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Monday, October 17

Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000 Review



Galaxy Audio; 47.5 hours; $59.95; Amazon
For the past two months, I have been listening to the new Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000 audiobook. The 44-disc set is produced by Galaxy Audio (Press), the same company that produces the "Stories From The Golden Age" audiobooks.

Battlefield Earth was originally published in 1982, written by the late L.Ron Hubbard. While the novel was a New York Times Bestseller, there was plenty of controversy at time it was released. I'm not going to go into too much details, but it did involved the fact that the author was the founder of Scientology.

Since I'm a Christian, I don't follow Scientology, but I have listened to several of L. Ron Hubbard's "Stories From the Golden Age" over the years. I'm a book lover, so I will pretty much read any book or listen to any audiobook I can get my hands on. Despite my love for reading, I'm not the biggest fan of the science-fiction genre (minus a few Start Trek titles). I became aware of Battlefield Earth about the time the movie adaptation was released in 2000, which is considered one of the worst movies ever made. I rented the movie once on VHS, and I thought it was one of the silliest things I had ever seen.

Due to my distaste for the movie, I had never attempted to read the original 1000+ pages novel. Well, that is until I heard Galaxy Audio was bringing out a new massive audiobook this year, and I thought I would give the novel a try.

When I say massive... I really mean it!

The audiobook is over 47 hours on 44 CDs; featuring over 150,000 sound effects and a cast of 65 voice-actors performing 198 characters. The casts includes Stefan Rudnicki, Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Nancy Cartwright, Charles Davis, Fred Tatasciore, Jim Meskimen, and many others.

Set in the year AD 3000, an alien race known as the Psychlos had invaded Earth over a millennium ago after receiving a signal from NASA's Voyager 1 in 1977. The Psychlos are 9-foot, 1,000 pound feline-like aliens from the planet Psychlo. Due to the Earth's atmosphere, they are forced to wear breathing masks. They invaded earth to steal all the planet's wealthy resources (aka gold). Humanity on Earth has decreased to less than 50,000 people, all of whom are scattered across the planet in tribes.

The hero of this tale is Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, who leaves his tribe in the Rocky Mountains and ventures into the unknown, where he's captured by Terl, the Psychlo chief of planetary security, near to what was once Denver, Colorado. Terl is basically wanting to mine his own gold, separate from the other Psychlo, so he can become rich enough to leave the dreadful planet. Since he or the other Psychlos can't breath in uranium, he gets Jonnie to mine the gold for him.

To make sure Jonnie agrees to his terms, Terl kidnaps his love, Chrissie, and her sister, Jenny. During the time at the mining camp, Jonnie uses a machine that helps him learn how to speak Psychlo. Now able to communicate with Terl (though Psychlos don't know how to speak our language), Jonnie convinces him to enlist 83 Scots from Scotland (including an old women, a doctor, and a historian) to help him mine for gold. However, Jonnie has another plan up his sleeve - he plans on starting a revolution to take back Earth.

Galaxy Press has also released the novel in a 1,052 paperback; featuring the original introduction by L. Ron Hubbard (written in October 1980), L. Ron Hubbard Speaks Out on "Battlefield Earth," The Lyrics, Author's Notes, and About the Author.

Galaxy Press; 1,052 pages; $22.95; Amazon

Final Thoughts: Some science fiction fans consider Battlefield Earth to be a 'classic' or a "cult favorite," while non-fans of the genre consider it to be rubbish. Before I started listening to the audiobook, I made sure to keep an open mind and shoved all my old thoughts about the 2000 movie aside.

The first disc kicks off with the original introduction by L. Ron Hubbard, which I thought was a really boring, especially since I had previously skimmed it in the paperback prior to listening to the audiobook. The story is pretty easy to follow as L. Ron Hubbard wrote it in a "pulp fiction" style, though to me it's overly written. The voice-cast does an excellent job with all the characters. I'm not for sure who was the voice of Terl, but he sounded less like an alien or more like a hippie surfer from a cartoon; not that I'm complaining as the character was entertaining.

The sound effects were good, but I've listened to better effects in a few of the "Stores from the Golden Age" than what was in this.

My original plan was to have the audiobook finished within three weeks, but it took me a lot longer than what I had expected. The length for each disc varies from 60 to 75 minutes, with the exception of disc 44 which is 39 minutes. It took me around two months to finish the whopping 47.5 hours audiobook. I tried my best to listen to one or two discs per day while multitasking. However, things came up where I didn't have time to listen to it every single day, but I pushed through it and finally finished it over the weekend.

Overall, Battlefield Earth: A Saga Of The Year 3000 isn't for everyone, mostly thanks to getting a bad rap because of it's origins. When I read a book or listen to an audiobook, I try my best to be unbiased and review the text for what it is, which is exactly what I did for this title. 

Honestly, it's nowhere even close to being a classic science fiction saga (remember I'm not a big sci-fi fan to begin with). It's more of an introduction into the genre; the characters are cliched, the dialogue is silly, and there are way too many unreal moments. Seriously, there is no way weapons and fighter planes would still be in working order after a 1,000 years! I guess that's way it's called fiction.

As for the story itself, I would give it a rating of 3 out of 5, but I'm not reviewing the novel here, I'm reviewing the audiobook! For the audiobook, I'm giving it 4 out of 5 as I was entertained for most of the 47.5 hours running time. Plus, it's a hell of a lot better than 2000 film!

To learn more about #BattlefieldEarth please visit: http://battlefieldearth.com/


*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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