Hubbard's "Magnum Opus" -- Mission Earth

Danger Mouse

Patron with Honors
A few years ago, I read the entire "Mission: Earth" series and took notes as I went along. As Rod Serling used to say, "Submitted for your approval..." Or more probably, disapproval. Enjoy!

Volume 1: The Invaders Plan
Hubbard introduces the two main characters of the series, who are both graduates of the Academy on the planet Voltar. They are exact opposites, yin vs. yang. Jet Heller graduated at the top of his class, Soltan Gris at the bottom. Heller is neat, Gris dirty. Heller is always planning ahead, Gris unable to foresee the consequences of his actions. Heller is moral, Gris is a sociopath. Heller's mission is to clean up Earth's air and water. Gris's secret mission is protect the interests of the evil Rockecenter who is ruining the Earth, but providing a secret supply of drugs to Gris's even more sociopathic boss. (Heller resembles Hubbard's idealized vision of himself, Gris resembles the LRH that many people actually observed!)


Volume 2: Black Genesis
Heller & Gris travel to Earth. Heller is dropped off in Virginia, arrested and released in DC, and finally settles in New York (retracing some of the route of Hubbard’s road trip from Florida to New York and then back to DC, with Mike & Kima Douglas in January 1976). Heller enrolls as a senior in Nuclear Engineering at Empire University. While Gris is the narrator of the book, he is also a "omniscient narrator", since he has secretly placed microscopic spy transmitters in Heller's skull: he sees what Heller sees and hears what Heller hears. Along the way, Hubbard takes satirical swipes at the FBI and the American educational system.


Volume 3: The Doomed Planet
A bit of a let-down from the first two books. Most of the book follows the sociopathic slob Soltan Gris as he and his "slave girl" travel from Turkey to New York to sabotage the hero, Jettero Heller. Gris meets the master of the world, D. J. Rockecenter, and finds him to be as crazy as his boss back on planet Voltar.


Heller is preparing to introduce a pollution-free fuel for cars. Gris and Rockecenter's attorney initiate a publicity campaign for Heller's first public demonstration of the new pollution-free fuel. They also sabotage the engine and post snipers around the racetrack.


Hubbard takes satirical aim at several organizations that had caused him trouble, such as Time-Life (here renamed Slime-Tripe). One of Hubbard's critics once derided him as "just another Whiz Kid". Here Heller watches with amusement as Slime-Tripe's publicity campaign popularizes his double, also known as the Whiz Kid, who makes an ass of himself in the media while Heller is busy trying to save the world. Hubbard is obviously making the point that he barely recognized the person he was described to be in the press. However, much of Hubbard's slapstick humor fails to amuse, seeming belabored and pointless. He was obviously aiming for "over the top" but instead fell flat. This installment badly needed an merciless editor.


Volume 4: An Alien Affair
As the story opens, Heller is about to demonstrate his new pollution-free fuel at a demolition derby, and Gris has hired the Narcotini mob to kidnap him before the race, or failing that, to assassinate him. Their attempts fail, but the car has been sabotaged. It explodes halfway through the race.


Though Heller survives multiple assassination attempts by the Narcontini mob (in fact, he profits from the attempts on his life by finding the assassin’s fees on their dead bodies), Gris has hired a public relations genius to smear Heller in the media. (Those who smear Heller for trying to save the earth happen to correspond to those who Hubbard felt were trying to smear him: 60 Minutes, Carl Sagan, Bob Woodward, Time-Life, Clearwater Sun, St. Petersburg Times, Los Angeles Times, Portland Times, etc.) The black PR campaign even alienates Heller from his allies in the Corleone mob, deadly enemies of the Narcotinis.


The scenes of Gris being sexually tortured by two crazy lesbians are almost as painful to the reader as to Gris. On the other hand, Hubbard introduces one of his most charming characters, Mister Calico: a cat with "a criminal record as long as his tail."


As this episode of the series ends, with Heller and Gris both short of money, Gris flies from New York to Turkey to meet a transport ship from Planet Voltar. The ship also carries Jet’s true love, the Countess.


