Rather in awe of the 430,000 word Battlefield Earth, more than one critic would remark upon Ron’s use of a then fairly rare word processor. In fact, however, he employed these two conveniently portable Underwood manual typewriters – – one to hammer out his several thousand words-a-day, while the other underwent repair. Although the bottom of the Underwood line, these plastic-cased manuals proved the only machine capable of accommodating Ron’s legendary typing speed in writing both Mission Earth and Battlefield Earth.

     The point – and this from a secretary/research assistant charged with collecting the small mountain of background literature – Mission Earth is a work of definitive satire and expressly intended “for the raising of social consciousness.” If the world portrayed is the height of hypocrisy – where the most saintly are, in fact, the most outlandishly criminal, where political and corporate corruption is the order of the day and populations are regarded as sheep for the slaughter – nothing is accidental, nothing just a byproduct of human genetics as psychiatry would have us believe. Rather, there are explicit reasons for all that plagues this planet, and those reasons are both identifiable and resolvable. It’s simply a question of cutting through that J. Walter Madison double talk and the psychobabble from a world association of “Mental Stealth,” and getting to the source of the problem. Although as Jettero Heller so painfully discovers, “the way this planet is organized, apparently, is that if you try to do anything to help it, some special interest group jumps all over you.” As something of a footnote here, it might further be mentioned that much of what the series satirically addresses, LRH himself very seriously addressed as both the Founder of Scientology, and founder of the world’s most singularly effective programs for drug rehabilitation, criminal reform and moral regeneration. In other words, as a genuine opponent of those forces which underlie criminality, drug abuse and immorality, here is an author who knows of what he writes.

     What such insight ultimately made for is a work of truly phenomenal and enduring popularity. As noted, each consecutive volume of the Mission Earth dekalogy successively rose to international bestseller lists until those lists were all but filled with Mission Earth. At one point, readers found no less than seven Mission Earth volumes among the ten bestselling hardcover books, prompting author and professor of journalism James Gunn to declare, “I don’t know anything in publishing history to compare with it.” As further noted, the series is now routinely described as a legitimate classic, repeatedly drawing comparison to the works of Jonathan Swift, and so prompting golden age author/editor Damon Knight to summarize the LRH impact as absolutely unequivocal: “He cut a swath across the science-fiction fantasy world the likes of which has never been seen.” Finally there is all Mission Earth has come to represent “as a milestone work of mainstream fiction,” to cite yet another critic, and all else the series represents in terms of what its author described as “a plea that someone should work on the future.”


The Magnum Opus: Mission Earth continued...

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