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Available Now - The Silver Archive 5: DARK SKIES

Matthew Kresal liked Dark Skies so much he wrote a book on it!

"My name is John Loengard. I'm recording this because we might not live through the night. They're here, they're hostile and there are powerful people who don't want you to know. History as we know it is a lie…"
That voice-over opens most episodes of Dark Skies, a television series that ran for a single season on the US NBC network between 1996 and 1997. Indeed, it also opened up the article I wrote about the series here in 2016. I wasn't through writing about the series, though. Thanks to the folks at Obverse Books, I've now had the opportunity to write about Dark Skies as part of their Silver Archive range of Cult TV analysis.

Why Dark Skies? As I talked about in my aforementioned article, it was a series with a combination of real 1960s history, period setting with all the era's trappings, and its use of real UFO lore to tell an alternate history, alien invasion story. As longtime readers of my pieces might have surmised, it was a series that ticked all of my boxes for interests. Because of that, and the knowledge I had of the subject matter, when I finished watching the show in its entirety in 2013, I found myself wanting to write about it in-depth, to explore just how much real history and the actual pieces of ufology that the series used.

Wanting is one thing, finding someone who would let me was another. It took more than three years (and some false starts) before I found a publisher who would let me do it. Funnily enough, it happened in part because of Warped Factor, and my reviewing a then-recent Christmas present in the form of the Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Counterfit Detective. Its author happened to be Obverse's editor in chief Stuart Douglas who kindly sent me some of the company's Doctor Who-related works. That was about the time this site went on a hiatus, but it put me on the company's email list when the call went out for pitches for the Silver Archive. I nearly didn't pitch it, given past experiences, but my best friend talked me into doing it and I'm glad they did.

To my amazement, mine was one of the pitches that got picked up. What followed was roughly three years of research and writing, if in an on-and-off fashion. Il found myself doing plenty of reading, watching, and listening. It led me into some interesting places and bits of research, exploring everything from how Cold War secrecy helped shape perceptions of a UFO cover-up to things like Invasion of the Body Snatcher, and even how the Beatles made their first splash here in the US.

It also led me, to my utter surprise, to the show's creators: Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman. Few things delighted and intrigued me more than the opportunities I had to correspond and interview these two men, both of whom continue to have active careers in the entertainment industry. Both of whom gave their time to help with the book, with Bryce even spending two days delving into his archives to send me production documents not seen outside those who made the show and which appear in the finished book for the first time. Brent gave me insight into two incredible experiences he had that helped shape the series, one in his teenage years with a neighbor who served at a high level in the Reagan administration and another which Bryce shared in when they were approached by men claiming to be in the know who wanted to get "the truth" out via their series. Incredible stories that I'm grateful were shared with me and which I tried to put into the wider context of the world of ufology. If, as Bryce said, mine is to be the only book written about their creation, I hope they’ll be happy with it.

Obverse released the Dark Skies book, the fifth entry in the range, earlier this month. You can buy it digitally and in paperback via Obverse directly or, if you want a physical copy and are outside the UK, you can order it from Lulu. I hope that you'll find it as intriguing and informative as I did while writing it, and putting the different strands of so many of my interests together in one place.

And, perhaps, even discover a series that ended before its time, and deserves to be seen even now.

Matthew Kresal lives in North Alabama where he's a nerd, doesn't have a southern accent and isn't a Republican. He's a host of both the Big Finish centric Stories From The Vortex podcast and the 20mb Doctor Who Podcast. You can read more of his writing at his blog and at The Terrible Zodin fanzine, amongst other places.

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