Volume 5: Fortune of Fear
Gris, in Turkey, receives a quarter of a billion dollars in gold from Planet Voltar. He snatches defeat from the jaws of victory again, squandering millions of dollars on a sex spree. He soon has to flee Turkey, leaving a trail of disasters in his wake, before he manages to return to New York, penniless.


Heller and the Countess are reunited in New York. Heller uses an eyepiece that can see into the future (used in space warp navigation) to become sole owner of several broke Atlantic City casinos and makes them profitable again, and he also begins making big money in commodities trading. The Countess helps him design spores to clear earth's atmosphere and removes an obstacle to Heller's graduation from college.


I found this episode in the series to be a fast read. It was much less complicated than "An Alien Affair" and the narrative moved along nicely.


Volume 6: Death Quest
The hero, Heller, is trying to save the earth. The evil, clueless villain, Gris, brought the hero's girl, the Countess, to Earth to slow his progress. However, Heller and the Countess make such a great team that their plans are now nearing completion, so Gris decides to have her "rubbed out".


Heller buys land in Florida to build a device to throw pollution-eating spores into the atmosphere and provide cheap electricity to Miami. (Hubbard takes a shot at another one of his critics here, reporter Betty Orsini of the St. Petersburg Times, who won a Pulitzer for her articles uncovering Scientology's purchase of the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. Heller refers to her as "Betty Horseheinie".)


When Heller and Countess travel to Virginia to befriend the evil Rockecenter's sole heir, the hit on the Countess fails and the hitman is killed. Just as things are looking up for our hero, Gris's smear campaign in the media leads to arrest warrants. Heller flees, eludes the Coast Guard and finds refuge on a luxury yacht in international waters, just as Hubbard himself did in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


The story seems more and more like L. Ron Hubbard's autobiography...


Volume 7: Voyage of Vengeance
Finally, the heroes of the story, Heller and the Countess, realize that their mission of saving the earth is being deliberately sabotaged, and the signs lead back to Gris. Gris ends up fleeing on the luxury yacht previously used by the heroes. (Incidentally, Gris is retracing L. Ron Hubbard's sea voyages with his Sea Org from September 1967 to August 1975) visiting the Bahamas, Morocco, France, Italy, Greece, and eventually back to Turkey, where Gris had previously worn out his welcome. In addition to Hubbard's first-hand descriptions of these ports, we are also given his take on some famous figures from Europe's past: El Cid, Napoleon, Garibaldi, Spartacus, Alexander.


By the time Gris arrives back at the alien base in Turkey, his mission has failed on every front. His "slave-girl" has mortgaged the base and Rockecenter has foreclosed on the mortgage. In addition, Heller has cleared his name, graduated from college, published scientific papers about cheap, clean electricity, begun producing gas-free cars, and has taken south Florida "off the grid." Gris makes his last desperate attempts to stop Heller and the Countess. When the Countess flies to Turkey to obtain needed equipment, Gris's spaceship intercepts the airliner, takes the Countess (and the aircraft's "black box") and then allows the jet to crash into the ocean, killing the remaining passengers.


As this installment ends, the Countess is Gris's prisoner. Two pathological liars await transport to Planet Voltar. One, J. Walter Madison, a/k/a J. Warbler Madman, is the architect of the black PR campaign that smeared Heller. The other is a teenaged nymphomaniac called Teenie Whopper. The level of satire may remind you of the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, but with a hard R rating. (Whether this is good or bad depends on how much you liked Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. Personally, I enjoyed them.)


Volume 8: Disaster
Heller finally arrests Gris and rescues the Countess, who is already in the process of freeing herself. He travels into deep space, scoops out ice from Saturn's rings, and prepares to drop it on the North Pole to fix a wobble in earth's orbit. When a hostile spaceship attacks Heller, his load drops prematurely, and the ice drops on the Soviet Union. While the wobble in earth's orbit is only partially fixed, Heller has accidentally destroyed Moscow and thus ended the Cold War. (In real life, the Cold War ended in 1989, three years after Hubbard's death and two years after this book was copyrighted.)


Returning to the base, Gris next learns that his "slave-girl" (who has been providing him with such wonderful oral sex) is actually a man, specifically Colonel Boris Gaylov of the Soviet KGB. (Eewww! Gris thought that Boris was a Natasha.) Heller and the Countess, having fulfilled their mission of saving Earth's ecology (and having cleaned up Gris's messes), return to Planet Voltar with Gris as prisoner. Upon arrival, Gris at first escapes but soon realizes that he will be tortured to death by his boss for blowing the mission. Gris runs to the front door of the Royal Prison, begs to be arrested, and begins the confession we have been reading for seven and a half books.


A hundred years later, a young nobleman named Monte Penwell finds Gris's confession. After investigation, he learns enough to become our new omniscient narrator and finish the story.


Gris's boss, Lombar Hisst (personification of evil) is attempting to become Emperor by kidnapping the real Emperor and getting all the royal court addicted to earth drugs. Two people brought from earth, Teenie Whopper and J. Walter Madison, are becoming influential citizens by spreading the gospel of psychiatry, drugs, sex, and PR (public relations). Heller rescues the true emperor (unconscious and near death from amphetamine use) and flees back to the base on Earth. Upon arrival, he finds that the evil Rockecenter is making one last attempt to preserve the status quo on Earth.


Volume 9: Villainy Victorious
In which the evil Rockecenter finally meets his doom. Meanwhile, two people from earth continue corrupting the Planet Voltar with Earth’s toxic philosophies. Heller and the Countess finally get Earth all straightened out and leave to join the true Emperor's son in revolt against the usurper, Lombar Hisst. The narrative doesn't move much in this installment, but Hubbard draws up many memorable scenes to make the reader see how many of the ideas we take for granted on Earth might seem illogical to a more enlightened race.


Volume 10: The Doomed Planet
The usurper Lombar Hisst is deposed through the heroics of Jet Heller, and the rightful Emperor is returned to the throne. The two earth people and everyone they have converted to earth ideas are rounded up and isolated on a tropical island. (Of course, the exiled crazies eventually end up destroying the island--no survivors.) As Monte Penwell's manuscript ends, he has also become contaminated by our earth philosophy and is sent to an isolated farm planet where he can't do any harm. The Penwell family then buys the publishing firm that owns the right to Monte's manuscript. They decide that Monte's book will be published as promised, but to protect their family's reputation as well as the good of the Voltarian Empire, it will only be published on Planet Earth, in a series of 10 reasonably-priced paperbacks. Lord Heller approves, commenting "Go ahead. It might wake them up."
 
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Rene Descartes

Gold Meritorious Patron
Excellent synopsis. It's been over 25 years since I read the 10 volume story that your synposis drew memories out of the closet.

I think Jettero Heller was Hubabrd's idealistic dream of how an OT would be, that is if an OT were to actually exist.

Note that Jettero seems to be operating so much on the greatest good cliche.

Grist is personified with all the traits of an anti-social person.

All the answers jsut come to Jettero. All the wrong answers come to Grist.

The story is humorous but now that I look back there was ust too much reference to sex and it was overly descriptive at times and probably not all of it was even needed.

The first book got boring once they prepared for the journey to Earth and went on the journey in their Falsh Gordon-like rocket ship.

Then I started gettign a big kick out of it.

Heller nad his pressure point technology of paralyzing his foe.

Grist "covering up" his tracks by lwoing everything up - hilarious. And then returning to find the same grenade in the same vehicle and having to get rid of it by throwing it in the temple.

And that poor gay Voltan who had the bomb on his person and was being bent over during his arrest and the bomb went off - BOOM!

Lord Endow? Funny.

Thanks again

Rd00
 
A few years ago, I read the entire "Mission: Earth" series and took notes as I went along. As Rod Serling used to say, "Submitted for your approval..." Or more probably, disapproval. Enjoy!

Volume 1: The Invaders Plan
Hubbard introduces the two main characters of the series, who are both graduates of the Academy on the planet Voltar. They are exact opposites, yin vs. yang. Jet Heller graduated at the top of his class, Soltan Gris at the bottom. Heller is neat, Gris dirty. Heller is always planning ahead, Gris unable to foresee the consequences of his actions. Heller is moral, Gris is a sociopath. Heller's mission is to clean up Earth's air and water. Gris's secret mission is protect the interests of the evil Rockecenter who is ruining the Earth, but providing a secret supply of drugs to Gris's even more sociopathic boss. (Heller resembles Hubbard's idealized vision of himself, Gris resembles the LRH that many people actually observed!)


Volume 2: Black Genesis
Heller & Gris travel to Earth. Heller is dropped off in Virginia, arrested and released in DC, and finally settles in New York (retracing some of the route of Hubbard’s road trip from Florida to New York and then back to DC, with Mike & Kima Douglas in January 1976). Heller enrolls as a senior in Nuclear Engineering at Empire University. While Gris is the narrator of the book, he is also a "omniscient narrator", since he has secretly placed microscopic spy transmitters in Heller's skull: he sees what Heller sees and hears what Heller hears. Along the way, Hubbard takes satirical swipes at the FBI and the American educational system.


Volume 3: The Doomed Planet
A bit of a let-down from the first two books. Most of the book follows the sociopathic slob Soltan Gris as he and his "slave girl" travel from Turkey to New York to sabotage the hero, Jettero Heller. Gris meets the master of the world, D. J. Rockecenter, and finds him to be as crazy as his boss back on planet Voltar.


Heller is preparing to introduce a pollution-free fuel for cars. Gris and Rockecenter's attorney initiate a publicity campaign for Heller's first public demonstration of the new pollution-free fuel. They also sabotage the engine and post snipers around the racetrack.


Hubbard takes satirical aim at several organizations that had caused him trouble, such as Time-Life (here renamed Slime-Tripe). One of Hubbard's critics once derided him as "just another Whiz Kid". Here Heller watches with amusement as Slime-Tripe's publicity campaign popularizes his double, also known as the Whiz Kid, who makes an ass of himself in the media while Heller is busy trying to save the world. Hubbard is obviously making the point that he barely recognized the person he was described to be in the press. However, much of Hubbard's slapstick humor fails to amuse, seeming belabored and pointless. He was obviously aiming for "over the top" but instead fell flat. This installment badly needed an merciless editor.


Volume 4: An Alien Affair
As the story opens, Heller is about to demonstrate his new pollution-free fuel at a demolition derby, and Gris has hired the Narcotini mob to kidnap him before the race, or failing that, to assassinate him. Their attempts fail, but the car has been sabotaged. It explodes halfway through the race.


Though Heller survives multiple assassination attempts by the Narcontini mob (in fact, he profits from the attempts on his life by finding the assassin’s fees on their dead bodies), Gris has hired a public relations genius to smear Heller in the media. (Those who smear Heller for trying to save the earth happen to correspond to those who Hubbard felt were trying to smear him: 60 Minutes, Carl Sagan, Bob Woodward, Time-Life, Clearwater Sun, St. Petersburg Times, Los Angeles Times, Portland Times, etc.) The black PR campaign even alienates Heller from his allies in the Corleone mob, deadly enemies of the Narcotinis.


The scenes of Gris being sexually tortured by two crazy lesbians are almost as painful to the reader as to Gris. On the other hand, Hubbard introduces one of his most charming characters, Mister Calico: a cat with "a criminal record as long as his tail."


As this episode of the series ends, with Heller and Gris both short of money, Gris flies from New York to Turkey to meet a transport ship from Planet Voltar. The ship also carries Jet’s true love, the Countess.


Volume 5: Fortune of Fear
Gris, in Turkey, receives a quarter of a billion dollars in gold from Planet Voltar. He snatches defeat from the jaws of victory again, squandering millions of dollars on a sex spree. He soon has to flee Turkey, leaving a trail of disasters in his wake, before he manages to return to New York, penniless.


Heller and the Countess are reunited in New York. Heller uses an eyepiece that can see into the future (used in space warp navigation) to become sole owner of several broke Atlantic City casinos and makes them profitable again, and he also begins making big money in commodities trading. The Countess helps him design spores to clear earth's atmosphere and removes an obstacle to Heller's graduation from college.


