WordPress Woes

Just a little rant post to get things out of my system. WordPress has been misbehaving in little areas and it’s really annoying me. I don’t know if it is WP updating in the background (every time something goes wrong it seems like it is because they updated something without fully testing it and so they screw over hundreds of thousands of people all at once) or if it is my browser being updated or some of my plugins.

I use Chrome with adblockplus and Ublock Origin. So far they have played very nicely with WP. Every month or so I do have to clear my chrome cache or wp starts acting funny, but since I prefer to do that anyway as a security precaution, it’s never been an issue.

Recently, nothing I change in the editor has been sticking. When I select the “top tool” option to keep the tools stuck on the top of the post, the next time I enter the editor the toolbar is right back to being on each block. When I open the “category” option on the right, it doesn’t stay open like it used to nor does the “tag” option.

When I write a review, I write everything in OpenOffice and then copy/paste over here. I’ll copy the title and series into the title bar and then copy/paste the star rating after that. Today I am finding that I cannot do multiple copy/pastes into the title bar. If there is something written there and I go to copy/paste, it overwrites what is written there with what I am trying to copy/paste. So I had to copy/paste the title and series into notepad, THEN c/p the star rating into notepad and create one line and THEN c/p that into the title block of WP. That is total BS.

I tried using MS Edge with no addons to see if it was chrome, but the exact same thing happened. Couldn’t copy/paste multiple items. So I shot off an email to WP describing it and telling them to fix it.

I just want WP to work. Instead, they tinker and break things and lie about it to our faces and generally act like nothing is the matter. Little things like this DO matter. It adds up. I shouldn’t be stressing out over a damned hobby. Personally, I hope these issues are because of chrome and the plugins. I can fix those easily enough. But if it is WP, there’s nothing I can do but wait and hope they fix what they broke.

ps, I’m so annoyed I’m seeing red right now….

The 80’s Movie Book Tag

Found this on Flora’s Musing. Seemed like a good tag to do mid-summer when blockbusters used to be the dominant force in America for the plebe masses.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A book that kept you up all night

Monster Hunter Bloodlines was, as I described in my review, balls to the walls action. That’ll keep you up reading all night!

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride (1987)

A WONDERFULLY quotable book

For me, that would be The Lord of the Rings. I’m not a big “remember quotes” kind of guy, but “you shall not pass” has always stuck in my head.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

A character who loves breaking the rules

Saul from Neal Asher’s Owner trilogy. He’s not all adorable and funny like Bueller, but Saul will break the rules with the best of them, forging his own as necessary.

When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

A couple that took eternity to get together

Montrose and Raina from the Count to the Eschaton Sequence by Wright. 18-19 billion years seems like eternity to me!

Back to the Future

Back to the Future (1985)

A book involving time travel

The Aunt Paradox by Chris Dolley. Reeves and Worcester have to combat a Legion of Time Traveling Aunts to help the multiverse!

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink (1986)

A character with a unique style

Luffy from the One Piece manga. That kid’s got Style, what with his straw hat and all.

The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid (1984)

Favourite book involving the training/mentoring trope

Way-farer by Dennis Schmidt. Jerome and the Old Man on the Mountain are absolutely perfect examples of this.

Die Hard

Die Hard (1988)

A book with a trip that doesn’t go as planned

The Color of Magic. Nothing on Discworld ever goes planned! 😀

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

A book with the central character’s name in the title

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. Great stuff!

Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing (1987)

A female character who comes out of her shell

Anne Elliot from Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Best Austen story ever.

Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

A death that took you by surprise

The drug addicted woman who is rescued by the main character and ends up being killed, thus propelling the entire story of Without Remorse by Tom Clancy.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

ET - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

An ending that left you both happy and sad

The Crippled God, the final book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I was happy it was over and was sad I had been forced to read t he whole thing to get an ending.

Target Zero (Agent Zero #2) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Target Zero
Series: Agent Zero #2
Authors: Jack Mars
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 285
Words: 97.5K



Synopsis:

Kent Steele, aka Reid Lawson, aka Agent Zero, is trying to piece his life back together after the events of the last book. He hasn’t made a decision about returning to the CIA or not, his relationship with his oldest daughter is getting rocky as she is smart enough to realize things don’t add up and Lawson continues to get back old memories, all of which throw doubt on everything he thought he knew about himself and his wife.

A terrorist group weaponizes a small pox strain and it’s up to Agent Zero and his team to stop it. At the same time, the assassin from the previous book escapes and goes hunting after Zero’s daughter to use as bait.

