Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Favorite Book Number Eight
Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
"Man is an endangered species."
Yes I know the movie was one of the worst films of all time. Yes I know L. Ron Hubbard was the father of Scientology. But before the movie and before the religion, Hubbard was one of the more influential writers of the First Golden Age of Science Fiction, often recognized as the period from 1938 to 1946.
Part space opera, part action-adventure, part mystery, part political thriller, part family saga, part psychological suspense... I could keep going all day. The book is a doorstop. One thousand and eight pages of everything you can jam into a story, including the kitchen sink.
The book, at it's core, is the story of Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, one of the last remaining descendants of the human race after Earth was wiped out by a devastating alien invasion. The antagonist, Terl, is a Psychlo, a member of the race that slaughtered mankind and turned the Earth into a backwater mining colony. The story follows the clash of these two beings, a stubborn young human who has no idea what he is up against and the supremely clever and amoral alien who will stop at nothing to satisfy his ambition.
Trying to explain the plot of a thousand page book is nearly impossible. I will say this: The book is so over the-top-outrageous, so vast in scale and scope, so overpopulated with a cast of thousands of characters, combined with Hubbard's "Fuck you, I'll tell the story however I like!" attitude, it makes for a very interesting and unusual read.
If you love science fiction "yarns" and don't take yourself too seriously, this is the saga for you.
P.S. It's so much fun, it makes the entire Star Wars franchise feel like a sad, deflated balloon.