I found this episode in the series to be a fast read. It was much less complicated than "An Alien Affair" and the narrative moved along nicely.


Volume 6: Death Quest
The hero, Heller, is trying to save the earth. The evil, clueless villain, Gris, brought the hero's girl, the Countess, to Earth to slow his progress. However, Heller and the Countess make such a great team that their plans are now nearing completion, so Gris decides to have her "rubbed out".


Heller buys land in Florida to build a device to throw pollution-eating spores into the atmosphere and provide cheap electricity to Miami. (Hubbard takes a shot at another one of his critics here, reporter Betty Orsini of the St. Petersburg Times, who won a Pulitzer for her articles uncovering Scientology's purchase of the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. Heller refers to her as "Betty Horseheinie".)


When Heller and Countess travel to Virginia to befriend the evil Rockecenter's sole heir, the hit on the Countess fails and the hitman is killed. Just as things are looking up for our hero, Gris's smear campaign in the media leads to arrest warrants. Heller flees, eludes the Coast Guard and finds refuge on a luxury yacht in international waters, just as Hubbard himself did in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


The story seems more and more like L. Ron Hubbard's autobiography...


Volume 7: Voyage of Vengeance
Finally, the heroes of the story, Heller and the Countess, realize that their mission of saving the earth is being deliberately sabotaged, and the signs lead back to Gris. Gris ends up fleeing on the luxury yacht previously used by the heroes. (Incidentally, Gris is retracing L. Ron Hubbard's sea voyages with his Sea Org from September 1967 to August 1975) visiting the Bahamas, Morocco, France, Italy, Greece, and eventually back to Turkey, where Gris had previously worn out his welcome. In addition to Hubbard's first-hand descriptions of these ports, we are also given his take on some famous figures from Europe's past: El Cid, Napoleon, Garibaldi, Spartacus, Alexander.


By the time Gris arrives back at the alien base in Turkey, his mission has failed on every front. His "slave-girl" has mortgaged the base and Rockecenter has foreclosed on the mortgage. In addition, Heller has cleared his name, graduated from college, published scientific papers about cheap, clean electricity, begun producing gas-free cars, and has taken south Florida "off the grid." Gris makes his last desperate attempts to stop Heller and the Countess. When the Countess flies to Turkey to obtain needed equipment, Gris's spaceship intercepts the airliner, takes the Countess (and the aircraft's "black box") and then allows the jet to crash into the ocean, killing the remaining passengers.


As this installment ends, the Countess is Gris's prisoner. Two pathological liars await transport to Planet Voltar. One, J. Walter Madison, a/k/a J. Warbler Madman, is the architect of the black PR campaign that smeared Heller. The other is a teenaged nymphomaniac called Teenie Whopper. The level of satire may remind you of the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, but with a hard R rating. (Whether this is good or bad depends on how much you liked Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. Personally, I enjoyed them.)


Volume 8: Disaster
Heller finally arrests Gris and rescues the Countess, who is already in the process of freeing herself. He travels into deep space, scoops out ice from Saturn's rings, and prepares to drop it on the North Pole to fix a wobble in earth's orbit. When a hostile spaceship attacks Heller, his load drops prematurely, and the ice drops on the Soviet Union. While the wobble in earth's orbit is only partially fixed, Heller has accidentally destroyed Moscow and thus ended the Cold War. (In real life, the Cold War ended in 1989, three years after Hubbard's death and two years after this book was copyrighted.)


Returning to the base, Gris next learns that his "slave-girl" (who has been providing him with such wonderful oral sex) is actually a man, specifically Colonel Boris Gaylov of the Soviet KGB. (Eewww! Gris thought that Boris was a Natasha.) Heller and the Countess, having fulfilled their mission of saving Earth's ecology (and having cleaned up Gris's messes), return to Planet Voltar with Gris as prisoner. Upon arrival, Gris at first escapes but soon realizes that he will be tortured to death by his boss for blowing the mission. Gris runs to the front door of the Royal Prison, begs to be arrested, and begins the confession we have been reading for seven and a half books.


A hundred years later, a young nobleman named Monte Penwell finds Gris's confession. After investigation, he learns enough to become our new omniscient narrator and finish the story.


