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Battlefield Earth [Mass Market Paperback]

L. Ron Hubbard
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 21 2011
A towering masterwork of science fiction adventure and one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time. L. Ron Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth" opens with breathtaking scope on an Earth dominated for 1,000 years by an alien invader--and man is an endangered species. From the handful of surviving humans a courageous leader emerges--Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, who challenges the invincible might of the alien Psychlo empire in a battle of epic scale, danger and intrigue with the fate of the Earth and of the universe in the tenouos balance.

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From Library Journal

This title is now better remembered for being transformed into one of the worst B-movies in history. Don't blame the book, however, which is well regarded in sf circles. This 20th-anniversary edition offers the full text of the original. Galaxy Press, which launched this July, will reprint a number of Hubbard's books. If your existing copy looks as if it has been on the battlefield, this quality hardcover will make a nice replacement.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Battlefield Earth is a magnificent, sprawling 820-page, "Star Wars"-type novel, lavishly written with wit and adventure and the occasional curlicue in plot.

This also is a novel featuring the most deliciously despicable villain of all times, the insidious Terl, member of a master race, genius, eccentric, and certifiably psychotic. (You can tell when Terl is up to something nasty by his chuckle.) Terl is introduced to the reader with the near-prophetic words, "Man is an endangered species."

The story is set in the year 3000. Our civilization had been wiped out centuries earlier by a malevolent race of conquerers known as the Psychlos, who establish a mining colony on the planet. The handful of humans remaining are considered little better than animals.

Think of the "Star Wars" sagas, and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," mix in the triumph of "Rocky I," "Rocky II" and "Rocky III" and you have captured the exhuberance, style and glory of "Battlefield Earth." -- Baltimore Evening Sun, November 14, 1982

Back in the fray after 30 years of absence is L. Ron Hubbard, one of the great formula and pulp writers of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Battlefield Earth is the huge, rollicking saga of Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. A youth from the hills where remnants of mankind hide from a high-technology race of aliens who have occupied Earth for a thousand years, Jonnie is captured by the aliens and ends up turning their own technology against them.

The pace starts fast and never lets up.

With Battlefield Earth, Hubbard comes across as a powerful science writer comparable to Robert Heinlein. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1982

Hubbard celebrates 50 years as a pro writer with this huge (800+ pages), swarming, sometimes gripping slug-fest. The Earth has been occupied by monsters, imperial Pyschlos representing the Intergalactic Mining Corporation, who use "breathe-gas" (air is poisonous to them) and whose power derives from the closely guarded secret of teleportation. Furthermore, ambitious, devious Psychlo security chief Terl schemes to enrich himself by clandestinely mining gold, using humans as slave labor and he is soon exploiting explorer-bravo Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (holding Jonnie's girlfriend as hostage). But Jonnie, learning that breathe-gas explodes on contact with radioactive materials, quickly amasses allies, arms, equipment, and expertise for a war of liberation: he plots to doublecross the snarling Terl by substituting nuclear bombs for the gold to be teleported to planet Psychlo. -- Kirkus Review, August 1, 1982

In the year 3000, Earth and her few remaining people are dominated by the cruel Psychlo aliens whose greed for wealth and power obliterates whatever compassion may have once existed. When Jonnie Goodboy Tyler's destiny leads him from a small Rocky Mountain community to confront the tyrannical aliens, he finds himself facing insurmountable odds no mortal man could hope to conquer. An epic in science fiction adventure, the absorbing story captures the mind and imagination in this tale of an Earth-destroying future war. -- Orange County Register, Nov 14, 1982 --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critics are too harsh... April 22 2012
By Savant
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While this book doesn't rate 5 stars for me, I think it is far too harsh to give it one star and harsh criticism that it has received from some. However, having just finished reading it, I can see how some people were put off by Hubbard's style of writing, and some aspects of the story.

One of the main objections seems to revolve around a key story element. (This isn't a spoiler...) The story opens with the revelation that mankind had been wiped out 1000 years ago by an alien race. As can be expected, the few pockets of humans that remained had mainly reverted to more 'primitive' living. For example, the 'hero' of the story is an accomplished hunter who uses clubs to kill his prey. So, this begs the question, would it be possible for a man who knows nothing of 'technology' and things like 'flying craft' ever be able to learn and master using such devices in a short (weeks to months) period of time?

This is a key element in the story that the reader must accept, and it would seem that some people just can't make that leap. For me I tend to think that in 'desperate times' a person could be capable of just about anything.

Something else I think needs to be kept in mind is this book was finished in 1980, and given the size would have been in progress for many years. This story is likely 40 years old. Don't judge it without keeping that in mind.

Lastly, I think this story would have been better if broken into two parts. Without giving anything away, there is a distinct shift in the story, and it easily could be broken into two books.