Zero stops the plague from destroying the world but the book ends on a cliffhanging concerning his daughters and the assassin. We also find out there is yet another vast and worldwide conspiracy about “something”, again and that Zero’s current love interest might be involved.

My Thoughts:

This has some really nice action scenes, but there are a couple of jarring notes that I suspect will doom this series for me.

First, stupid actions by smart people to drive the plot on. For example, the team needs one of the terrorists alive to interrogate him (enhancedly if need be) but one of the other team members shoots him dead “because he might have been a threat”. Oh my goodness. These are supposed to be highly trained professionals but they act more like characters on a tv show, sigh.

Second, the family drama. Lawson has been hiding his secret identity as Zero all these years and it’s only NOW, in the worst imaginable time, that he begins to wonder how to deal with it? And he’s stymied by his 16 year old daughter? Should have thought of the future Mr Agent Man before getting married and trying to pretend to be normal. Once again, it came across as Hollywood’esque.

Thirdly, the liberal guilt tripping and gun hate. Every time Zero can’t save everyone in a situation, he starts bad talking himself and blaming himself. Now, guilt is a natural thing but the phrases used and the word choices are straight out of Liberal Guilt Tactics 101. The person doing the killing isn’t the bad guy, YOU are the badguy because you didn’t stop them. It is the most illogical and stupid piece of rhetoric and it makes me angry, because it is deliberately dishonest. The gun thing is all about Zero having memories of his wife finding one of his hidden safe guns (he had 11 around the house) and she totally trashes the very concept of gun ownership. Couple that with his daughter’s question about her learning to shoot after the incident in the previous book and Zero’s active avoidance to teach her, well, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

With all of that, the book was still really interesting. Like I said at first, the action is really good and that is what carried me through despite everything else I’ve mentioned. I’m going to read the next book but if any of those 3 things I mentioned above show up, I’ll be done. If I want to watch a tv show, with all the attendant weaknesses, I’ll go do that. I don’t need that in my books, thank you very much.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Eyes of the Shadow (The Shadow #2) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Eyes of the Shadow
Series: The Shadow #2
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 171
Words: 51.5K



Synopsis:

From Thelivingshadow.fandom.com & me

MARKED TO DIE

Six prominent men were expecting a share in a glittering fortune. But, one by one, they were being brutally murdered. Until the Shadow discovered the plan—a plan so fiendish that only the twisted mind of a monster could have conceived it. The Shadow assumes the identity of Lamont Cranston to investigate the serial murders and stalwart Harry Vincent gets to play camper and act as bait. Justice is committed, Shadowstyle!

My Thoughts:

Another enjoyable entry in the Shadow series. I’ve got a bunch of omnibuses (omnibie?) of Shadow stories that come in sets of 5, so I’m guessing I’ll read a quintet each rotation and then take a couple of months off before adding another quintet back in. I can see myself easily burning out on these and I’d really rather take a few extra steps to prevent that as I am enjoying them.

These are beyond a shadow (ha, aren’t I clever?) of a doubt “pulp”. So if you know you don’t like pulp stories, then you can safely assume The Shadow isn’t going to work for you. If you know that you DO like pulp, you can’t automagically assume this will work for you, because this is as different from Conan or John Carter as you can get and yet both of those are pulp too. But chances are still better than even. If you like pulp and you like the 1920’s era and double pistols are your thing, then I’d say it’s a match made in heaven.

The Shadow has some sort of power to blend into “shadows” but it isn’t speculated upon or dwelt upon at all. Is it supernatural, is it a mutant power or is it just him being really, really, really good at hiding and disguises? Personally, my vote is that he drank a shot of bad russian vodka and it gave him superpowers. The other thing is that Lamont Cranston, a rich playboy that Bruce Wayne was modeled on, appears to be the Shadow’s alter-ego. But I’ve read enough stuff by Riders of Skaith to know that even that simple deduction isn’t so simple and weirdness is going to abound there too. Basically, I don’t try to figure anything out.

Bad guys do bad things. The Shadow investigates one way or another, his agents (his “eyes”) act on his behalf and there’s a lot of weird laughing going on in the shadows. Oh yeah, and the badguys get what’s coming to them. Or their henchmen do anyway. A really good badguy manages to get away.

