About L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard's remarkable writing career spanned more than half a century of intense literary achievement and creative influence.
Though he was first and foremost a writer, his life experiences and travels in all corners of the globe were wide and diverse. His insatiable curiosity and personal belief that one should live life as a professional led to a lifetime of extraordinary accomplishment. He was also an explorer and ethnologist, mariner, pilot, filmmaker, photographer, educator, composer and musician.
Growing up in the rugged frontier country of Montana, Ron broke his first bronc and became the blood brother of a Blackfoot Indian medicine man by the age of ten. In 1927, when he was sixteen, he traveled to a still-remote Asia. The following year, to further satisfy his thirst for adventure and augment his growing knowledge of other cultures, he left school and returned to the Orient. On his trip, he worked as a supercargo and helmsman aboard a coastal trader that plied the seas between Japan and Java. He came to know old Shanghai, Beijing and the western hills at a time when few Westerners could enter China. He traveled more than a quarter of a million miles by sea and land while still a teenager and before the advent of commercial aviation as we know it.
He returned to the United States in the autumn of 1929 to complete his formal education. He entered the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he studied engineering and took one of the earliest course in atomic and molecular physics. In addition to his studies, he was the secretary of the Engineering Society and president of the Flying Club, and wrote articles, stories and plays for the university newspaper. During the same period he also barnstormed across the American Midwest and was a national correspondent and photographer for the Sportsman Pilot magazine, one of the most distinguished aviation publications of its day.
Returning to his classroom of the world in 1932, he led two separate expeditions, the first being the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition, sailing on one of the last of America's four-masted commercial ships, and the second, a mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico. His exploits earned him membership in the renowned Explorers Club and he subsequently carried their coveted flag on two more voyages of exploration and discovery. As a master mariner licensed to operate ships on any ocean, his life-long love of the sea was reflected in the many ships he captained and the skill of the crews he trained. He also served with distinction as a U.S. naval officer during the Second World War.
All of this—and much more—found its way into his writing and gave his stories a compelling sense of authenticity that has appealed to readers throughout the world.
It started in 1934 with the publication of "The Green God" in Thrilling Adventures magazine, a story about an American naval intelligence officer caught up in the mystery and intrigues of pre-communist China. With his extensive knowledge of the world and its people and his ability to write in any style and genre, L. Ron Hubbard rapidly achieved prominence as a writer of action, adventure, western, mystery and suspense. Such was the respect of his fellow writers, including Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Edgar Rice Burroughs, that he was only twenty-five when they elected him president of the New York chapter of the American Fiction Guild.
In addition to his career as a leading writer of fiction, he worked as a successful screenwriter in Hollywood where he wrote the original story and script for Columbia's 1937 hit serial The Secret of Treasure Island. His work on numerous films for Columbia, Universal and other major film studios involved writing, providing storylines and serving as a script consultant.
In 1938, he was approached by the venerable New York publishing house of Street and Smith, the publishers of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Wanting to capitalize on the proven reader appeal of the L. Ron Hubbard byline to capture more readers for this emerging genre, they essentially offered to buy all the science fiction he wrote. When he protested that he did not write about machines and machinery but about people, they told him this was exactly what they wanted. The rest is history.
The impact and influence that his novels and stories had on the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror virtually amounted to the changing of the genre. It is the compelling human element that he originally brought to this new genre that remains today the basis of its growing international popularity.
L. Ron Hubbard consistently enabled readers to peer into the mind and emotions of characters in a way that sharply heightened the reading experience without slowing the pace of the story, a level of writing rarely achieved.
Among the most celebrated examples of this are three stories he published in a single, phenomenally creative year, 1940: Final Blackout and its grimly possible future world of unremitting war and ultimate courage, which Robert Heinlein called "as perfect a piece of science fiction as has ever been written."; the ingenious fantasy-adventure Typewriter in the Sky, described by Clive Cussler as written in the great style adventure should be written in"; and the prototype novel of clutching psychological suspense and horror in the midst of ordinary, everyday life, Fear, studied by writers from Stephen King to Ray Bradbury.
It was Mr. Hubbard's trendsetting work in this field from 1938 to 1950, particularly, that not only helped to expand the scope and imaginative boundaries of science fiction and fantasy but indeliby established him as one of the founders of what continues to be regarded as the genre's Golden Age.
His culminating works of science fiction—Battlefield Earth and the ten-volume Mission Earth series—blazed new paths in the landscape of modern speculative fiction literature.
Widely honored recipient of Italy's Tetradramma D'Oro Award and a special Gutenberg Award, among other significant literary honors, Battlefield Earth has already been translated into twenty-six languages and easily ranks as the biggest single-volume science fiction novel at 1,066 pages and nearly 430,000 words, in the history of the genre.
The Mission Earth dekalogy has been equally acclaimed, winning the Cosmos 2000 Award from French readers and the coveted Nova Science Fiction Award from Italy's National Committee for Science Fiction and Fantasy. In a span of just twenty-three months, each of its ten volumes became New York Times bestsellers—a feat unequalled in publishing history.
L. Ron Hubbard's literary output ultimately encompassed more than 260 published novels, novelettes, short stories and screenplays in every genre.
Mr. Hubbard passed away in 1986, but his literary legacy lives on indelibly in works that continue to reverberate down through generations and millions of readers, making him one of the most widely read and highly acclaimed writers of our time.