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L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance, unabridged
Galaxy Audio, 2 hours

L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ron Hubbard was born March 13, 1911, in Tilden, Nebraska and died January 14, 1986 in San Luis Obispo, CA. In the 1930s and 40s, he produced a large number of westerns and science fiction stories and novels, some under the pen-name René Lafayette. Among these, some were well regarded, including the fantasy Slaves of Sleep (1939), the novel Typewriter in the Sky, the well-regarded militaristic post-apocalyptic novel Final Blackout (1940), and the horror novel Fear (1940). In 1950, he published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and in 1954 he founded the Church of Scientology to promote his "applied religious philosophy." Between 1954 and the early 80s, Hubbard published no further science fiction or fantasy. His Battlefield Earth was published in 1982 and eventually spawned the movie of the same name. The ten part ultra-pulpish Mission Earth series was published largely posthumously, and as with Battlefield Earth received rather poor reviews. Further biographical information can be found on the official L. Ron Hubbard website and in Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard by Russell Miller -- I'll let you decide what to believe.

Publisher's Website
SF Site Review: Greed
SF Site Review: A Matter of Matter
SF Site Review: On Blazing Wings
SF Site Review: The Crossroads
SF Site Review: Carnival of Death
SF Site Review: The Tramp
SF Site Review: If I Were You
SF Site Review: Dead Men Kill
SF Site Review: One Was Stubborn
SF Site Review: When Shadows Fall
SF Site Review: Danger in the Dark
SF Site Review: To the Stars
BOOK REVIEW: To the Stars: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Susan Dunman

Greed Greed is a collection of three short stories written by L. Ron Hubbard and published in science fiction pulp magazines during the 40s and 50s.  These stories are brought to life with sound effects and a multicast performance reminiscent of old-time-radio, plus the sound quality is crystal clear.

Can one man's actions determine the fate of nations and even worlds? L. Ron Hubbard tackles this question in "Greed," a short story that describes the exploits of George Marquis Lorrilard, an adventurer seeking fame and fortune in the wide open frontiers of space. As Earth lies embroiled in a war of stalemates pitting Asia against the United Continents, Lorrilard concentrates on stealing riches from various Asian ships and outposts throughout the Galaxy.

When his efforts are thwarted by a top-secret weapon called the cohesion projector, Lorrilard must use all the craft and cleverness he's developed over the years to try and defeat the Asians' unstoppable weapon. Hubbard's premise that greed can be a major motivator for explorers (or exploiters, as they are referred to in the story) offers plenty of food for thought.  

The telling of this story benefits from the use of sound effects, which help move it forward, but there's not much dialogue for the performers to work with, lessening the audio impact which Galaxy Audio performances usually carry. This was the last Hubbard story published in Astounding Science Fiction in April, 1950.

The second offering, "Final Enemy," takes a look at humanity's reaction when the inhabitants of two different planets tell of invading aliens who almost wiped out their respective civilizations years earlier. The people of Earth join together in a concerted effort to prepare for a similar invasion.

The single-minded purpose of the entire planet changes governments, armies, and society into one big cooperative effort unlike anything the world has ever experienced. Months of careful examination of the two planets in question eventually reveal the identity of the murderous enemy, but it's not what anyone expects.  The audio talents of the Galaxy team and the clever "gotcha" ending make this a story well worth hearing. Super Science Stories first published this adventure in September, 1950.

The last story in this collection, "The Automagic Horse," is by far my favorite of the bunch. Published in Astounding Science Fiction in October, 1949, it took the top slot in Astounding's monthly reader polls, and I can certainly see why. When Gadget O'Dowd is asked to make a robotic horse for a highly acclaimed movie production, the gifted mechanic/engineer/inventor demands a hefty price to complete the project.  

His creation surpasses all expectations, even fooling seasoned horsemen wagering bets at the local race track. But O'Dowd's toughest task is fooling the new accountant, who has been sent by the head office to make sure all of the money O'Dowd has requested for building the horse is spent appropriately. Evidently Hubbard had a good sense of humor and he unabashedly uses it here to create a story that's a little bit silly and a whole lot of fun. It's obvious the performers felt the same way because you can almost see them smiling as they deliver this memorable audio performance.

This collection gives listeners a good idea of the type of fiction being written for the pulp magazines of the era. The audio production only enhances the signature "pulp" style of the time and provides an enjoyable way to experience these early science fiction stories.

Copyright © 2011 Susan Dunman

Susan became a librarian many light years ago and has been reviewing books ever since. Audiobooks and graphic novels have expanded her quest to find the best science fiction in Libraryland.

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