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Guest mormonmusic

Under the Black Ensign: L. Ron Hubbard

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Guest mormonmusic

I was in an Econolodge in Salt Lake City area, and the owners left out some novels by L. Ron Hubbard for free. (Said "complementary" right on the sticker on the front cover).

This led me to read Under the Black Ensign, a pirate adventure which I loved. Here is my Amazon review, where I post under the name of Professor Challenger:

I read a lot in my work -- a lot of textbooks, and PhD level articles and publications, so when I read for pleasure, I like it to be simple, to the point, engaging, and most of all -- fun.

This book delivers the goods. Each chapter is full of action, interesting plot twists, and situations that are simply explained, engaging, and colorful. If you want adventure that is as credible as fiction can be, and accessible language, this is a great book. I also loved the length of the book -- not so long I had to dedicate a month to read it -- but something I could read in a few hours while relaxing.

I find Hubbard goes right for the jugular, describing people, places and events to the minimum you need to lose yourself in the story. At times, I felt this to-the-pointedness was at the expense of character and relationship development, of which I would have liked to have seen a bit more. However, he compensates for this with a good, swashbuckling story that combines action and some love, with a satisfying, if not somewhat incredulous ending.

The paperback version of this book is part of the Golden Age series, published on ragged edged pulp fiction paper like they did back in the 30's and 40's, complete with original-looking, colorful covers. There is a foreward about the Golden Age series from the editor where you learn what people at that time liked to read, the constraints on pulp fiction writers, and more. There is even a glossary in the back of the book giving you the definition of slang and terms used in the 1930's and 1940's which millenial readers might not understand. I recommend reading the glossary first as there are a few nautical, geographical and historical terms that you won't find in your Kindle dictionary. At the end of the story, this book also has a preview of another book in the Golden Age series, called Twenty Fathoms Down, where you get to read part of its beginning, just to get you hooked. This story has a biography of L. Ron Hubbard, which was interesting reading given his many, real-life exploits as sea, in the air, in the west, and abroad, as well as his diversification into a whole variety of genres.

The book also has a handful of illustrations throughout -- black and white drawings of somewhat far-away depictions of events in the book. While not stellar illustrations, they add to the older feel book, even on a Kindle and especially in paperback.

I'm glad the motel chain Econolodge left these books out as a complementary courtesy for their guests -- I never would have found them, and they have introduced me to L. Ron Hubbard who wrote about 150 books that will keep me going whenever I need a break -- provided they are still in print.

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Guest mormonmusic

I was wondering if his founding of scientology would come out. His biography in the books paints him as an adventurer, decorated naval captain, pilot, traveler to the far east, and someone knowledgeable about the wild west, who stopped writing to pursue "humanitarian pursuits".

As I researched him further, I found out he was the founder of Scientology,

And, then, when you read this Wikipedia entry you get a much different story, if it's true:

He portrayed himself as a pioneering explorer, world traveler and nuclear physicist with expertise in a wide range of disciplines including photography, art, poetry and philosophy. His critics have characterized him as a liar, a charlatan and a madman, and many of his autobiographical statements have been proven to be fictitious.[5] The Danish historian of religions, Dorthe Refslund Christensen, concludes that the Church of Scientology's narrative "becomes meaningful only if it is perceived as a legend or a myth," though the Church itself rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard's life is anything other than historical fact.[6]

There is more in the article in Wikipedia, but I left with the feeling that his gift for writing really great fiction carried over into his humanitarian pursuits.

L. Ron Hubbard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Funny, I also picked up a book called "The Way To Happiness" at the Econolodge, and found it had a lot of practical advice, but wasn't very spiritual . I later learned that was one of his publications.

So, yes, just as the Marriott pushes the Book of Mormon, that particular Econolodge suggests, lightly, Scientology.

But, I totally recognize the greatness of his pulp fiction. He did a good job of writing the equivalent of an evening adventure show for people who just want to turn off their mind and enjoy some fun, clean entertainment.

Edited by mormonmusic

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So, yes, just as the Marriott pushes the Book of Mormon, that particular Econolodge suggests, lightly, Scientology.

I've been to at least 3 or 4 Marriotts that do not have BoM's anywhere around. It seems to be mainly a Utah thing.

But as to the topic - I've enjoyed Hubbard's fiction in the past. I read his big honkin' "Battlefield Earth" decology back in college, and I wasn't upset about the movie that came a few years later.

It seems to me that the flawed antagonists get most of the treatment. After 10 books, I had complete access into the soul of the main bad guy and many of the henchmen - why they were that way, the issues that came with being that way, the missed opportunities to be other ways, etc. But the only insight into the hero I carried away, was that he was sad he crashed his tug.

(It could have been my poor reading skills though.)

I never met the man, and I've only seen scientologists at their most confrontational, but the fiction is enjoyable.

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I very much liked his Dune series. A little more than a evening read but a very good classic sf book. Classic sf is my favorite. 30's - early 60's.

For those wondering about Hubbards Scientology connections, he wrote a short story for sf long ago. In it he described a religion that he later developed into Scientology. He was said to have told several prominent sf writers of the time that it seemed like a money making scheme that would work. Whether that is true or not he did write some really good sf.

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