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WORD: David Halperin debuts with novel 'Journal of a UFO Investigator'

David Halperin, a professor of religious studies who received his PhD from Cal Berkeley back in 1977, has made a late-career turn to writing novels. His debut, "Journal of a UFO Investigator," (Viking) is an impressive debut about a teenage UFO investigator that effortlessly swings from the real world to fantasy.

Halperin's novel tells the story of Danny Shapiro, an awkward, lonely teen with a terminally ill mother and a hostile father set against the backdrop of the troubled 1960s. The story weaves psychological drama and vivid outer space fantasy as Danny turns to an imaginative universe to escape his crumbling home life.

He enters the world of UFOs when a glowing red disk tumbles down upon him from the night sky, and his home is mysteriously burglarized not long afterward. Danny's dilemna is much like what Halperin faced as a teenager. His mother was dying, yet no one in the family would speak of it because they were too emotionally alienated to support each other, he said in a media release in which he explains why he wrote the novel.

Danny keeps himself sane by spinning a story in which he duels with the embodiments of death, unravels the mysteries of time and existence, and becomes lover to the most desirable girl he can imagine, all in a world in which nothing happens that is not conspiracy. Eventually, the boy descends into the nether-world and emerges transformed.

Like Danny, Halperin  became a UFO investigator, and he credits this belief with having helped him survive some very lonely and difficult years.

Halperin might have been an outcast as a teenager, but nowadays he's got the endorsement of several prominent novelists. Journal of a UFO Investigator has received advance praise from writers such as Aryeh LevStollman, Robert Morgan, and Iain Pears, among others.

"Journal of a UFO Investigator is a remarkable book. Part science-fiction, part novel of growing up, part surrealist voyage into the imagination, it is a disconcerting and satisfying experience," noted Pears.

To find out more about David Halperin and his novel check out his website. A book trailer is here.


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