However, I still found it to be an interesting read. I think most people will find it enjoyable so long as they don't have excessively high expectations.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trash Feb. 21 2004
By Cris
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Juvenile plot, nonexistent character development, and horrid writing in general put this book firmly at the bottom of the sci fi trash heap.This book is dullsville. I am quite sure most homeless crackheads could churn out novels superior to Hubbard's mindless drivel.
If you are looking for great sci fi to read check out books by Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Robert Anton Wilson, Piers Anthony and Greg Bear.
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3.0 out of 5 stars i don't believe this June 16 2014
By Dia
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I do not believe that the main character in this book went from being a "dumb" human ruled by a mighty alien empire to a super sized intellect of unlimited abilities and craftiness and not only conquered the world form the aliens but the whole universe with his one puny mind and a bunch of other so called Neanderthal-like people. On the other hand I just have to read it again because it is so unbelievably unbelievable. Hah!
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not my first time reading this story of Johnny "Good Boy" Tyler. I actually read it every couple of years, It is one of a few books that I tend to do this with.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An all out assault on your intelligence. Oct. 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well after seeing that turkey of a movie Battlefield Earth and then reading cult member written reviews saying, "Oh the book is so much better" I decided to have a gander. I managed to 'grab' a copy of the eBook, and am happy at that because to pay money for this utter tripe is immoral as it will only add to the coffers of Hubbard's Scientology cult. The amount of 5 star reviews here had me at first expectant that the book would be good, but after the first page of this... monstrosity... I have no doubt that every positive review on this site is written by one of Hubbard's brainwashed followers. I have in my time read a great many books ranging from fantasy, to military history to science fiction, and I can quite confidently say that this is the worst book I have ever read.
First off we have Hubbard's introduction which has to be one of the most self-serving and self-centered pieces of text I have ever read. He seems to think he's some big time professional novelist and the man with the final word on what's real science fiction and what isn't, calling his book 'hard science fiction'. Well Mr. Hubbard keep on dreaming, because you sure aren't a professional level writer and this sure as hell is not 'hard science fiction. I simply cannot believe that this book is held as a 'science fiction classic', I was under the impression that for a story to be SF it had to at least have a grounding in reality, plausibility and science, this book totally lacks any of these attributes. Furthermore it reads as if a grade school student wrote it.
Trust me, if you have seen the movie and heard the pleas of Hubbard's devotees saying how much better the book is don't believe them, they are exactly the same with the movie just having less long winded content.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read only half, or be bored straight to hell! Jan. 23 2004
By David
Ok, look. I already wrote a review awhile ago, and now that I've finally finished the book (6 months later) I'm ready to give you the rundown on this piece of crap.
L. Ron Hubbards books are always a bit to compelling for the average reader. Lots of use of scientific words, political matters etc. This book is no exception. HOWEVER, this book is the best he's ever written. Although there are still many pointless boring long annoying points in the book, its still a great page turner, when your reading exciting area. Up to page 500, you wont want to stop reading. Its just great! filled with action and exciting mystery's.
After page 500 it all turns into crap. page 0-500 is about man-kinds revival from the endangered state, the Psychlos an alien race, set them in. It shows how the stupidity of the otherwise clever psychlos, leads the main character Jonnie (a character who becomes extremelely dull after page 500) to re-take the planet. After lots of action, with the help of a few hundred scots, they do in fact re-take the planet.
page 500-1050 is total crap. For starters the main character becomes really annoying, stupid, pointless, un-needed, injured, and dull. He's no fun to read about any more. Plus, Ron decides to add about 20 other random, pointless and also dull characters into the story, leading the book, into pointlessness. Then you will become interested again as new alien invaders come over for some action. But Hubbard leaves us in suspense for about 20 chapters (which really stinks, as you wait to find out more information) and eventually instead of another war, it just leads into the political stage of the book, which almost made me fall asleep while reading, during the afternoon!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Science Fiction Epic
I love this book. I've read it four or five times now and find it better each time. The only reason I don't give it five stars is that it IS a bit hokey (i.e., simplistic). Read more
Published on April 2 2004 by David A. Lessnau
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring.
I enjoyed the style and premise of the book but eventually just put it down and stopped reading it for one simple reason:
The good guys always win, the bad guys always lose. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Pecos Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, Intelligent Reading
This book is an epic spanning several universes, starting humbly in a dirty section of a used-up planet where only a few survivors are left of the original inhabitants and these... Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2004 by Jon M
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Fast Pace Excietment! I really liked it!
This book is a fast pace - page turner for sure. Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. This book is creative and all the while L. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by tera huber
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rave
Firstly, I must say that I am not your typical science fiction fan, but I have to say that Battlefield Earth is exceptional. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Beverly T. Widder
2.0 out of 5 stars Would have made a great short story...
I wanted to be fair and read the book before seeing the movie, and here's fair: the book may be better but it's gonna take up days of your life, and the movie is over in 2... Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by Melissa Drake
5.0 out of 5 stars This has been one of the best books I have read.
Im not to sure why this book is getting mediocre reviews. I love the book, it is an excellent read. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Ben
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Science Fiction Novel
First, there is NO overt (or, I would argue, subtle) Scientology in this book; look to L. Ron Hubbard's other works - such as Dianetics - for that. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2004 by A. Hoogeveen
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