HUBBARD, L(afayette) Ron(ald)

HUBBARD, L(afayette) Ron(ald)
   US writer in many genres, including sf and fantasy, and subsequent quasireligious figure whose founding of DIANETICS and in 1952 the Church of SCIENTOLOGY led to much controversy, which continues. He began publishing sf with "The Dangerous Dimension" for ASF in 1938, and remained active until, more than a decade later, he transferred his creative gifts to the RELIGION he founded. He wrote under his own name and as Kurt von Rachen, Rene Lafayette and Frederick Engelhardt; other names remain unrevealed. Though there is no hard and fast line, his fantasy, much of it published in Unknown, was frequently as by LRH, and his sf, mostly in ASF, was frequently pseudonymous (although at least 12 items, some of them full-length though yet-unreprinted novels, appeared in ASF as by LRH). Certainly LRH was for John W. CAMPBELL Jr, in the throes of creating his GOLDEN AGE OF SF, a worthwhile and prolific contributor to the two journals, though he was not a member of that small group - L. Sprague DE CAMP, Robert A. HEINLEIN and Isaac ASIMOV being the primemovers-who were rewriting the rules of generic plausibility in terms which survived for many years. Retrospective attempts to elect LRH to that central role are best seen as gestures of loyalty from those sympathethic to his later career.His best-known early sf novel, Final Blackout (1940 ASF; 1948), grimly describes a world devastated by many wars in which ayoung army officer becomes dictator of the UK, which he organizes to fend off a decadent USA. It cannot be denied that the book veers extremely close to the fascism its text explicitly disavows. But sf was clearly not LRH's forte, and most of his work in the genre reads as tendentious orlaboured or both. As a writer of fantasy, however, he wrote with an occasionally pixilated fervour that is still pleasing, and sometimes reminiscent of the screwball comedies popular in the 1930s cinema. Slaves of Sleep (1939 Unknown; 1948), with its sequel "The Masters of Sleep" (1950), his best-known fantasy, is laid in the Arabian Nights environmentset aside for him by Campbell as his exclusive bailiwick in Unknown. The darkly PARANOID Fear (1940 Unknown; 1957) was perhaps rather stronger and more original, and demonstrated a powerful capacity to hook the reader into worlds where normal logic is distressingly maladaptive; it appeared also as one of the 2 novellas in Typewriter in the Sky/Fear (1940 Unknown for "Typewriter in the Sky"; coll 1951) and as one of the 2 novellas in Fear \& The Ultimate Adventure (1939 Unknown for "The Ultimate Adventure";coll 1970). "Typewriter in the Sky", a slyly effective self-referential FABULATION, may be his most permanently memorable work. Return to Tomorrow(1950 ASF as "To the Stars"; 1954) is a remarkably ruthless SPACE OPERA (SOCIAL DARWINISM). The Ole Doc Methuselah stories, as by Rene Lafayette, have been assembled as Ole Doc Methuselah (1947-50 ASF; coll 1970). He wrote other series, too, notably the Conquest of Space series (as Lafayette) in Startling Stories, all but the last story in 1949:"Forbidden Voyage", "The Magnificent Failure", "The Incredible Destination", "The Unwilling Hero", "Beyond the Black Nebula", "The Emperor of the Universe" and "The Last Admiral" (1950). As Kurt von Rachen he wrote the Kilkenny Cats series, all in ASF: "The Idealists" (1940), "The Kilkenny Cats" (1940), "The Traitor" (1941), "The Mutineers" (1941)and "The Rebels" (1942). In general his early work, though composed with delirious speed, often came to haunt his readership, and its canny utilization of SUPERMAN protagonists came to tantalize them with visions of transcendental power.The vulnerability of the sf community - from Campbell and A.E. VAN VOGT down to the naivest teenage fans - to this lureof transcendence may help account for the otherwise puzzling success first of Dianetics, then of Scientology itself, which gained many early recruits from sf; for, both as technique and as religion, these very US bodies of doctrine centrally posited a technology of self-improvement, a set of instructions to