdom...

The second one, "The Scientific Approach to Cosmic Understanding", was from new Zealand.

As we check our e-mail, or Facebook, or Twitter, and then maybe read the latest on-line PDF 'zine or listen to the latest podcast on our portable "device", let's spare a moment to remember, with fondness and respect, the golden age of the saucer 'zines. We shall not see their like again, and we are poorer for it.

Paul Kimball

1 comment:

Greg said...

Luckily for us, Gray Barker, in addition to publishing his own 'zine, "The Saucerian," collected all of Al Bender's newsletters into one volume. Bender's publication was called "Saucer News" and was truly a gem. One issue has the entire message that Bender wanted the members of the International Flying Saucers Bureau to use for "World Contact Day," which of course was later recycled as the lyrics to Klaatu's song "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft."