cover image Black Genesis: Fortress of Evil

Black Genesis: Fortress of Evil

L. Ron Hubbard. Bridge Publications (CA), $10.95 (431pp) ISBN 978-0-88404-208-2

With this second volume, the direction and shape of Hubbard's proposed 10-book sequence, Mission Earth, are becoming clear. Instead of concentrating on the overall theme (will Earth destroy itself before the aliens can conquer it?), Hubbard emphasizes a great amount of seemingly extraneous incident to stretch out his tale into a dekalogy. In place of an epic, he offers a mock epic. This second book is a modern Candide in which alien secret agent Jettero Heller is introduced to the contemporary world in satirical strokes so broad they recall vaudeville sketches. When Heller arrives in New York City, he innocently lands a job with the Mafia, takes a room in a brothel and is taught to drive by a cabbie. Apart from one funny sequence in which FBI agents' praise of J. Edgar Hoover makes him out to be a greater con man and criminal than his targets, most of the attacks (especially on the IRS) are vengeful and humorless. (March)