I’ve been looking at various covers and man, this one rocks! I couldn’t find a really big version of it, but this was as big as I could find. Two-pistol’ing it baby!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Watch Duty (Bone #12) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Watch Duty
Series: Bone #12
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 30
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Fone Bone is reading Moby Dick for Thorn when Miz Possum comes by. She talks with them a bit, and then gives Fone Bone some roof putty for fixing the roof(which he eats), and goes to check on her children. Thorn and Fone Bone walk back to the farm in order to get home before dark. Thorn dicusses some of her dreams with Fone Bone, stating that she’s almost afraid to go to sleep at night. They see Phoney and Smiley along the way, trying to create a romantic dinner for chickens so he can get eggs to pay off his debts.

Meanwhile, the Two Rat Creatures have been in hiding for four days, and the quiche loving one is getting twitchy. Soon after, the two are discovered by Kingdok. However, due to Kingdok’s dislike of the villagers, Gran’ma Ben, and (ESPECIALLY) the cow races, he lets them live and rewards them with preskinned rabbits, and they faint in relief (or shock). Thorn falls asleep during night duty. She dreams that she is in Deren Gard as a little girl. She goes outside into a garden with a flute, and The Hooded One appears. Suddenly turning into a grown, queenlike woman, Thorn looks around for The Hooded One, and sees him in the forest. When The Hooded One takes off the hood, it shows a face belonging to Fone Bone, and tells Thorn to come to him. Right before they make contact, Thorn wakes up. A confused Thorn watches as Fone Bone dreams violently.

My Thoughts:

While not every issue has been filled with deep meaning and complex content, this was really the first issue where it “felt” like a filler issue. There was a couple of pages dealing with the two rat creatures who were hiding from King Dok (the rat creature king) and it was as much a puff piece as anything.

I was amused by Phoney’s newest scheme. Just goes to show how out of his depth he is. Giving 2 chickens a romantic dinner so one will lay more eggs. Only Phoney Bone would think of something so stupid 😀

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Beguiling (WH40K: Ciaphas Cain #1.7) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Beguiling
Series: WH40K: Ciaphas Cain #1.7
Authors: Sandy Mitchell
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF Short Story
Pages: 21
Words: 6K



Synopsis:

From The Black Library & Me

On Slawkenberg, Ciaphas Cain is a long way from the front lines and that’s precisely what he wanted. However, Chaos is present on Slawkenberg and Cain finds himself back in the firefight against his better judgement. And ends up almost being seduced by a vampire/agent of a chaos god.

My Thoughts:

Despite only giving these short stories 3stars (yeah, like 3stars is somehow bad, sigh. See, that’s how the culture creeps in and twists and warps your own value system, no matter how much you may rage and fight against it), I am thoroughly enjoying them. Most of them are collected in one single volume called Hero of the Imperium or something, but without another ground pounder Warhammer 40K series lined up after this, I have to admit that I am trying to stretch out my time with Cain.

And while I’m being brutally honest (because aren’t book reviews supposed to be full of pathos, drama and personal connections to make you think that I care about you? I obviously don’t, but I can play that game, watch me. Look me in the eye and tell me I don’t care about you. * ba-dump * That was your heart skipping a beat as we made eye contact and had “a moment”. Forget the Geico Lizard, I can do “fake connections” better than anyone), dang it, that fake connection totally made me forget what I was going to write. Wow, I am even better than I thought! Oh, oh, I remember! Ha, steeltrap McBookstooge they called me in ye olde countrye. I am totally making up the series numbers for the short stories. I have ZERO idea where any of them actually fit in with regards to the full novels, but in 10 years, I’m not going to care and in 1 day you’re probably not going to care either. So I’m not sweating it. If you’re sweating it, get a better antiperspirant. Mitchum, I’ve heard of that, so use it.

It was really weird to see vampires in a Warhammer 40K story. I’m so used to just tech and the chaos gods that all the other manifestations of them always take me by surprise. It is interesting how urban fantasy or straight up fantasy (orks anyone?) are woven into a far future story and presented as non-mystical.

With this short story I realized that I have read some of Mitchell’s Warhammer novels a couple of years ago (The Blood on the Reik trilogy) and sort of enjoyed them. So after I’m done Cain I might have to see what else Mitchell has written in the WH:40K universe as chances are decent that I’ll enjoy them.

If anyone reading this has read a bunch of Warhammer 40K and has some recommendations that are similar to either Gaunt’s Ghosts or Ciaphas Cain, please, let me know.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Binstagramm – An International Craze

Apparently, Binstagramming is the next big social media craze. Thankfully, amongst the WP4, we have our own Binstagramm expert, one Alex Gooderer. With one post Alex set the internet ablaze. Before I knew it, people were Binstagramming left and right. Posts, comments, it was everywhere! The pressure was intense and before I knew it, I too was caught up in this craze that was sweeping the world.

So without further ado, here is my amateurish attempt at Binstagramming. Technically, it’s a Dumpstergramm, but in the spirit of brotherhood and inclusiveness, I’m calling it close enough.

July ’22 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 12 ↓

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.17 ↓

Pages – 4271 ↑

Words – 1303.5K ↑

The Bad:

The Best of Lester Del Rey – 1/2star of the Worst!

Bethink Yourself – 1star DNF of war is bad, blah, blah, blah

The Good:

Pyrate Cthulhu Vol 1 – 4.5stars of awesome cosmic horror

Battlefield Earth – 5stars of nostalgia that has run its course

Movie:

Muppets Most Wanted was a fantastic movie and I loved it! Enough that I’ll be buying it on bluray.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Got sick at the beginning of the month and missed the July 4th extended weekend. That was a real bummer. Going to California for a couple of days was a nice relaxer time though. Other than that, work, work, work. With the housing market still being wicked hot (despite the best efforts of certain people), my work is NOT slowing down like I thought it might. Maybe later this year in winter I’ll get a break? I can hope.

On the book side of things, my numbers were looking pretty good. My average rating went down but with the various stinkers I had I was expecting that. So all the other numbers going up was great. I like my numbers going up.

On the blog side, the numbers are all over the place and still make no sense to me. Of course, it feels like people are either taking breaks or flaming out. In all honesty, it just takes one person leaving blogging to make me feel that way, so it’s not hard to get to that place, sigh. It is not hard to mess with my head 😉

One of the big lotteries here in the US, Mega Millions, got up to over 1 Billion dollars. Talk about a boatload of cash! I obviously didn’t win. But even if I had, I certainly wouldn’t be telling all of you and shouting it out on my blog, now would I? I might be one of the world’s biggest egotists, but I’m not that stupid 😀 But it was really fun to think what it would be like to win that.

Plans for Next Month:

I got nothing. Just trying to pump those reviews out and not fall too far behind. I’ve still got like 8 reviews to write just to get caught up and every day that passes brings yet another to write. Oh, I might try for a Binstagramm post. I hear it’s the next big thing online. One post and I’ll become an Internet Celebrity. But don’t worry, I won’t forget all you little people.

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Series: ———-
Authors: L. Ron Hubbard
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 1243
Words: 402K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

In the year 3000, Earth has been ruled by an alien race, the Psychlos, for a millennium. The Psychlos discovered a deep space probe (suggested to be Voyager 1) with directions and pictures mounted on it and the precious material, gold, that led them straight to Earth.

After one thousand years, humanity is an endangered species numbering fewer than 35,000 and reduced to a few tribes in isolated parts of the world while the Psychlos strip the planet of its mineral wealth. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, a young man in one such tribe, lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Depressed by the recent death of his father and both the lethargy and sickness of most of the surviving adults in his tribe, later determined to be caused by radiation-leakage from decaying nuclear land-mines, he leaves his village to explore the lowlands and to disprove the superstitions long held by his people of monsters in those areas. He is soon captured in the ruins of Denver by Terl, the Psychlo chief of planetary security.

Psychlos stand up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and weigh up to 1,000 pounds (450 kg). They originate from Psychlo, a planet with an atmosphere radically different from Earth, located in another universe with a different set of elements. Their “breathe-gas” explodes on contact with even trace amounts of radioactive material, such as uranium. The Psychlos have been the dominant species across multiple universes for at least 100,000 years. It becomes apparent in the later chapters that the Psychlos were originally non-violent miners but were subjugated by a ruling class called “Catrists” to become malicious, sadistic sociopaths.

Terl has been assigned to Earth, and his term has been arbitrarily extended by Numph, the planetary head of mining operations. Fearful at the thought of spending several more years on Earth, Terl decides to make himself a multi-millionaire to escape, by secretly mining a lode of gold in the Rocky Mountains that his planetary scanner drones have recently found. It is surrounded by uranium deposits that make Psychlo mining impossible, so Terl decided to capture a Man-Animal to mine the gold for him.

