David Saperstein ’53

Screenwriter and eBook Pioneer


Johan Wichterle

Saperstein talks about his experiences as a writer during a student interview.

Writer David Saperstein, class of ’53, returned to Bronx Science to be inducted into its newly created Hall of Fame, which celebrates memorable alumni for the school’s 80th anniversary.

“Bronx Science, more than anything else, taught me how to learn,” said Saperstein, reflecting fondly on the experiences that set him up for his future successes.

Although he is primarily known for his writing, Saperstein first went to the City College of New York’s engineering school after graduating from Bronx Science.

A couple of years later in his life, Saperstein enrolled in City College’s film school. When he graduated, he and a friend started a film business together.

“We did documentaries, corporate films, government films, TV commercials – and we did that for twenty years,” Saperstein explained. “We also worked for companies like IBM, and because of all the math and science that I learned in high school, I could talk to those people. I’d translate the scientific and mathematical terms to ones that were more common and easily understandable to the average person, and that helped a great deal.”

Saperstein went on to write for multiple television shows and feature films, lyrics for over eighty songs, librettos for three musicals, and over fifteen novels. The most famous of his works, the ‘Cocoon’ Trilogy, is a science-fiction novel series about a group of aliens who return to Earth after a large asteroid hits the planet.

“‘Cocoon’ was the first novel that I published,” said Saperstein. “In some ways it was easy, seeing as I was a bit burned out from the film business, but it wasn’t a piece of cake. In fact, fifty-one people said ‘no’ to me when I was trying to publish ‘Cocoon’. But after having my own business, I understood rejection pretty well. The ‘no’s’ didn’t bother me; I was just looking for that one ‘yes.’”

Aside from writing ‘Cocoon,’ Saperstein also helped to create its extremely successful movie adaptation.

Some of his other successful works include the ‘Evil on Earth’ novel series, as well as his contributions towards the films ‘A Christmas Visitor’ and ‘Beyond the Stars.’

“Bronx Science, more than anything else, taught me how to learn.”

“Right now, novels are probably my favorite medium to write for,” Saperstein said. “Although, the story still comes first, then the medium.”

Saperstein is also noted as one of the pioneers of electronic books. His novel, ‘Dark Again,’ was the first full-length novel ever published on the Internet.

“There was a website called Cybergold,” Saperstein said, “and the owner explained that he wanted to sell stuff. I suggested selling books, that people could either download and read on the computer or maybe print out. He asked if I had anything, and I told him that I had actually finished a new novel. The owner had the book digitized and put it on the front page of his site.”

Currently, Saperstein is taking a break from writing. “I’ve just delivered a libretto for a musical,” Saperstein said, “and I finished my nineteenth novel a couple of weeks ago.”
Saperstein has many plans for future projects though, so you can definitely expect to see new works from him soon.

Johan Wichterle
Saperstein is joined by students in front of The Bronx High School of Science’s newly created Hall of Fame.
Johan Wichterle
Principal Jean Donahue presents Saperstein with his Hall of Fame plaque.
Victor Tesoro
Mr. Saperstein joins students for lunch to discuss the future of the film and writing industries.
Victor Tesoro
Alexandra Ang ’18 interviews Mr. Saperstein in front of two English classes.