Gris's boss, Lombar Hisst (personification of evil) is attempting to become Emperor by kidnapping the real Emperor and getting all the royal court addicted to earth drugs. Two people brought from earth, Teenie Whopper and J. Walter Madison, are becoming influential citizens by spreading the gospel of psychiatry, drugs, sex, and PR (public relations). Heller rescues the true emperor (unconscious and near death from amphetamine use) and flees back to the base on Earth. Upon arrival, he finds that the evil Rockecenter is making one last attempt to preserve the status quo on Earth.


Volume 9: Villainy Victorious
In which the evil Rockecenter finally meets his doom. Meanwhile, two people from earth continue corrupting the Planet Voltar with Earth’s toxic philosophies. Heller and the Countess finally get Earth all straightened out and leave to join the true Emperor's son in revolt against the usurper, Lombar Hisst. The narrative doesn't move much in this installment, but Hubbard draws up many memorable scenes to make the reader see how many of the ideas we take for granted on Earth might seem illogical to a more enlightened race.


Volume 10: The Doomed Planet
The usurper Lombar Hisst is deposed through the heroics of Jet Heller, and the rightful Emperor is returned to the throne. The two earth people and everyone they have converted to earth ideas are rounded up and isolated on a tropical island. (Of course, the exiled crazies eventually end up destroying the island--no survivors.) As Monte Penwell's manuscript ends, he has also become contaminated by our earth philosophy and is sent to an isolated farm planet where he can't do any harm. The Penwell family then buys the publishing firm that owns the right to Monte's manuscript. They decide that Monte's book will be published as promised, but to protect their family's reputation as well as the good of the Voltarian Empire, it will only be published on Planet Earth, in a series of 10 reasonably-priced paperbacks. Lord Heller approves, commenting "Go ahead. It might wake them up."

yeah, gris and heller. and ron wrote it in the first person as gris who is writing his confession

and i can't help but get the impression ron was tidying up his own life with a not entirely unreadable confession.

there's a few interesting points to ME...
 

Purple Rain

Crusader
yeah, gris and heller. and ron wrote it in the first person as gris who is writing his confession

and i can't help but get the impression ron was tidying up his own life with a not entirely unreadable confession.

there's a few interesting points to ME...

Yeah, I always read the Mission Earth books as Heller=Hubbard, but now I think they were both Hubbard. Heller was the "ideal" self and Gris was the self he was struggling with. And I do kind of believe it was a struggle - like he really wanted to be a Heller and often even believed he was (certainly enough to convince others). But Gris was the monster inside.
 
Yeah, I always read the Mission Earth books as Heller=Hubbard, but now I think they were both Hubbard. Heller was the "ideal" self and Gris was the self he was struggling with. And I do kind of believe it was a struggle - like he really wanted to be a Heller and often even believed he was (certainly enough to convince others). But Gris was the monster inside.

yes...

most people see it only as heller the self aggrandizing alter ego but i suspected at first reading he was "getting off his overts" while also satirizing the cia

the man is not to be whitewashed as CoS does nor painted black and there is no line where genius ends and madness begins in his work
 

Purple Rain

Crusader
yes...

most people see it only as heller the self aggrandizing alter ego but i suspected at first reading he was "getting off his overts" while also satirizing the cia

the man is not to be whitewashed as CoS does nor painted black and there is no line where genius ends and madness begins in his work

I never suspected that at all. I swallowed the mythology about the man hook, line and sinker. And he was like a god to me. Sometimes I would walk along talking to Ron like I used to talk to God. I guess as a Scientologist, even though a lot of it was written from Gris' point of view, I just thought it was clever to have the baddie narrate it - as a way of satirising the merchants of chaos even further. There are also a lot of parallels in the characters of Gris and Terl.

Actually, just remembering some of the things that happened to Gris now is making me laugh out loud. I really did enjoy those books - one of the bright spots in my time with Scientology. I didn't like the cheese-grater scene, though. When you think about it Hubbard's anti-gay sentiments really did come through in those books.

And J. Walter Madison was absolutely my favourite character.
 
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