Terl forces Jonnie to submit to a learning machine programmed by a servile race that was exterminated centuries earlier for going on strike. It quickly teaches him numerous subjects, including the Psychlo language, by implanting the information directly into Jonnie’s brain. He befriends a Psychlo midget named Ker, who is only 7 feet tall but still possesses the impressive strength of a Psychlo, and is markedly less psychotic than the others.

Looking for leverage against Jonnie, Terl captures his childhood-love Chrissie and her sister, Pattie, who went searching for Jonnie a year after he left their clan, and holds them hostage to ensure his continued cooperation. Thereafter, Jonnie is free to move around the mining area. Terl and Jonnie travel to Scotland where Jonnie recruits eighty-three Scottish people to help with the mining, including several deliberately selected body-doubles for Jonnie, older women to perform the cooking and clothes mending, a doctor, a teacher, and a historian. Jonnie tells the Scots about the evil deeds of Terl, to include how he has imprisoned Jonnie’s love and her little sister. Led by Robert the Fox, the Scots agree to help him fight against the Psychlo rule on Earth and rescue Chrissie and Pattie. Terl does not understand English, and is instead convinced that the Scots are motivated by a promise of pay on project completion.

While Jonnie and his Scottish allies mine the gold deposit, they also secretly explore the ruins of humanity to look for uranium that can be weaponized for use against their Psychlo oppressors. This subterfuge is aided by the aforementioned body-doubles, making it appear to Terl’s surveillance that the mining operation is the sole priority of the human contingent. Meanwhile, Terl finally gains leverage on Numph, discovering that he has been stealing company funds. Terl blackmails him, effectively negating Numph’s power over him, allowing Terl to continue with his mining plans.

Terl has been busy obfuscating the purpose of the gold-mining operation and implementing his plan to ship the human-mined gold back to the Psychlo home-planet. Terl’s plan involves replacing lead coffin-lids with lead-plated facsimiles made from the gold mined by the Scots, and shipping these coffins with dead Psychlos in them, home. When he finally returned to Psychlo, he could then dig up the coffins and sell the lids to make his fortune. All dead Psychlos are to be returned to home planet for burial, but recent safety measures have reduced accidents. Terl thus has to manufacture accidents to kill Psychlos, and decides to assassinate Numph as well, to get the bodies needed.

During the semi-annual teleportation of personnel, goods, and coffins to Psychlo, Jonnie and his allies co-opt Terl’s plan by packing the coffins with “dirty nukes” and “planet busters” they have found, and replacing the golden coffin-lids with the original lead lids. After the last teleportation, the humans use the Psychlos’ own weapons against them and gain control of the planet. With humans in control of Earth, Jonnie works to discover the secret of Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. This is a difficult task, compounded by the fact that Psychlo math is based on the number eleven, and Psychlo equations appear to make no sense.

Before the teleportation, Jonnie is forced to oppose a longtime rival from his own clan, Brown Limper Staffor, who is seeking to wrest control of Earth for himself. Unwittingly used by Terl to advance his own plans, Brown Limper nearly succeeds after gaining assistance from a group of cannibalistic mercenaries from southern Africa called the Brigantes, and their leader, General Snith. But Brown Limper is killed by Terl just before the Psychlo’s teleportation, and the Brigantes are defeated.

It is discovered that all Psychlos have a deep brain-stimulation device implanted in their brains to make them controllable. Meant to make work pleasant for them, the device promotes extreme sadism in the males, causing them to attack any non-Psychlo who shows interest in Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. If the Psychlos are unsuccessful in killing their intended victims, the device compels them to commit suicide. The removal of this device frees the handful of remaining Psychlos on Earth from its affects. Curiously, Ker did not have any such device implanted in his brain.

With the Earth being threatened by other alien races looking for restitution because they had suffered under the harsh rule of the Psychlos, Jonnie opposes a race of intergalactic bankers seeking to repossess the Earth for unpaid debts. The security and independence of humanity once again threatened, Jonnie redoubles his efforts to figure out Psychlo teleportation.

It is eventually discovered that the dirty nukes sent with the intent of destroying the capital city on Psychlo instead started a chain reaction which reached into the planet’s core due to over-mining, causing the planet to explode and transform into a star. Jonnie also discovers that other Psychlo facilities scattered about the multiple universes were destroyed by their own reliance on teleportation as they performed their scheduled teleportation shipments, and instead, brought back radioactive solar matter. This holocaust killed every single Psychlo in the multiple universes except for the handful remaining on Earth. Once it is revealed that all female Psychlos who leave the homeworld are sterilized to prevent off-world births, Johnny realizes that the Psychlos on Earth will not be able to reproduce, and eventually, the Psychlo race will become extinct.

