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Reviews of Battlefield Earth (1982)

Review by nowirehangers (2007-01-27)
In the year 3000, a handful remaining humans try to take back Earth from the invading Psychlos. It's a good story and I kept wanting to know what would happen next.

The book does have a few problems. First of all, at 1050 pages it's longer than it needs to be. It's quite an easy read, but it gets a bit repetitive at times and too much time (or rather, too many words) are spent on details and minor subplots. Especially the last 100 pages should have been edited down.

The book has some rather cheesy elements, and the fact that Scots, in a postapocalyptic world 1000 years from now wear kilts and play bagpipes.

Some have suggested that "Battlefield Earth" is Scientology propaganda, but there are hints of satire of psychiatry and internatinal banking.

Overall, "Battleifeld Earth" is an ejoyable, sometimes spectacular sci-fi epic. 7/10

Review by waynegoode (2003-11-13)
This book, like most of Hubbard's, is big on adventure with not much else. There are a few interesting ideas and characters, but for the most part it is just action and adventure. It reads to me a lot like an adaptation of a TV show or movie--that's not a positive comment. However, as an Action/Adventure book, it is pretty good. I just want more from a book

The book is really two books in one. It is as if Hubbard originally wrote two books but published them as one. If I had to pick between the two “books”, I would say that the first half is better.

I’ve not seen the movie, but I think it would take 20 hours or more to tell the entire story.

Review by ostrich (2003-07-18)
TravelingDude's review is apparently of the movie moreso than the book. The book I own does not have Harrier jets in it, nor does it have flight simulators.

I've read this book many times, it's one of my all-time favorites. It's almost made of two books, the first part being the physical war against the Psychlos, and the second part being the diplomatic struggle against the rest of the universes.

I highly recommend this book, it's a shame they butchered it so badly to make the movie.

Review by TravelingDude (2003-06-20)
It's tempting to make references about the movie here as well, because it was so poorly done, but I'll refrain. Oops...too late. Well, can't cry over spilt milk. The book was about a thousand times better, but that's like saying it's a thousand times better to lose only nine fingers in a horrible lawn mower accident than it is to lose all ten. At least you can still pick your nose with the one finger. Battlefield Earth (the book), was a poorly conceived amalgamation of plot lines and characters that, although sometimes entertaining, usually succeeded only in baffling the reader. Oftentimes, one would move on to the next chapter only to be confronted by a new situation with little or no explanation of why the characters are involved in it.

The book starts promisingly enough. Johnny is a primitive man, primitive in the sense that mankind has been forcibly reduced to primitivism by a brutal war with a vastly superior alien race a thousand years previous. Tired of remaining so close to his tiny village, he is curious as to what else lies in the wide world, much more so than his fellows who are content to slowly die off amidst the hellish existence they eke out. The village is poisoned with radioactivity, but the villagers of course don't know this and we don't find out until much, much later. Johnny is captured by one of the aliens - who inexplicably don't know that human beings are sentient (you'd think they'd keep records or study such things, being an interstellar race of superbeings who have conquered much of the known universe and constantly fear rebellion from all sides to the point of paranoid schizophrenia). This is just the first plot hole in a book riddled with what can only be explained as spaghetti logic.

To make a long story short, Johnny's captor places him in a machine that forces huge quantities of knowledge into Johnny's mind. With his newfound knowledge of science, astronomy, math, and sociology, he proceeds to free many of his fellow humans from their primitive existence worldwide. Modern people have a difficult time teaching their kids basic math, and Johnny teaches the savages around him mathematics, reading, and military tactics. Afterwards he nearly singlehandedly wages a successful war against the aliens who have almost infinite resources.

In what's probably my favorite part of the book, and not in the way Hubbard intended, Johhny and his fellows use a thousand year old working flight simulator to learn to fly Harrier jump jets. Where do they get the electricity? Why would a bunch of Air Force jets, some of the most complicated and advanced machines ever built, and now over a THOUSAND YEARS OLD - simply lift off and fly away when we all know that if you leave your car sit in your driveway for merely a year or two, you'll be lucky if it even starts. These and other questions Hubbard simply ignored.

One wonders, when adding together the various works of L. Ron Hubbard, if the man was just a master of pulp who simply didn't care that his writing had no coherence, or if he was slightly insane. I don't know. I'm thinking 50/50.

Review by stetar (2003-06-19)
Short and sweet review: This book is garbage.
I read it out of curiosity as Hubbard is so popular. It's many hours of my life that I will never get back!!!
Do yourself a favour and read something else.

S.




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