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L. Ron Hubbard

Under the Black Ensign

And who could resist this galavanting pirate?

Recently I read a “pulp fiction” story by L. Ron Hubbard called Under the Black Ensign. Pulp fiction stories are like Indiana Jones movies – fast-paced, fun adventure stories with usually a hero and a predictable love story. If you want to read something fun, and don’t feel like thinking, pulp fiction is there to satisfy that need.

I did not pick up the book because I wanted to read some golden age pulp fiction, but instead because it was written by L. Ron Hubbard. If he’s good enough to start a religion, he’s good enough to warrant reading a 50 page story.

The story was pretty decent – I think if I was 10 and it was a cartoon I would’ve enjoyed it. And I certainly read it very quickly, which is another good sign. The most interesting part of the book was the brief biographical piece about L. Ron Hubbard at the end of the book.

Pulp Fiction's Golden Age

Gotta catch ’em all!

This book was published along with a number of other classic L. Ron Hubbard pulp fiction pieces. I would imagine each of them has this same amazing biographical note.

Instead of reviewing the book, I will review the biographical note.

“L. Ron Hubbard and American Pulp Fiction”

If you are familiar with The Office and Michael Scott’s fictional and idealized version of himself, Michael Scarn, you may have an idea how this “biographical” piece will read.

While it is understandable to have self-congratulations in a brief author bio, this one comes on a little strong. For example, most author bios are a paragraph or two, and this one is nine pages.

Maybe it is a bad idea to criticize him, because other critics have been addressed:

“His [L. Ron’s] first Westerns were soundly rejected as lacking the authenticity of a Max Brand yarn (a particularly frustrating comment given L. Ron Hubbard’s Westerns came straight from his Montana homeland, while Max Brand was a mediocre New York poet named Frederick Schiller Faust, who turned out implausible six-shooter tales from the terrace of an Italian villa.)”

I feel it is only fair to turn a fairly critical eye to the founder of a religion. Other religions should be glad that figures who authored such important pieces were alive so much longer ago, so that followers of those religions wouldn’t have to think, “sure, the religion stuff is good – but their romance novels are what I really like!”

This reviewers conclusion is that L. Ron Hubbard probably masturbated while staring at one or more mirrors.

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