Battlefield Earth

  • by L. Ron Hubbard
  • Narrated by Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Fred Tatascorie, Stefan Rudnicki, Nancy Cartwright, Jim Meskimen, Kaleo Griffith, Enn Reitel
  • 47 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner, 2017 APA Audie Awards - Excellence in Marketing
Earphones Award Winner
Best of 2016 Science Fiction Audiobook
In the year AD 3000, Earth is a barren wasteland, plundered of its natural resources by the millennium-long regime of taloned, gas-breathing, nine-foot alien conquerors from the planet Psychlo. Fewer than 35,000 humans survive in a handful of communities scattered across the face of a postapocalyptic Earth.
From a desolate village in the Rocky Mountains near what once was Denver, Colorado, a courageous young man named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler embarks on a hero's journey to challenge the fearful myths of his people.
Enslaved by the sadistic Terl, the Psychlo security chief of Earth, Jonnie and a small band of survivors pit their quest for freedom against Terl's ruthless ambition for personal wealth and power in a rebellion that erupts across the continents of Earth and the cosmic sprawl of the Psychlo empire, with the fate of the world, of mankind, and of the galaxies beyond in the balance.
Superlative quality - a new standard for all audiobooks.
Unlike any other audiobook ever produced. A fully immersive experience, this unabridged audiobook features more than 65 actors including Grammy Award-winning audiobook producer and narrator Stefan Rudnicki.
This state-of-the-art audio engineering has created a wholly cinematic soundtrack with:

47½ hours of pulse-pounding drama and action professionally recorded with high-definition sound.
A gorgeous cinematic soundtrack with full orchestral compositions and more than 150,000 sound effects.
A cast of more than 65 actors - many of whom are celebrity voices from TV, films, and games - performing 198 characters.

Written with a phenomenal burst of creative energy in a sustained eight-month period in 1980, and first published in October 1982, Battlefield Earth became a breakaway New York Times and international best seller, hailed as one of the classic science fiction novels.


What the Critics Say

"This epic sci-fi adventure is breathtaking." (Stefan Rudnicki)
"A vivid movie of the mind." (AudioFile)
"Pulse-pounding mile-a-minute sci-fi action adventure that does not stop. It is a masterpiece of popular adventure science-fiction." (Brandon Sanderson)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pulp Sci-Fi Done Right! More Like This!

The story is fun, simple and escapist pulp sci-fi...a bit old fashioned but enjoyable. But what makes this book worth it is the excellent performance and production values. I hope the producers can do this kind of thing more often.

The performance: Wonderfully done, with multiple voices (a necessity given the large cast of players) not only reading but performing the story. Music, sound effects, and a great cast make this not just an audiobook, but almost a play or an "audio-movie." Battlefield Earth is a fun book, but the brilliant rendering makes a 4-star story into a 5-star audiobook.

Say what you like about L. Ron Hubbard [and there is a lot to say], he could write fun stories of thrills, spills and derring-do with brave heroes who laugh in the face of danger, beautiful damsels in distress and evildoers who seem to be evil because evil is fun. Deep themes? Nope. Subtle messages? Nada. Thought provoking concepts about the present and future of humanity? None here. Adventure, action, rollicking fun!

That is not to say that the story is free of blemishes. The most grating is that the (human) characters are handled via ethnic stereotype (with attitudes that seemed more fitting to the 1930's than the 1980's publication date of the book or the 2010's date of this review).

Be warned: This audiobook clocks in at just under 48 hours [the original book was over 1000 pages]. There are about a dozen places where you figure the story is winding up only to find that you are getting swept along as it continues for many more hours.

Lastly: For those who worry that Battlefield Earth is some sort of propaganda or screed for Hubbard's Church of Scientology: it isn't. Yes, there are a few minor points in there aligned with Scientology's teachings, but they appear rather late and are incidental to the story.

Notes: There is a similar multi-voice production of Dune on Audible (Dune being a much richer and more complex source text than Battlefield Earth). And if you like Hubbard's pulp writing style, you might want to check out Ole Doc Methuselah.
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- Joel D Offenberg

A Caveman, a Cannibal and a Nazi walk outside...

I'm honestly not sure what I think of this book, and I've had a ridiculous amount of time to think it over. It is almost fifty hours long, which translates into over a month of listening time on a commute.

Okay, let's start with the obvious bit. First off, it's fully cast and produced. That means tons of different voices, a soundtrack and cool sound effects that do a great job creating atmosphere. The voice actors are clearly putting a lot of heart into it, and the narrator does a terrific job. A lot of money went into this recreation by a lot of people who really respected the work and it shows.

Next comes the unpleasant part. The story is ridiculous. The naming conventions are awful (Psychlos? Johnny Goodboy Tyler? Snowl?) and jars you loose from any immersion. The forward provided by Hubbard indicates that he incorporated economics, culture, politics and art to make the environment more real, but it's pretty clear that the author's understanding of those subjects was pretty superficial. It's made worse by the fact that he devotes so much time to it. You will get huge chunks of time where you have a group of people discussing the mortgage arrangement of Earth (yes, that actually happens).

If you're interested how the book relates to the movie, I will tell you that the movie only covers the first third (or so) of this book. The book does clarify some of the plot holes (like why the Psychlos on Earth are so lax and incompetent), but it generally makes about as much sense as the movie does. The title of this review is actually a scene that occurs in the book, and when describing it to a friend he asked, "So what's the punchline?" The one problem is that, while you could laugh at the movie for its flaws, it would be much harder to laugh at if you needed to be subjected to fifty hours worth of it to complete the story. And at least in the movie you had a good amount of mindless action to keep you entertained. In the book, the action sequences are very brief or only told in abstract after the fact.

Granted, Hubbard wrote books in another time, the 1930's, and the audience expected different things from science fiction back then. Tragically, this book was written in the 80's, right in the middle of a science fiction revolution, so it is weirdly anachronistic. If this book was one third the length, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a creative adventure story you don't have to think that hard about. As it stands, I would only recommend it to people who really enjoy very old (note I didn't say classic) science fiction. Or can marathon the entire black and white Frankenstein movies in a day.
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- Brian Zohner

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-06-2016
  • Publisher: Galaxy Audio