For years, I always thought of L. Ron Hubbard as some radical religious person, never knowing that he was originally a Science Fiction writer. I first heard of Battlefield Earth when John Travolta was in production to make the movie version of the book.
With every movie-made-from-a-book that looks good to me, I tend to read the original novel first, to see what the story's really about and to see if they were true to the novel. So I picked up this 800 plus page novel and began reading. It was then that I fell in love with this book and the work of L. Ron Hubbard.
In the book, it's the year 3000, Earth and her few remaining humans are dominated by the evil Psychlo aliens. The Psychlos on Earth work for the Intergalactic Mining Corporation, who use "breathe-gas" (our air is poisonous to them) and whose power derives from the closely guarded secret of teleportation (think of a transporting device from Star Trek). There's also the bad guy, the devious and ambitious Terl, who is using human slaves to secretly mine gold so he can advance far on his home planet. One of these slaves is Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, who is being taught all the Psychlo teachings by Terl so Jonnie can help Terl lead the humans into the mountains and help Terl become a very rich man. But Jonnie's not stupid (surprise, surprise) and he uses what Terl taught him against the evil Psychlos.
Over the past year, I've read it three times, and for a book that's over 800 pages long, that's pretty good if I say so myself. This book was very realistic, as realistic as a sci-fi book can be though. It took the humans well over a year to finish their plans for destroying the Psychlos, which seems like a reasonable amount of time. In the movie, it only took a month, if that.
There's a few drawbacks to this book. First, the character's names are horrible. "Jonnie Goodboy Tyler" is horrible, it's just too cheesy for my liking. Get rid of the Goodboy I say, but the book's already been written so there's nothing I can do about that.
I loved this book, I don't know how many times I can say it. I suggest anyone who seriously likes Science Fiction read this book, it's very original. But I also suggest that you stay far away from the movie, it's nothing like the book!
Title: Battlefield Earth