Battlefield Earth (1982) by L. Ron Hubbard

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Battlefield Earth (1982) by L. Ron Hubbard

Post  BoG on Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:13 pm

As Hubbard himself writes in an intro for his book, there came a time in his life when he had a lot of time on his hands and, for his amusement, he decided to write the longest novel that he could with a "pure" science fiction slant. The result was the sub-titled "A Saga of the Year 3000" - a point at which Earth had been taken over by a more advanced and ruthless race known as Psychlos (not too subtle). These were huge (9 to 10 feet tall) hairy aliens who were part of some intergalactic mining corporation. As very briefly described by one of the aliens near the beginning, the conquest of the planet was a short, easy affair having to do with some form of gas attack. At the point at which the novel begins, the Psychlos have been running their mining operation on Earth for many years already and as Terl, the main Psychlo character, states, "Man is an endangered species," since there are estimated to be only about 35,000 humans scattered across the globe, in primitive tribes.

The novel is indeed a long, epic affair - 428,750 words - and, as seen in the photo above of the 1984 paperback edition, a very thick 1066 pages. It details the machinations of Terl, chief of security for the Psychlo base, as he captures one of the pitiful, seemingly ineffectual humans, the other primary character named Johnnie Goodboy Tyler. Johnnie hails from one of the small tribes, one situated in the Rocky Mountains near what was once Denver, Colorado.  To Terl, of course, he seems typical of the small humans, though Terl believes humans to be smart enough to train for certain jobs; a Psychlo usually looks upon humans as we humans look upon monkeys. But, to Terl's eventual misfortune - and that of the entire massive Psychlo race, Johnnie is something more than the average human, as far as strategic calculation. He has certain plans...
Terl's undoing is his own greed - his main scheme involves using humans for work that is prohibitive to Psychlos to gain riches - and this may be a commentary on ourselves, on our corporations, or on the driving force of the universe as a whole, that it's something we cannot get away from. The story doesn't just stay with the humans and their conquerors; it eventually expands to include other alien races (and one reason that it's so long), and it continues to offer different facets of mankind's own unavoidable drawbacks. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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