Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Church of Scientology - L Ron Hubbard - Mission Earth

Today would be a good day to refer back to a late November post - which included a picture of the ornate front door of the London HQ of the Church of Scientology. You can read about the Panorama programme at lots of other websites - I’m not going to make any comment here for or against the programme (or the church).

The founder of the Church of Scientology was L. Ron Hubbard. As a teenager, I read through Hubbard’s Mission Earth series of books one summer.

The local library had about half of the ten-part series in stock, and the rest were ordered in from neighbouring branches. It’s really one single story split over ten books (each two inches thick) to save people having to reinforce their bedside tables, never mind their beds, to read it!

My memory of the plot was that it’s pretty mediocre sci-fi, told in an overly verbose manner, with some wierd passages in the middle of political intrigue and not quite enough space stuff.

A quick trip to Wikipedia brings up a more impressive description from the New York Times review of The Invaders Plan, the first book in the Mission Earth dekalogy:

“... 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.”

At 1.2 million words long, it’s double the length of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which I started one Christmas and didn’t finish. In the world of books, plot and characters matter more than size. Mission Earth isn’t a novel I’ll be re-reading anytime soon - or recommending to anyone else.

1 comment:

John Self said...

I think the Scientologists' remarkably frequent interventions in the documentary (in the guise of that entirely non-creepy fella with the shades, whose name has escaped me: perhaps they have brainwashed it out of me), not to mention their frantic counter-briefing ever since it was announced, say far more about them than any articles (like this fascinating one) could.