Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Closing the Book

I’m can’t think of much else to say. I’ve gone through the book, I’ve done some half-baked analysis, so now I guess it’s time to call it a day.

Battlefield Earth is a book of science-fiction, and it fails at both aspects of the genre. Hubbard’s grasp of radiation is ludicrous at best and dangerously misinformed at worst, and he treats it as a plot device more than anything else. Likewise, anyone with a background in economics will boggle at how gold is the most important resource in sixteen universes, while biologists will have a good belly laugh at Hubbard’s description of viruses.

The "fiction" part of the equation is similarly lacking. Despite his assurances in the book’s introduction, Hubbard fails at writing characters that behave like real people or make the reader care about what happens to him. He fails at writing villains who are threatening, or even villainous to begin with. His story is a jumbled mess of contrivances and plot holes and overly-long, pointless passages that desperately cries out for a skilled editor to take a chainsaw to it.

So who in his right mind would spend a year and a half going through it, chapter by chapter, complaining about how bad it is?

In my defense, I didn’t have anything better to do, and would describe myself as "differently sane" rather than "right-minded."

But working on this blog has been fun, Hubbard-induced headaches and all. It gave me something to do while digesting supper, let me write, and enabled me to pursue my passion of being an overly-critical, sarcastic smartass.

It was more of a pet project than a "professional" blog. I never got around to monetizing the thing, and put no effort into promoting it. I should really be surprised I got any readers at all, but nonetheless some people out there on the internet apparently found my ramblings to be a good waste of their time. So to those of you who made it this far, I salute you! You have withstood a bare-bones blog page and an author writing more for himself than for an audience, and have succeeded in going through Battlefield Earth by proxy.

So what happens now?

Vacation time, first of all. This blog helped give my evenings structure, but sometimes it’s good to plan a night without a self-imposed publishing deadline hanging over your head. At some point I may come back and tidy things up a bit, maybe add a cast page or a handy guide to Battlefield Earth’s alien races. I may even risk a frivolous lawsuit by monetizing this thing, blessing future readers with banner ads while the old guard can reminisce about the good old days before the blogger sold out.

And then… well, it’s been suggested that I do Mission Spork, a journey through Hubbard’s ten-book (!) Mission Earth series. And I must admit to being curious as to whether it’s any better than Battlefield Earth, of if not, than if it at least fails in new and exciting ways. So unless my schedule changes, I’ll probably have that to look forward to in my future. I’ll be sure to make a post announcing the new blog if and when that happens.

I guess there's nothing left to say, except "Thanks for reading!" Remember to keep irradiated bullets on your person at all times, pledge obedience to any handsome stranger weaving a tale of demons from outer space, and always oppose the forces of psychiatry in their bid for world domination.


  1. I commend you for having the courage and bulletproof sanity to do this.

    Mission Spork would be awesome, I mean, as awesome as can be using a likely similar to BE quality text as your someone rce material. You can do it, make us proud.

  2. Without trying to compare topics, I have never encountered such a doggedly insistance of making proof that nonsense is exactly what it says ( i.e. Non Sense), since Immanuel Kant or Friedrich Engells.
    I marvel at your endeavour - but, to be frank, why in the Crap Nebula invest all that energy into ripping apart that entirely forgetable haggis? Battlefield Earth is not even mediocre - presumeably we could live with that - no, it's downright baaaaad. Bad context, bad narrative, bad characters and surely a blahd crapstruction. And - beaver(!) - maybe not even written by his scientological highness Lafayette. Let bad enough be -
    Move on to reviewing-cum-analyzing text-masses with more impetus and quality. I dare you, because I see you're capable.
    But in the meantime: - you got the bastard! Congratulations. And thank you!

  3. This was fun, thanks!

  4. I just went through this whole sporking as fast as I could. I am amazed at how much worse the book is compared to the movie. Wow. And after a search, I found out you did start Mission Spork. Doublewow.

  5. Truly you have performed a feat of endurance and tenacity few men would subject themselves to. I read every word over several days. Quite impressive. L. Ron HUbbard was NEVER a skilled writer. Even in his prime, he was a terrible hack. Outside his followers, virtually NONE of his works is read today. Compared to his peers such as Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, Or Frederick Pohl he seems not even fit to carry their jockstraps! Unlike those men, L Ron seemed to have no grasp of scientific principles. What you DO see in "Battlefield Earth" are the man's prejudices, limited intellect, and phobias.

    Even with a competent editor "Battlefield Earth" would be a barely passable diversion. If it was third or a fifth of its final length and the world building in any way competent,MAYBE it could have become a decent movie.
    And, as bad as the movie is, it is actually better than its source material, again demonstrating just how crap nebula is the writing.
    I had a friend who purchased this book as his bathroom literature. It SHOULD be read on the crapper as it is excrement! I imagine, digested in ten or fifteen minute bites over two years, it goes down easier. I LOVE MST3K I love the idea of sporking. I salute you sir even while I question your sanity.