Longtime newspaper reporter and editor Daniel Dunkle has published his first novel, a science fiction thriller set on a whaling ship in 1851.

Dunkle currently serves as the editor of The Courier-Gazette and The Camden Herald newspapers, both headquartered in Rockland. He has been working as a journalist in the Midcoast for the past 20 years, including four years as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast.

His novel, “The Scrimshaw Worm,” tells the story of Will Correy, the ship’s doctor on a whaling ship lost in the remote Pacific Ocean. After the crew rescues a young woman, Dorothy Wren, who has been starving adrift in a whaleboat, it begins to encounter strange phenomena. Something has taken up residence in the dark hold of the ship, and it begins picking off members of the crew.

“I was inspired to write a science fiction story in the tradition of ‘Alien,’ or ‘The Thing’ after watching a documentary on the golden age of whaling,” Dunkle said. “It seemed like a perfect setup. These whalers were out at sea for years at a time. There was no way for them to call for help or for any rescuers to reach them. Whatever they encounter, they have to deal with themselves.”

Once he hatched the idea, Dunkle began to do research on whaling history, including family trips to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and to the Charles Morgan whale ship at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.

Dunkle plans to hold events and talks concerning his book and whaling history in the near future.

“The Scrimshaw Worm” is available through Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback.

Dunkle lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, two children and two cats.

For more information visit danieldunkle.wordpress.com or email Dunkle at ddunkleauthor@gmail.com.