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Mission Earth - Villainy Victorious

The eighth book of the Mission Earth series, Disaster, was probably the best of the entire ten-book lot…but the ninth book, Villainy Victorious, may possibly be the worst. It begins with the resolution of the cliffhanger ending to Disaster, but after only thirty pages the action comes to a complete halt…and L. Ron Hubbard spends yet another 400 pages (the second-longest book in the series, exceeded only by the very first book) building up a new series of subplots as he prepares to (finally) bring the entire "saga" to a close.

"Monte Pennwell" doesn't show up at all in this book, other than in an introduction as he continues the final chapters of the saga…but unfortunately, we see very little of Jettero Heller and even less of Soltan Gris. Instead, this book could best be subtitled "The Adventures of J. Walter Madison and Teenie Whopper on the Planet Voltar." Yes, the two worst characters of the series are the focus of this part of the saga, as they are loosed on the "innocent" Voltarian Empire and given free reign to spread the depravities of Earth – media overkill and perverted sex – while Jettero Heller lurks in the background and Lombar Hisst gets caught up in Madison's webs. It might make for interesting reading, except for several factors: Madison and Teenie are both thoroughly unrealistic, unlikeable, and ludicrous characters (the fact that they're supposed to be "satire" doesn't hide the fact that they are little more than one-dimensional cartoons); the situations they get themselves into are both insulting to the reader and often nauseatingly disgusting (for example, check out the scene where Teenie gathers a bunch of Voltar teenage boys together and throws a big homosexual orgy with them); and Hubbard's writing style, which was fast and furious throughout the previous book, returns to a stupefyingly slow pace that makes you want to give up the entire series, despite this being the penultimate chapter and only one more book to go after this.

Now that we've returned to Voltar after leaving it at the end of the first book, it's worth mentioning one of Hubbard's biggest failings in this series: despite the epic, interminable length of this "dekalogy," the story is surprisingly small in scope. By using a science fiction approach to look at Earth from an "alien" point of view, Hubbard uses the planet Voltar (and its 120-planet empire, of which we only see one other planet named Calabar in one small chapter of this book) to show us an innocent, uncorrupted society – presumably what our own society would be if it had not been corrupted by evil drugs and evil psychiatrists. Yet, there's nothing truly "alien" about this society, other than the fact that it has advanced technology. So when Earth's evils are introduced into Voltar by Hisst (drugs), Teenie (sex), and Madison (media PR), the innocent Voltarians have no defenses and are completely corrupted. But despite all this, we just don't care. We've spent so much time following these stupid, idiotic cartoon characters that by now, we've been numbed to it all and we just follow page after page of more idiocy. If Hubbard had had the self-control and humility to write a shorter story that focused more on his point, he might have had a chance. But instead, he's given us a sprawling, tedious, unending train wreck of a story that only moves in fits and starts. We've had our noses rubbed in the story's theme so many times by now, we can't smell anything new anymore…and we just sit back and prepare for the end.