follow in order to liberate the transcendent power within one (EDISONADE). LRH became very wealthy on the proceeds of his intuition concerning "spiritual technology", and departed the sf field for many years, not to return until the publication of Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (1982), an enormously long space opera composed in an idiom that seemed embarrassingly archaic. This was followed by the Mission Earth "dekalogy", a 10-vol sequence whose farcical overemphases fail to disguisean overblown tale that would have been more at home in the dawn of the PULP MAGAZINES; it comprises The Invaders Plan (1985), Black Genesis(1986), The Enemy Within (1986), An Alien Affair (1986), Fortune of Fear (1986), Death Quest (1987), Voyage of Vengeance (1987), Disaster (1987), Villainy Victorious (1987) and The Doomed Planet (1987). The posthumous publication of some of these books has led to speculation as to their true authorship. The sequence was released by LRH's own firm, Bridge Publications, and was heavily promoted, reflecting LRH's - and hisintellectual heirs' - apparent desire to re-establish his reputation in the sf world. At the same time, he inaugurated the WRITERS OF THE FUTURE CONTEST and the Writers of the Future workshops for new authors, some ofwhom have reported benefits (Algis BUDRYS for further discussion); the associated anthology series is L. RON HUBBARD PRESENTS WRITERS OF THE FUTURE. In the early 1990s, much of LRH's early work was scheduled forreissue from Bridge Publications; and in 1992 it was announced that an underground crypt had been constructed near Petrolia, California, by an arm of the Church of Scientology known as the Church of Spiritual Technology, to house "the religious works of L. Ron Hubbard and other keyreligious works of mankind".
   Other works: Buckskin Brigades (1937; rev 1987; further rev 1987), associational; Death's Deputy (1940 Unknown; 1948) and The Kingslayer (coll 1949; vt Seven Steps to the Arbiter 1975),also bound together as From Death to the Stars (omni 1953); Triton and Battle of Wizards ("Triton" 1940 Unknown; "Battle of Wizards" 1949 FantasyBook; coll 1949), also bound with Ed Earl REPP's The Radium Pool (coll 1949) as Science Fantasy Quintet (anth 1953); The Case of the Friendly Corpse (1941 Unknown; 1991); The Automagic Horse (1994 chap).
   Nonfiction: Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950) and very many others of this type, including This is Scientology: The Science of Certainty (1955 UK), Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought (1956 UK) and ThePhoenix Lectures (1968 UK).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hubbard, L(afayette) Ron(ald) — (13 mar. 1911, Tilden, Neb., EE.UU.–24 ene. 1986, San Luis Obispo, Cal.). Novelista estadounidense y fundador de la Iglesia de cientología. Se crió en Helena, Mont., y estudió en la Universidad George Washington. En las décadas de 1930 y 1940… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hubbard — /hub euhrd/, n. 1. Elbert Green, 1856 1915, U.S. author, editor, and printer. 2. L(afayette) Ron(ald), 1911 86, U.S. science fiction writer and religious leader. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hubbard — Hub•bard [[t]ˈhʌb ərd[/t]] n. big L(afayette) Ron(ald), 1911–86, U.S. science fiction writer and religious leader …   From formal English to slang

  • Hubbard — /ˈhʌbəd/ (say hubuhd) noun L(afayette) Ron(ald), 1911–86, US science fiction writer and founder of Scientology …   Australian English dictionary

  • Lafayette — (as used in expressions) Dickey, James (Lafayette) Hubbard, L(afayette) Ron(ald) Hunt, H(aroldson) L(afayette) Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marqués de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ronald — (as used in expressions) Bochco, Steven (Ronald) Coase, Ronald (Harry) Colman, Ronald (Charles) Fisher, Sir R(onald) A(ylmer) Haggard, Merle (Ronald) Hubbard, L(afayette) Ron(ald) Kitaj, R(onald) B(rooks) Laing, R(onald) D(avid) Reagan, Ronald… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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