I decided this for two reasons: One, Hubbard can write. (But he can't edit /Regina Spektor) so this isn't going to be intensely painful. And two...did you really think I was gonna pass up a chance to tear into something tangientlly related to the worst movie ever made?
Mission Earth is an "issue" book. Like all of Ayn Rand's fiction, Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" series, the Left Behind series, and the one Harlan Ellison story I ever read ("Repent, Harliquen, said the Tick-Tock Man", my GOD I will never look at Jellybeans the same way again) Mission Earth was written to address A Dreadful Thing. Problem is, Hubbard's issue is A Dreadful Thing only if you follow L. Ron Hubbard's philosophy and religion. And if you do, more power to you, it's a free country.
If you don't think LRH was space-God, though, Mission Earth is page after page of beautiful, beautiful WTF.
Another, bigger problem with the book is it's publisher, Bridge Publications. They exist to do one thing and one thing only: keep L. Ron Hubbard's books in print. They do not publish anything that does not have his name on it. Now, I'm not saying that Hubbard was a god-awful writer. Quite the opposite, actually. He did a pretty good job from what I've read. But he needed an Editor. And if your version of a Prophet hands you a book to print, are you going to edit it properly? I do not think so. The beginning? Is good (ish). The ending? Good. The middle? You could hang chapters on a dart board to pick which ones you keep.
(Also I have it on really good authority that 1. Hubbard wrote all ten books in one go, and then told BP to break this big chunk of writing into more book-looking things, and 2. He died before they got further than printing book two)
I plan on doing the rest of this book chapter by chapter, but this first time, I'm going until I hit the actual part of the book.
We start with a long authors note about satire. Did I say satire? I meant SATIRE:
However, there is another aspect to science fiction: by its nature most of it has an element of satire. It has been used by such notables as Mark Twain, Johannes Kepler, Samuel Butler, Jules Vern and Sir Thomas More. This becomes more obvious when the history of satire is examined and compared with science fiction.
So when he starts criticizing actual elements of the actual world, kids, don't worry. It's Satire. Just in case we don't get this, he gives us the entire history of the world (And remember, this book is, according to Dow Jones, "bristling with excitement on every page") for the next four pages. So just in case we missed it, guys and girls, THIS BOOK IS SATIRE.
The next chapter is...a foreward from the Voltarian Censor. This assures us that Earth doesn't exist, the book we are reading is fictional, and yes, sure, some of the characters are real but that doesn't mean anything. Okay, I get it. Moving on.
...no, we're still going with this? Emperor this did this, psychiatry and psychology are bad (thanks Ron) "Drugs" don't exist, and THERE IS NO PLANET EARTH.
Thank you! Moving. On.
And the next chapter is from the Voltarian translator. Oh for fuck's sake, Ron. I came here to read a freaking book. Not to have your translataphone explain how words and phrases in Voltarian have different meanings in English. Especially not when your Censor just went apeshit telling us THERE IS NO EARTH.
Also, the translataphone is censoring the cuss words.
Censoring the cuss words in a book published in 1985.
1985, people. For the sake of argument, I looked up Stephen King’s bibliography, and I discovered that Carrie was published in ’74, and IT, in 86. Between these years we have, in reverse chronological order, Thinner, Pet Cematary (the book KING didn’t want published because it was too vile) Christine, The Stand, Rage (The book that KING decided should never be printed ever again) and The Shining. All of which, if I remember correctly, contained the word “fuck”. And in this book? Where “fuck” is very very obviously the word used? “Bleep” is employed. There are sentences like “That bleeping bleep,” and “They bleeped all night”. Ron, I got over the urge to black out offensive words with a sharpie when I was thirteen. Would it kill you to grow up a little?
CHAPTER ONE! YES! FINALLY! WE MADE IT TO CHAPTER ONE!
And ...it's a letter from our main character,
Yes, people. We have to wade through an Author's Note, a Censor's Note, a Robot Translator's Note (OMG RANDOM THOUGHT? Would this book not be awesome if someone ran it through Babelfish a few times?) and a note from the goddamned main character before we get to anything remotely resembling a story.
Now some stuff is explained, but it will all get explained again later on in the book. So I'm skipping chapter one and going straight on into chapter two.
Soltan Gris gets summoned by his boss, Lombar Hisst, thus canceling a vacation. Soltan Gris is an agent for the (cough) Coordinated Information Apparatus. The C.I.A. See it. Touch it. Kiss it. Kiss it. (/Producers) SATIRE! It's fucking SATIRE, ladies and gents! And he is the agent in charge of Earth. See, the Voltarians are a conquering empire that Alexander the Great would have wet dreams about. They've got a freaking schedule for when they invade a planet or not. Earth is on this list, apparently, but very very very far down. Soltan's job is to...uh...study us?
Anyway, Soltan gets to Lombar's office and is physically assaulted by his boss. Because his boss is the bad guy. He has A Paper. Do we get to find out what this paper is? No. Because Lombar's hissyfit is more important than actually making sure his underlings know what's going on with their fucking jobs. They head out, Soltan not knowing what the hell is going on, and drive to...
...a space port! Where they track down "the ship that made the Earth run!" Where he tells his men to do something with the ship involving hiding, and then asks Soltan why he can't take care of these things, "You (bleep)!"
One: It's either shit or bitch. I can't figure out which one. Two: because he still doesn't have the first clue what's going on, and neither do we.
Then they take a few steps back, grab an assassin (Oh, I'm sorry. Knife Section) in a stolen Fleet uniform, hand him fake orders for the ship they're hijacking, and then sit back to watch the show. The ship takes off, and Lombar chortles:
"Soon they'll all be safe in Spiteos, and (the ship) will be found in a day or two, burned to a crisp in the Great Desert...now we're going over to the officer's club and pick up that (bleep), (bleep), (bleep) Jettero Heller!"
Yeah, I think he's just shoving "Bleeps" into a shot gun and pointing them at his word processor at this point.
And that's all I can take for the day. Tomorrow! We get to watch the most naive war hero in HISTORY get kidnapped by the dumbest fucking people on
(PS: Starbleached is still free until the 9th. Coupon is ST83W . Go get it while you can)