The Magnum Opus: Mission Earth

In addition to the 1.2 million word Mission Earth manuscript, LRH compiled more than 1,500 pages of handwritten notes wherein he sketched every chapter, every character and a wealth of relevant technical information.

ATTLEFIELD EARTH WAS NOT, HOWEVER – AS MANY A CRITIC INITIALLY DECLARED – the LRH magnum opus. Rather, that distinction is more generally afforded to the next of the final LRH works, the ten volume, 1.2 million word, Mission Earth series. How he managed those 1.2 million words in what amounted to the space of twelve months is yet another of those legendary literary feats in line with the perfect dictated sentences of the later Henry James or the virtually flawless handwritten manuscripts of the later Charles Dickens. In either case, the LRH rate of production alone is astonishing, actually surpassing his fabled speed in the heyday of pulps, and even more impressive considering those rotating Underwood manuals – one in the shop for repair, while he rapidly wore down the other and then switched.

     Again, a mass of preliminary notes reveals an intricate plan behind all that seems so freely wrought – every chapter carefully outlined, every character neatly sketched. The whole is a wonderfully wrought tale of a suave and swashbuckling Fleet Combat Engineer from the planet Voltar who must battle a nefarious intelligence chief to save an unsuspecting earth and thwart the subversion of Voltar itself. The whole represents an after-the-fact confession from former Coordinated Information Apparatus (CIA) executive Soltan Gris, and otherwise employs a uniquely villainous viewpoint; the intrepid combat engineer, Jettero Heller, has been implanted with a video-relayer allowing Gris to see and hear all our hero experiences. What ensues is a perfectly wry and ironic assessment of a well-intentioned and capable hero – as when this Soltan Gris insists we view Heller as a hopeless innocent among savagely clever CIA operatives...even as Heller effortlessly outwits them all.

The Magnum Opus: Mission Earth continued...

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