Jonnie then works out a way to prevent the repossession of Earth via contracts Terl had signed with Brown Limper Staffor. The Psychlo had thought that it would be amusing to make Staffor believe that he was the legal owner of Earth as well as all Psychlo possessions across the multiple universes, by signing a contract that stated as much before his final teleportation to Planet Psychlo. Terl had no way of knowing that he was about to die, along with almost his entire race, with the destruction of his homeworld. Once planet Psychlo was destroyed, Terl was the highest ranking member of the Intergalactic Mining Company left alive, and his signature on Staffor’s contract became legal. That meant that Jonnie, as the recognized leader of Earth with the death of Brown Limper, now owned what was left of the entire Psychlo empire. Using these contracts, the Earth Planetary Bank pays off all debts to the intergalactic bankers.

However, Jonnie is still perplexed by Psychlo mathematics. With the help of an aged Psychlo engineer, he learns about Psychlos using a cipher system and dummy equations to make their mathematics unsolvable. At the same time, he also discovers how the Psychlos protected their teleportation technology in their local equipment, and records the circuits for future use. Using the existing teleportation console, Jonnie is able to bring back breathe-gas from a planet in the Psychlo star system that was never officially recorded. With the Psychlo math and the circuits, Earth begins to manufacture teleportation equipment, sold to numerous planetary systems via the intergalactic bankers. At the same time, Jonnie uses the Earth’s newly acquired wealth to buy impenetrable force fields and automated orbiting defense platforms to protect the Earth from future threats.

With the Earth secure and the human population growing and learning about its true history, Jonnie gives ownership of the Earth back to its people. A few years later, Jonnie and Chrissie are married and they have a son and a daughter. With human civilization being rebuilt and thriving, Jonnie and Chrissie take their children and leave for an isolated part of the world to train them in the old ways of survival, and to live out the rest of their lives in peace. But, after a year, their friends find them and implore them to return to civilization, which Jonnie reluctantly agrees to.

Years later, frustrated with un-ending fame and life away from nature, a middle-aged Jonnie takes some supplies and quietly slips away to the Rocky Mountains, never to be seen again. He becomes a figure of legend.

My Thoughts:

Having read this several times in highschool and Bibleschool and then again in 2009, I am pretty familiar with the story. After my disastrous attempt at re-reading the Mission: Earth series in ’14, I’d held off any more re-reads authored by Hubbard. But the time seemed right and I’d given Battlefield Earth 5stars in ’09, so it seemed like a safe bet.

Thankfully, it was. This is still a 5star read for me.

Now, I found on this re-read that this felt more cartoony, almost space opera than in years past. In the intro Hubbard goes on for many, many pages talking about what led up to this book and I must admit, he pontificates. Given that he was a cult leader, that shouldn’t surprise anyone though. But his goal with this book was to write a “real science fiction” novel and off he goes for pages explaining what he means by that. I found it interesting but I think he missed the mark to be honest. This book is a romance. One lone warrior saving not only the Earth, but the entire 16 universes, pretty much all by himself? It’s definitely SF alright, but like any genre, proliferation has led to fragmentation and just what is “real science fiction” now? So while still enjoyed this, I don’t think I would have if I had been introduced to it for the first time right now.

This massive tome (it makes even Sanderson seem normal. The mass market paperback is almost 1500 pages!) never felt weighed down though. While Hubbard definitely introduces pet economic and social theories, and explains them, they are explained in just a paragraph or 2 without turning the book into a vessel of preaching. The story moves right along while action isn’t the main focus, it is generously sprinkled throughout so I was never bored. The story is split into 2 main sections. The first deals with Johnny and the Psychlos and the second deals with Johnny and the other space faring races. Humanity kicks butt and I felt like saying “hoo rah” at several points.

For you movie people, there is a movie based on this book. It was pushed forward by John Travolta, a scientologist himself. Don’t watch it. It is the worst thing ever and why Travolta thought it would be a good thing to link to scientology is beyond me. Many, many changes are made from the book, all for the worse and Travolta’s ego is front and center. I’ve pretty much blanked it out of my memory and simply remember it as A Bad Movie.

I am not sure that I will be re-reading this again though. I’ve gotten what I want from this book over the years and I think this is the last time I could read it and still enjoy it this much. It feels like time to shelve this for good.

Rating: 5 out of 5.