BattleField Earth

!! Written in 1980, its a throwback to the golden age, where men were men,women were good looking,physics was invented as needed by the author and the bad guys were truly bad. The writing style is a bit simplistic, but the story flows very well. Unlike the best science fiction novels, there is hardly any suspense or unpredictable plot twists. It’s almost like reading an old favourite novel where you know whats going to happen in advance.

The characters are all cardboard cutouts with the best peices from all the old books pasted together. The main character develops from a hick into a superman almost overnight. There is not much character development anywhere in the book. All the secondary characters are caricatures of real people, and all are impossibly doing whatever is required of them without much ado.

In writing this book, Hubbard was paying tribute to all the ‘greats’ of SF, but he has missed out on everything which made their books great. Those books made you think. Many of the best SF books were written in a similar style to Battlefield, with a clean storyline without any pretentious babbling, yet they managed to engage your brain at the same time. BattleField Earth fails so miserably at that that I’m suprised why so many people rate it highly.

L. Ron Hubbard clearly tries to emulate the SF classics, but comparing this book to any of the actual SF classics is somewhat like comparing a Mills and Bons novel to ‘Gone with the Wind’. This book is not meant to be ‘great literature’, but it fall shorts even compared to the pulp science fiction books.

The book is still a great read, despite all its flaws. It is not a great book though, and certain not an example of ‘classic science fiction’. I think one of the reasons this book is popular with a wide audience is its ‘easiness’ to read and the fact that it ditches just about everything which makes a book ‘SF’. has a large number of reviews on the book. I was suprised to see the editorial review calling it a _masterwork of science fiction_:

bq. A towering masterwork of science fiction adventure and one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time, L. Ron Hubbard’s “Battlefield Earth” opens with breathtaking scope on an Earth dominated for a thousand years by an alien invader — and man is an endangered species. From the handful of surviving humans a courageous leader emerges — Jonnie Goodboy Tyler — who challenges the invincible might of the alien Psychlo empire in a battle of epic scale, danger and intrigue, with the fate of Earth and the universe in the balance.

>> “Amazon page on Battlefield Earth”:

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