Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Part 10, Chapter 7 - A Burial, of Sorts

So now Jonnie and Friends have a problem. The gold they're supposed to be mining is currently buried under a heap of rubble at the bottom of the river, and their boss is a mentally-unstable, murderous alien who will likely decide now's a good time to terminate his little man-thing mining project. And the recon drone is due to fly overhead in a matter of hours.

Jonnie orders the rescued workers home, then inspiration strikes.

"I'm going to do it!" said Jonnie suddenly.

If Terl notices the white quartz in the rubble of the avalanche, Jonnie reasons, he'll know that they didn't reach the gold before the rockslide. So he decides to blow up the other end of the dig, on the cliff itself, to create the illusion they tunneled all the way through.

So he does.

Hubbard describes how Jonnie runs around the mine, drilling holes in the walls, ignoring his devoted followers' objections that he's putting himself in danger by pointing out he's worked with explosives the longest, and so forth. Then there's a tepid little danger moment when Jonnie, suspended by a winch, shoots a "shot-holer gun" to make a spot in the cliff to put a bomb into, which has the danger of setting off the explosives in the mine. But of course he makes it okay.

So the quartz is buried in the rubble from the blast, the illusion of a complete mine is created before the recon drone flies over, and dear lord we're three hundred and twenty-five pages in and there's no battle yet. The book is called Battlefield Earth and so far there's been a single skirmish during that raid several chapters ago. Mostly it's been Jonnie sitting in a cage, Jonnie driving a tractor, or Scotsmen mining. Arrrrrrgh!

It's obvious why Battlefield Earth was packaged as one big book instead of a series - nobody who read the first volume would have any reason to read the rest.

Next chapter, Terl leaps to the wrong conclusions. Shocking, I know.

Back to Chapter Six

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