Sunday night, I was poring over Tunein’s audio book catalog, and discovered they had the Mission Earth series in their files. The very same tapes I was in charge of putting on every night when I worked at WTAN back in 1989 and 1990.
Mission Earth was a series of ten books written by Church of Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard, apparently written not too far removed from his death in early 1986.
I’m amazed how much of these series of books I remember, not having heard them for at least a couple of decades. Some of the staff at WTAN warned me not to listen too intently, as they feared the tapes and the story would brainwash me. Brainwashing or no brainwashing, that wasn’t an option for me. I had to listen to the tapes to get the cues to get the commercials on while I cue up either the next side or the next tape, and keep the station from excessive “dead air” when no sound emits at all.
The series was rather bizarre. The narrator, Soltan Gris from the planet Voltar, is not a hero, but a rather cowardly fool of a villain. The subject, Jethro Heller, is not a villain, but a hero whose survives Soltan’s attempts of sabotage left and right. Hubbard successfully foresees Russia’s demise (in the book, by a meteoric block of ice Heller scooped up from Saturn to correct Earth’s wobbly orbit) and the rise in popularity of auto racing.
The book also has a “Crying Game” element to it as Soltan Gris alternates being pimped out by two New York lesbians and having a Turkish concubine named Utanc who winds up being a male KGB agent. (She obviously didn’t allow Gris to see his/her genitalia in the light of day.) Gris makes such a mess that it winds up back on Voltar, with the government deciding to “exterminate” it (or deceive everyone into thinking this was so) so that everyone could live happily ever after.
I didn’t even get to a crazed PR agent who has mastered the fine art of smear campaigning, a female mob boss, blackmailed and doped up political figures on both planets, and a teenage prostitute of non-legal age who knows all sorts of kinks. Like I said, it gets a little crazy.