Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Part 28, Chapter 6 - Do Not Store Coal in Doorways

After wrapping up his chat with the Selachee, Jonnie bursts into the operations center and shakes awake Tinny the Buddhist radio operator, who is near exhaustion after working for days without sleep. Jonnie is trying to reach MacAdam and the Earth Planetary Bank in Luxemborg, but Stormalong tells him how everyone there is over in Russia trying to get into the missile base.

The Scot explains that the Russians had been gathering "some black stuff, inflammable," from a nearby mine for the winter, which Jonnie recognizes as coal. So there's walls of flames blocking the entrances to the Russian base, and the Luxemborg base has flown water-filled tankers to do some firefighting, leaving them with nobody at the radio and no pilots.

There's the usual "Jonnie wants to do it, and the supporting characters have to talk him out of it because he's too important to risk" dialogue, and Stormalong ultimately ends up going to retrieve MacAdam to handle Earth's debt.

"A debt?" said Stormalong.

"Yes, a debt. And if we don't pay or handle it, we've lost this whole war! Even if we win it!"

Remember in Star Wars when, after the Death Star got blown up and there was that victory celebration, we got to watch the heroes of the Rebel Alliance come up with a payment plan for their starfighters and supplies? Or when Indiana Jones haggled over life insurance after retrieving the Ark of the Covenant? Or when Sarah Conner had a tense phone conversation from her hospital bed to discuss a missed interest payment at the end of The Terminator?

No? That's because it isn't a very good way to end a story, especially after a war sequence or two (no matter how unimpressive).

This book is basically over. Earth was liberated hundreds and hundreds of pages ago, no matter how long Hubbard tried to draw it out. We've had the "find the hidden Psychlo outpost" plot, the "takeover of the world government" plot, and the "unlock secrets of teleportation" plot. And after all that, L. Ron's grand finale is another "scramble to come up with an alien's money" plot.

This is why Battlefield Earth was printed as one thick brick of a book rather than a series - because what is the market for a novel revolving around planetary debt?

Back to Part Twenty-Eight, Chapter Five

1 comment:

  1. Please don't let this mean that it's over...! This blog has been a source of much joy for many months, inspiring me to take up challenges which seem imposible. Oh, no, I'm not inspired by the book or its characters, but by YOU, dear blogger. The bravery you have, especially with the amount if mental pain and anguish you must feel when processing the drivel on those pages is right up there with the soldiers at Normandy.

    I will be so sad it this is it.

    But hey, the Mission Earth "Decology" would be a formidable and worthy next challenge, right?