Mission Earth (novel)
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Mission Earth is a ten-volume science fiction novel series by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard died three months after the publication of volume 1, and other volumes were published posthumously.
The series' initial publisher, Bridge Publications coined the word dekalogy, meaning "a series of ten books", to describe and promote the novel. Made up of about 1.2 million words, the epic is a "satirical science fiction adventure set in the far future." Each volume in the series topped numerous bestseller lists. The second volume, Black Genesis, was nominated for the 1987 Hugo Award in the Best Novel category.
The Voltars want to conquer the planet Earth as a base for their planned invasion of the galactic centre. The Voltars are convinced that Earth is about to destroy itself through pollution and possibly war, which would disrupt the future timetable of conquest. Fleet Combat Engineer Jettero Heller, a character of perfection, incorruptibility, and astonishing ability, is assigned to prevent the destruction of Earth. Reaching New York City, he investigates the problem, unaware that he is being tracked and that factions on Voltar want his mission to fail.
Unknown to Heller, Earth is also the base of a secret operation conducted by the diabolically evil Lombar Hisst, Commander of the Apparatus, who seeks to usurp the Voltar throne. To gain control, Hisst has been importing illegal narcotic drugs from Earth to enslave the heads of government on Voltar. Hisst works to make Heller fail in his mission.
Hisst assigns a stooge named Soltan Gris to supervise the mission to Earth, in order to sabotage it. Gris finds himself in possession of twelve tons of pure gold, which he tries to launder through a Swiss bank account and keep for himself; he becomes a prisoner of two man-hating lesbians who end up marrying him, but not before various tortures are inflicted upon him. He has terrible money and girlfriend troubles, and he hires a hit man who eventually targets him.
Heller discovers a conspiracy headed by Delbert John Rockecenter who keeps the population of Earth sedated with drugs and rock and roll music. Heller's attempts to break the demonic control of Earth by Rockecenter make him a target, and the corporation uses its most dangerous weapons to destroy him: psychiatry and psychology, and a mad, idealistic public relations genius by the name of J. Walter Madison. Madison initiates a wide-reaching public relations campaign to make Heller known to the world as the "Whiz Kid", but results in destroying Heller's reputation so that all of Heller's efforts to save the planet come to naught, as Madison's employer, Rockecenter, wanted. Fortunately, Heller's outstanding skills and abilities are reinforced by the arrival on Earth of his fiancée, the Countess Krak, and the alliance and friendship of the Mafia—specifically the Corleone family.
After a series of world-shattering events, which include the impact of an ice meteor on the Soviet Union, the world's entire oil supply being turned radioactive, and a black hole orbiting the Earth, Heller returns to Voltar to find that not only have Hisst's plans to enslave the government nearly succeeded, but Madison is starting a galactic civil war.
After the defeat of Hisst and Madison, a massive cover-up operation commences to wipe out the effects of PR, psychology and psychiatry. All mention of these subjects is censored and the planet Earth is eradicated from all star charts and similar items. As far as the Voltarans are concerned, planet Earth no longer exists.
- Invaders Plan (October 1985, ISBN 1-59212-022-9), 559 pages
- Black Genesis (March 1986, ISBN 1-59212-023-7), 431 pages
- The Enemy Within (May 1986, ISBN 1-59212-024-5), 393 pages
- An Alien Affair (August 1986, ISBN 1-59212-025-3), 329 pages
- Fortune of Fear (October 1986, ISBN 1-59212-026-1), 329 pages
- Death Quest (January 1987, ISBN 1-59212-027-X), 490 pages
- Voyage of Vengeance (May 1987, ISBN 1-59212-028-8), 381 pages
- Disaster (June 1987, ISBN 1-59212-029-6), 337 pages
- Villainy Victorious (September 1987, ISBN 1-59212-030-X), 410 pages
- The Doomed Planet (September 1987, ISBN 1-59212-031-8), 333 pages
Page counts are from hardcover editions, and total 3992 pages.
The The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes the series "whose farcical overemphases fail to disguise an overblown tale that would have been more at home in the dawn of pulp magazines." More forgiving literary critics usually cite Battlefield Earth as Hubbard's best work of the later years of his life. (i.e., better than Mission Earth, his only other later published work of fiction).
The New York Times review of the first volume, The Invaders' Plan, describes it thus: "... a paralyzingly slow-moving adventure enlivened by interludes of kinky sex, sendups of effeminate homosexuals and a disregard of conventional grammar so global as to suggest a satire on the possibility of communication through language."
- The satire is not humorous, but biting and harsh, which makes the novels not easy to read. Also Hubbard somehow had lost contact with developing narrative techniques: he writes exactly as he had done 40 years earlier. When read as entertainment Mission Earth is disappointing: it does not entertain. Many of the scenes (especially some sexual encounters) are incredibly grotesque, not in a pornographic sense, but they are violently aggressive about modern American ideals. The Mission Earth novels on the whole are a subversive, harsh, poignant attack on American society in the 1980s. As such they have so far received almost no attention, which perhaps they do deserve a bit more. They also have some quite interesting characters, especially when read with a deconstructionist approach. These 11 later novels by Hubbard are not Scientology propaganda literature, but have some topics in common, especially the very strong opposition against 20th century psychology and psychiatry, which is seen as a major source of evil. All open allusions to Scientology are strictly avoided. They are not as successful in their use of suspense and humour as Hubbard's early tales, but have to say perhaps more about the complex personality of their author.
In 1991, the town of Dalton, Georgia attempted to remove the Mission Earth books from its public library, citing what was described as "repeated passages involving chronic masochism, child abuse, homosexuality, necromancy, bloody murder, and other things that are anti-social, perverted, and anti-everything." The attempt was unsuccessful, though this placed the Mission Earth series into the category of banned books that have been challenged in the United States.
The Mission Earth books were a major sales success, particularly the earlier volumes in the series, with all individual volumes reaching the New York Times bestseller list. The extent to which this reflects actual popularity is strongly questioned. A large number of booksellers, publishing executives, and former Scientologists state that, as with other Hubbard books, the Church of Scientology engaged in a massive book-buying campaign, similar to the campaign to promote Battlefield Earth, so as to deliberately inflate sales of the series in order to promote it as a best-selling work of literature. Stories of the books being sent to stores bearing other stores' price tags circulated throughout the science fiction fan community.
In a two-year span, Hubbard logged 14 consecutive books on the New York Times list. Adam Clymer, a New York Times executive, said that, while the books have been sold in sufficient numbers to justify their bestseller status, "we don't know to whom they were sold." He said the newspaper uncovered no instances in which vast quantities of books were being sold to single individuals.
- "Contemporary Authors Online". Thomson Gale. 2006.
- "1987 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards.
- Jonas, Gerald (1986-01-12). "Science Fiction". New York Times. p. BR22. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
- Frenschkowski, Marco (July 1999). "L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology: An annotated bibliographical survey of primary and selected secondary literature". Marburg Journal of Religion. 4 (1). Retrieved 2006-11-10.
-  Archived September 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- New York Times bestseller list entries for the Mission Earth books: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
- Welkos, Robert W.; Sappell, Joel (1990-06-28). "Costly Strategy Continues to Turn Out Bestsellers". The Scientology Story. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- Marco Frenschkowski: "L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology", Marburg Journal of Religion, Volume 4, No. 1 (July 1999)
- "Mission Earth", entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, St. Martin's Press, 1993 edition.