Thursday, December 23, 2010

All Good Things Come To An End. Also, Battlefield Earth is Over

Finally, the last eleven pages.

Timeskip to "a few months later," with Jonnie hearing about Scotland's attempts to fund its reconstruction. There's talk of taxation for the first time in recent memory, which our hero scoffs at - "taxation, as a government way of life, was sort of silly business: couldn't a government earn its keep? Why did it have to go around robbing people?" I guess Jonnie's in favor of nationalized industries or campaigns for foreign plunder.

Instead of those abominable "taxes," Jonnie comes up with the idea for "contribution" boxes for the Scots to drop coins into (where did they get coins?) while Jonnie secretly pays for everything with his Buildstrong Inc. company. This leads to his Chatovarian workers deciding Edinburgh would be centered around the fields of "planetary government, extraterrestrial training, and Scottish handicraft," which ends with about a page dedicated to the layout and architecture of the new capital. Think medieval spires.

Edinburgh isn't the only city to feel the fury of Hubbard's fantasies of urban design, as the huge number of Chatovarian construction crews used to rush the Scottish capital's completion leads to a lot of workers needing something to do. So they set out refurbishing all those other ruins, even though they haven't been inhabited for "eleven hundred years" (I thought this was a saga of the year 3000?) based on future, potential uses for the city sites. Hubbard takes another jab at "modern" architecture with his report that America had "gone so madly modern and the Chatovarians couldn't abide it." Instead they copy the landmarks they like and apply it to the whole scheme.

So across the world the aliens construct gleaming metropolises with abundant parkland and super-fast public transportation, which are then are sealed up, waiting for a population. "Oh well, Jonie thought, when he saw all those empty cities going up, maybe somebody would live in them someday."

The man who came up with the economy that will save the universes sends his workers to build empty, unneeded cities so they'll have something to do?

What else, what else... Ker is head of an Edinburgh mining school, where the other surviving Psychlos help out as teachers... those Communicator folks start going out to other planets with former Psychlo slaves off hiding in the mountains and help them rebuild, since no other race in existence is capable of doing this without human help... Chiefy O'Nameless of Clanfearghus is declared king by the Earth government, but is benevolent enough to defer to tribal chiefs... "The Democratic Valiant Red-Army People's Colonel" Ivan gets Russia, natch... Chong-won rebuilds China into a center of intergalactic cooking where aliens learn to prepare cuisine they can't actually metabolize, with a side industry of silk...

Oh, Chrissie's upset by the new money again, because each issue looks increasingly more like a Selachee than Jonnie. Which is entirely intentional, since Jonnie wants his anonymity. In other bank news, the load from The Lode sits behind armored glass in the lobby of Galactic Bank's newest complex, with a sign reading "This gold was mined personally by Jonnie Goodboy Tyler and some Scots. He has left it with us because he TRUSTS us. So can you. If you start your new account today, you can reach through a slot and touch it!" This is both amusing and contemptible.

Blah blah blah, new teleport car, beings across the galaxies are awed by "pots and pans and suchlike" and demand these strange new "consumer products..." everyone's raving about this revolutionary new idea of not fighting war... urge to destroy universe rising...

Oh, Galactic Bank plants a report that's "leaked" by the Hawvin's intelligence agency, which claims that Jonnie's "if you fight I'll kill you all" teleporter platforms have been increased in number from twenty-eight to fifty-three, and hidden in the seventeenth universe. Since there's only sixteen known universes, this prompts a flurry of exploration that indeed discovers a new universe, but not the Universe #17 Jonnie fabricated for that report. How clever?

All those emissaries who bent over backwards for the magnificent Jonnie become insanely wealthy by selling overstocked planets for settlement. Jonnie, on the other hand, has a minor gripe when his company's Earth division runs in the red making all those useless empty cities. Then that point is temporarily dropped when Jonnie and Stormalong and Dries go up to the moon to walk around, where they discover tire tracks and footprints and a gum wrapper and "the very faded remains of what might have been a flag." So yes, books in a moldering ruin keep better than a plastic-wrapped flag sitting in a vacuum.

Only when he's returning to Earth and spots a new inland sea in the Sahara does Jonnie discover how his company plans on running a profit. Those Chatovarians have been running around planting quadrillions of trees to convert the Middle East or the American Mid-West into forests to feed off-world and starving Chatovarians (they're beaver-people, remember). They admit that this will lead to climate change but overlook the fact that they're destroying millions of miles of grassland or desert habitat, thereby dooming countless species to extinction.  Jonnie gives his general manager a pay raise.

