David Standish (Author, Hollow Earth)
2.4 – Underground Aliens (11.18.10)
David Standish has been the editorial advisor for 20 Magazine Innovation Projects. He also teaches magazine writing, a class on how to write a nonfiction book, and modules on freelancing and travel writing. A longtime magazine freelancer, he still writes occasionally for magazines but in the last few years has been concentrating more on books.
He was an editor at Playboy for 10 years, and has written many articles for that magazine. Before coming to Medill he was a freelancer for 20 years, and has written for Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Outside, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, Landscape Architecture, House Beautiful, Reader’s Digest, Diversion, Chicago, and others. He has written nationally syndicated travel articles for Universal Press Syndicate. In the mid-80s he was a co-writer of the film comedy “Club Paradise,” which starred Peter O’Toole and Robin Williams. He was author in 2000 of “The Art of Money” (Chronicle Books), which was named one of the 10 Notable art books of the year by The New York Times. His latest book, “Hollow Earth,” a cultural history of the idea that the earth might be hollow, was published by DaCapo Press in July 2006, with a paperback edition following a year later. It was widely reviewed, and named an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Sunday Book Review.
Standish believes that the best writers have the most curious, interested minds. Instilling that curiosity—or simply encouraging it—is one of his major goals. To the degree that one thinks and observes the world in a clear, original way, good writing generally follows. Skills, tactics, writing strategy are all important, of course, but thinking well is paramount in becoming a fine writer. 
Beliefs in mysterious underworlds are as old as humanity. But the idea that the earth has a hollow interior was first proposed as a scientific theory in 1691 by Sir Edmond Halley (of comet fame), who suggested that there might be life down there as well. Hollow Earth traces the surprising, marvelous, and just plain weird permutations his ideas have taken over the centuries. From science fiction to utopian societies and even religions, Hollow Earth travels through centuries and cultures, exploring how each era’s relationship to the idea of a hollow earth mirrored its hopes, fears, and values. Illustrated with everything from seventeenth-century maps to 1950s pulp art to movie posters and more, Hollow Earth is for anyone interested in the history of strange ideas that just won’t go away.