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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mission Earth Volume 8 - Disaster: What a Disaster!

Earlier this year I began reading L Ron Hubbard’s massive Mission Earth series. I’ve just finished volume 8 Disaster. I can see the end approaching. I’m almost there. Almost there….

LRH has lumbered through the first 7 ½ books like an angry drunk – more concerned with rants against his enemies (psychiatrists, psychologists, the FBI, homosexuals, etc…) than with coherent storytelling. But in this 8th volume of the Mission Earth series LRH finally gets around to tying up all the loose threads of his ‘narrative.’

…at least I think that he got them all. To be honest, LRH left so many subplots  rabbit-trails, and false starts along the way, I’m not sure if he wrapped up everything or not, but I’m not inclined to go back and check.

The 1st half of Disaster moves rapidly to a conclusion: the series’ hero, Jettero Heller, is successful in bringing down the evil oil companies controlled by J. D. Rockecenter and introducing a free energy source to the planet (in the form of a captured black hole placed in orbit around the earth!) and the villainous scoundrel, Soltan Gris, is captured and taken back to the planet Voltar to stand trial for his crimes.

Check and check.

But then, after 7 ½  books written from the viewpoint of Soltan Gris,  LRH introduces another character – one Monte Penwell, a struggling (and failing) author who decides to become the first investigative journalist in Voltarian history. Penwell (Get it? He’s a writer? Penwell? Nudge. Nudge.) continues the story for us.

Heller rescues the Voltarian Emperor from the clutches of Lombar Hisst (Gris’ superior) who had been keeping him weak and addicted to heroin in order to take over the Empire. Heller returns to earth to restore the emperor to health and to prevent World War III from beginning. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, of course.

Has Rockecenter
foiled the entire plan?

What will Hisst do
to retaliate?

Find out in
Volume 9
Villainy Victorious
(page 333)

LRH’s idea of dramatic action packed writing was to string together a series of simple declarative sentences – one per line, with lots of exclamation points and WORDS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! – and sometimes he couldn’t even be bothered to write complete sentences.

He could make out the outlines of a spiral chute going down!
A shotgun blasted again at the door.
Heller grabbed his satchels.
He threw himself on the spacetrooper sled.
The shotgun roared again!
Heller hit the controls.
The sound of the door bursting in.
The sled started out the window.
Another shotgun blast!
Something tugged at his heel!
He shot out into the dark night!
It sounded just like lightning had struck close to hand, a blasting, cracking roar that filled the night!
The sled bucked and twisted.
It plummeted earthward from thirty-five stories high.
Convulsively, Heller gripped the controls. The ground was coming up, unseen, but it must be very near!
He got the sled into a climb.
The sled slewed.
Heller got it straightened out!
A tree straight ahead!
Heller zoomed over it.
At least he knew where the ground was now.
He settled the sled vertically and played his light down.
He landed.
(pages 317 – 318)

And it goes on like this through THE TENTH EXPLOSION WENT! Seriously.

I am almost finished with the series.  I have the final two books from the library now.  The end is coming soon, praise Xenu.


  1. I read enough of his stupid Scientology books to turn me off. I'm sure his fiction (not Scientology) is a litle better but I've had enough of that "legend in his own mind".

  2. I've read a little of his earlier 'pulp writings... and they're not too bad. But later stuff (Battlefield and Mission Earth) are terrible. I think he completely forgot grammer, style, character development, plot...


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