Why I Wrote A.D. (or How I Stopped Worrying About the Past and Learned to Love the Future)
by Richard M. Dolan
November 1, 2010
For the sake of exactitude, the title of this article ought to be why I co-wrote A.D., as I had the pleasure and superb fortune to write this book with Bryce Zabel. But what I mean to discuss is why I wrote A.D., and not Volume Three of UFOs and the National Security State.
Anyone who has followed my career in ufology understands this question. My first book, Volume One of UFOs and the National Security State, was published a full decade ago, in mid-2000, although it really wasn’t until toward the end of that year that people began to take notice.
That book wasn’t the first serious history of the modern UFO phenomenon (that would be David Jacobs’ The UFO Controversy in America), and it wasn’t the first attempt to describe the UFO cover-up (that had been done countless times by many authors). It was, however, the first attempt to provide a fairly comprehensive historical underpinning to both the phenomenon and the cover-up. That is, it attempted to make a strong case for the historical reality of some sort of UFO government conspiracy between the years 1941 and 1973.
I felt while I was preparing that book that it had the potential to be special. Even so, I was not prepared for the strong response I received from so many readers. Today, a full decade later, when I can see a number of shortcomings of that first book, I am still sometimes taken aback by the praise people offer to me about it.
Immediately after I published it, people began asking the inevitable question: when was Volume Two going to come out? I had originally thought that I would not need more than three or four years to research and write that follow-up volume, which was to cover the UFO reality and cover-up from 1973 to the present day.
That volume ended up being much more work than I ever imagined. Had I tried to complete it as planned, it would easily have exceeded 1,000 pages. Once I realized this fact, I decided to split it into two books and end up with a trilogy. A much neater solution for sure, but even so it was not until mid-2009 that the second volume was able, finally, to see the light of day. The level of relief expressed by many of my readers was easily exceeded by my own. A 600-page albatross was taken off of my neck. Now, I had taken the ufological football, so to speak, to the year 1991: past the 50th yard line and well into enemy territory.
I knew that the long delay between Volumes 1 and 2 would not be repeated for Volume 3. By the end of 2009, the research for that was nearly all collected and organized. It was mainly a matter of simply writing the book.
That was when I began talking to Bryce, a former CNN journalist and the producer of the television series, Dark Skies, which aired on NBC. He initially contacted me because he felt that my books would make a strong foundation for a television or cinema treatment, and he wanted to option them. Through the winter of 2009 and 2010, we had quite a few conversations about how such a thing might be done. Then, by degrees, our discussion evolved into something else, a project that we realized was close to both of our hearts.
That project was to envision something that many people involved in UFO studies think about, but seldom make concrete: a world in which the reality of UFOs were openly acknowledged.
This was something I had been thinking about for a long time. Looking back over my public lectures, it seems that my first talk on the challenges and opportunities of “disclosure” go back to 2004, possibly 2003. Indeed, I even discussed it on Coast to Coast AM in late 2000. After all, if you believe that UFOs are real, and you believe there is secrecy on the matter, then it’s not outrageous to wonder what would happen if secrecy ended. Or to wonder how such secrecy might end.
For many years, Bryce had also been thinking along the same lines. By March of 2010, we had decided that we really could do this project, and that it wouldn’t take us forever to do it. That was key, from my point of view. I did not want to lose an inordinate amount of time from completing my trilogy. Judging from a number of emails I received from people I received throughout the summer of 2010, others shared that opinion. There were more than a few who were skeptical about the value of an undertaking what seemed frankly speculative and away from what they perceived was my strength, namely detailed historical analysis of the UFO phenomenon.
Still, right from the beginning, Bryce and I became believers. Just as, ten years before, I knew I was on to something special, so too we both felt that we were on to something no one else had ever tried to do, at least in the form of a book. We were trying to see the future, but not as psychics. Rather, the way a think tank would, by extrapolating from the known into what seems most likely.
Six months after we started, A.D. After Disclosure: The People’s Guide to Life After Contact was released to the world. With this book, we have tried to do several things, not the least of which is to start a conversation. We had become dissatisfied, to some extent, with the books seeking to prove UFOs were “real.” Let us start with that assumption, we thought, and move ahead.
You, the reader, must have asked yourself many times: granted, UFO secrecy has been dominant for many generations, but … might it end one day, anyway? And if so, how might it end? And then, how will the end of that secrecy really affect our lives? Will it really bring a kind of utopia, as some writers on this topic have assumed (e.g. by enabling us to use ‘free’ energy, or by having open contact with advanced and peaceful extraterrestrial beings)? Or, will it force humanity to come together in order to combat a true alien menace? Or will we discover the truth about “them” to be stranger still?
Bryce and I never pretended that we knew the answer to those (admittedly) key questions concerning “The Others.” What we discovered, nevertheless, was that in many ways it didn’t matter. For Disclosure — true Disclosure complete with Capital D — was something we decided was inevitable and would bring major changes to our social, cultural, psychological, economic, spiritual, scientific, and political way of doing things. No matter what the Others are, our world will change in certain unavoidable ways. It is the wild stallion that, once released, no rider can tame.
Our book is 321 pages long. Every page of it is an exploration, every idea within it is something fresh to our minds, every scenario and outcome we speculated on was something we discussed and struggled over. The book is something new. On a hot, stagnant summer afternoon, it is a fresh breeze, a cool rain. In our book, we described Disclosure as a “game changing event” but we have come to understand that this book itself is a game changer. For it will jump-start a vision of the future, a vision created not from fantasy and wish-fulfillment, but from fearless extrapolation based on what we already know.
Undoubtedly, much will prove to be off the mark. Such is the nature of peering through the glass darkly. Much is undoubtedly missing. There is no way any endeavor like ours can be fully predictive. That is not what we sought to do.
Instead, we set out to do two things. First, to try our hand at preparing an accurate and fresh vision of the future. Second, to show a way that it can be done. Although I personally feel Bryce and I have done well on both counts, it is this second objective that I feel will be of the most lasting value for the UFO community. For it will enable others to study what we have tried, and to give them ideas on how they can offer something of their own.
We did not set out to write the final word on life after Disclosure. We only sought to write the first. Now it’s your turn.
And while you’re busy with that, I just may be able to finish that third volume!