L. Ron Hubbard wrote a lot of books. I have several bookshelves groaning under the weight of his books, and I re-read them at least once a decade, as I do C.J. Cherryh, Iain M. Banks, Robert Silverberg, and Vernor Vinge.
From time to time I’ve seen blog postings from people who should know better, dismissing Hubbard as a “hack” or a “bad SF writer”. As this post will demonstrate, they couldn’t be more mistaken.
When I was a teenager (back before dirt), I first read his “Ole Doc Methuselah” tales and asked the Jospehine County librarians to keep an eye out for anything else from Hubbard and to let me know when they had anything new. It was a small library and they didn’t have any of his other classic books from the era of the pulps. I kept hoping…
In the intervening years, I’ve read a lot of Sci-Fi, and in my opinion, Hubbard’s best-selling Battlefield Earth book is a masterpiece, and his Mission Earth series is also terrific, and very funny.
This review of Mission Earth, from one of Hubbard’s colleagues pretty much refutes any bad-mouthing from the jealous or merely uninformed:
“You will lose sleep. You will miss appointments. If you don’t force yourself to set it down and talk to your family from time to time, you may be looking for a new place to live. Reading ‘The Invaders Plan’ is simply the most fun you can have by yourself.”
– Orson Scott Card, Author of Ender’s Game
Invaders Plan is the first book in the Mission Earth series. BTW, if you’ve never read Ender’s Game, you’re in for a treat. If you have, you know it is one of the best SF books ever penned.
Then there was A.E. Van Vogt’s review of Mission Earth: “Written with style and verve…a wonderful story.”
Then there is the review of Hubbard’s horror book, Fear, by Stephen King: “A classic tale of creeping, surreal menace and horror … one of the really, really good ones.”
Hubbard’s book Final Blackout, got this review from Robert A. Heinlein: “…as perfect a piece of science fiction as has ever been written.”
Robert Silverberg had this to say about Ole Doc Methuselah: “Delightful, amazing, and filled with wonder!”
But don’t take their word for it. Read any of Hubbard’s sci-fi or westerns or detective stories, and see for yourself why he was such a big name in the era of the pulps. His writing shines.
So when you see some critic bad-mouthing Hubbard’s writing skills, realize that a) critics are critics because they can’t “do”, and this one doesn’t have a clue and b) he’s probably got other hidden motivations (such as a prejudice against Scientology or popular literature).
And that’s my two cents on the matter.