Sunday, March 8, 1970

Author - Hubbard, L. Ron

Birth: March 13, 1911.

Death: January 24, 1986.

Comments: L. Ron Hubbard was a third rate science fiction and fantasy author who is now most famous for founding the ridiculous religion of Scientology. The most difficult thing to do when discussing Hubbard is to separate reality from the fictional biography that has been composed by the farcical Church of Scientology. Almost everything in Hubbard's "official" biography is exaggerated, distorted, or simply fabricated, although whether by Church biographers or Hubbard himself is not clear, but what is clear is that the "official" biography is contradicted by official records, contemporaneous reports, and at times, by Hubbard's own diaries. In the "official" version, Hubbard was a dashing world traveler who became a brilliant and much sought after writer, fought bravely as a Naval officer in World War II, and founded the religion of Scientology after studying the human mind for decades and used his insights to heal himself of grievous wounds. In reality, he was the son of a military family who tagged along with his parents to a couple places, became a bush league pulp fiction writer, was deemed by his superiors to be incompetent as an officer, and spent time in the hospital for an ulcer. And then he wrote Dianetics, which became the basis for Scientology.

Hubbard was also involved with odd occult practices, married his second wife while still married to his first, and wasn't able to make his new science of "dianetics" (which Isaac Asimov declared to be "gibberish") profitable until he founded the Church of Scientology and controlled it with a heavy hand. Although he did attend George Washington University for a few years as a young man, he never graduated, and although he touts his participation in the nuclear physics program there, his academic record shows that he received an "F" in the only course he ever took related to that subject. Hubbard received a Ph.D. of dubious quality from the unaccredited Sequoia University, an institution best described as a "diploma mill" that was closed down by authorities in 1971 and apparently never had any authority to issue degrees or diplomas. Detailing all of the insane claims of Scientology would take far longer than I want to spend, but it is best described as the product of a third rate science fiction author, and makes a collection of assertions about how the mind works, and how it can be "fixed" that seem to bear almost no relationship to reality. Hubbard seems to have become increasingly paranoid as time went on, eventually asserting that vast conspiracies of "psychiatrists" were out to destroy him and his Church.

Hubbard and the Church have been legitimately found to have engaged in illegal activity several times. Hubbard was found liable for fraud in France, the Church of Scientology was banned in Australia for a while, and several countries closed their ports to his "Sea Org" fleet of ships. After his death, the Church has tried to prevent several truthful biographies of Hubbard from being produced, but has been legally rebuffed each time. As a writer, once he created the Church of Scientology he didn't write about a whole lot else, and his fiction output consisted mostly of the space opera-like background for the Church involving evil alien emperors, bombs blowing up volcanoes, and spaceships that looked like DC-3's with jet engines, the "dekology" Invasion: Earth, and the book Battlefield Earth, which formed the basis for the laughably bad John Travolta movie of the same name.

My reviews of L. Ron Hubbard's books:

Other books by L. Ron Hubbard that I have read but not reviewed:

Short fiction by L. Ron Hubbard appearing in works that I have reviewed:

Essays by L. Ron Hubbard appearing in works that I have reviewed:

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