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Mission Earth - Disaster

Book #8 of this ten-book "dekalogy" is the best part of the whole Mission Earth series. After spending seven (SEVEN!) ridiculously long, boring books building up subplots after subplots after subplots (while interlacing the story with Scientology-influenced ranting against psychiatry, and including descriptions of every sexual perversion I've ever heard of), L. Ron Hubbard finally gets down to the business of wrapping up those long, meandering subplots with fast and furious action.

The entire first half of this book is a series of action scenes, because the plot is so convoluted it takes a couple of hundred pages to get through the various events. At long last, we get the payoff for all of those long, meandering subplots, as things happen at a fast and furious pace here. The "unknown assassin" that worried Soltan Gris finally pops up; meanwhile, Heller finally swings into action and declares all-out war against the insane Delbert John Rockecenter and his corporation. We see an ice meteor crash towards the planet Earth; we see a black hole orbit the planet (?!?); we see the world's entire oil supply become radioactive; and we see Soltan Gris finally get the justice he deserves as he is finally taken from the Earth and returned to Voltar to face punishment for his crimes…

…BUT, just as things are getting interesting, Hubbard suddenly stops the action and throws the whole story for a loop! Suddenly the character Soltan Gris is no longer the narrator, and we have to go through a confusing sequence of "Huh? What's going on?" before finally realizing that another character has taken over the narration of the story, and is completing the whole thing. (The change of "authors" doesn't improve the quality of Hubbard's writing, however.) It is here in the middle of the eighth book that Hubbard takes yet another jab at society by introducing the character of "Monte Pennwell," a self-described investigative journalist who has discovered the secret behind Voltar's mission to Earth, and who is working to uncover the truth behind it all. This appears to be Hubbard's way of criticizing modern-day journalism, as Monte Pennwell is depicted as a lazy dreamer who hopes to get credit for himself by revealing the "monstrous cover-up" orchestrated by Jettero Heller…but in the end (by the end of the series) his investigations come to nothing and the series ends on a happy note, with Monte Pennwell effectively censored and exiled so that he can never write again.

Disaster is full of action, but almost immediately after this book ends and the ninth book, Villainy Victorious begins, we return once again to boring, plodding subplots involving Teenie Whopper the teenage nymphomaniac, and J. Warbler Madman the PR genius. Fortunately, these characters aren't seen at all in book #8, which is one reason why this book is worth reading.

Of course, the only way you can possibly understand what's going on in this eighth volume of the series is to work your way through the first seven books. If you manage to accomplish that, then you deserve some kind of award. This book isn't the award you deserve, but at least it's easier to handle than the others.