There's a bit about Jonnie finding Pierre as a panhandling preacher describing how the former can walk on clouds and fight demons. Jonnie doesn't stand for it and flies him back to that mountain in Africa with the Psychlo cadavers to set the record straight. And then Pattie...

Ah, this part.

Now, Bittie MacLeod's sarcophagus survived the bombing of Edinburgh after "three beams of the collapsing cathedral [fell] across it almost protectively." So when Pattie turns sixteen, she goes to the crypt and demands that she be married to Bittie. The parson, "who could find no law against it," concedes, and she becomes Mrs. Pattie MacLeod.

She marries a corpse.

Let's examine this again - Bittie, whose age is not given to my knowledge but is described as a "boy" and never a "teen," meets nine-year-old Pattie. They decide they are in love and Bittie gets a "to my future life" pendent for a prepubescent girl. Then he dies. The nine-year-old is devastated, of course, but in seven years never gets over it, never rethinks their early relationship, never meets anyone else, and becomes set on getting married to a sarcophagus.

This is not heartwarming or romantic. This is ick. At least she founds the MacLeod Intergalactic Health Organization afterward, so something not horrifying comes out of this development.

Oh, and Jonnie and Chrissie have a baby they name Timmie Brave Tyler, proving that the tradition of silly middle names will continue, while disabusing any notion that such monikers are earned instead of given at birth as a kind of wishful thinking. When Timmie turns six, Jonnie "blew up" after concluding that the child, who's learning multiple languages and can do math in his head and drive a go-cart, is growing up "totally ignorant of the vital things in life." So he takes his wife and kid and disappears into Colorado to spend a year teaching him how to ride horses bareback and track deer, skills sure to serve him well in a world of trans-dimensional teleportation.

And rest assured, the legacy of hurling "kill-clubs" instead of figuring out the freaking bow and arrow for the love of God these people are defective will live on.

One day after this Dunneldeen and Robert the Fox fly over to explain how they've sent Thor (one of Jonnie's body doubles, remember) on a tour of the universes in Jonnie's place. But they also miss Jonnie and want him to come home. So he does, "and while Timmie learned to speak fifteen languages and do five kinds of math, while he learned to drive a ground car like Ker and drive and fly anything the company made, on any planet, including Dries Gloton's new yacht, his education was never finished. It was probably the one failure in Jonnie Goodboy Tyler's life."

So not that business with the gas drone or Chrissie and Pattie's capture or the death of Bittie. Just his son not being as barbaric as his father. That's the failure. Whatever.

Almost done... MacDermott the historian writes The Jonnie Goodboy Tyler I Knew, or The Conqueror of Psychlo, Pride of the Scottish Nation (HE WASN'T A SCOT YOU MORONS) and sells 250 billion copies on its first day, though "it was not as good as this book, for it was intended for semiliterate people." And that may be my favorite line in the book, due to the possible interpretation that the people who would enjoy Battlefield Earth aren't quite literate. The good doctor goes on to found the Tyler Museum, and I'm just grateful it's not the First Church of Jonnie.

The book finally, finally ends with the news that a while after being called home, Jonnie disappeared with "a pouch, two kill-clubs and a knife," to the concern of his family (!) and friends, though they understand that he never liked all the attention he got and kept saying he wasn't needed anymore.

But people in the galaxies do not know that he is gone. If you ask almost anyone on a civilized planet where he is, you are likely to be told that he is there, just over that hill, waiting in case the lords or the Psychlos come back. Try it. You'll see. They will even point.

He never went to an alien world, but he's right there. He's never even heard of my species, and indeed we weren't even sentient when he blew up a planet, but he's right there. He's surely been dead for hundreds of years, but he's right there. We only heard about him when our ambassador came back from a routine conference to announce that we'd been blackmailed into pacifism with the threat of annihilation by a species we'd never heard of on a second-rate rock who somehow managed to blow up the Psychlos, then we decided he was greater than any of our peoples' heroes and embraced him into our mythology, so he's right there waiting to save us from any danger because we're so damn incompetent we can't do anything ourselves, be it defeat a race of drunken morons or figure out an economic system that doesn't require constant warfare.

This book sucks.

Wait, scratch that. This book sucked.

Much better.

Back to Part Thirty-Two, Chapter Seven


  1. Oh my gosh.

    It's over.

    I - I don't know what to say except congratulations on surviving this idiotic, offensive, genocidal, *insane* piece of wish fulfilling garbage, and not only that, but making your suffering entertaining, informative, and, above all, keeping your discourse on a higher level than Hubbard's. You managed to keep from injecting too much hate and vitriol into your sporking, even when no one would have blamed you for it, in your criticism you never came across as an unpleasant person, and for that you have my respect. You, sir, deserve a medal.

    *stands up and gives long round of applause*