SOURCE: Galaxy Press

December 14, 2005 06:00 ET

20th Anniversary Release of World's Longest Science Fiction Novel Highlights Fiction Becoming Fact

Author Predicted DVDs, Button Cameras and 3D Projection Systems

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 14, 2005 -- Science fiction or science fact? From robot drones and remote-controlled humans to fully immersing learning machines and micro-sized cameras, today it all depends on when you read about it and what you read it in.

Rapid advances in world technology have made true science fiction -- also termed speculative fiction for its focus on "What If?" scenarios -- much harder to identify versus hard science, according to science fiction novelist and literary critic Brad Linaweaver. The upcoming 20th anniversary paperback edition of "Battlefield Earth" by international best-selling author, L. Ron Hubbard, offers a case in point.

The longest single science fiction novel in history, "Battlefield Earth" pre-dates several of today's technological wonders. Long before the plugged-in learning scenes of Neo in "The Matrix," the holodeck environments of "Star Trek: Next Generation," or the planetary projections in "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones," "Battlefield Earth" predicted the use of:

--  Interactive, multimedia DVDs - a decade before the format was
    introduced, Hubbard envisioned "disc learning machines" to teach the book's
    hero about the language and culture of his alien captors, the Psychlos;
--  Button cameras - fictional forerunners of today's miniaturized digital
    surveillance cameras commonly used for spying allow the novel's aliens to
    conduct remote surveillance of their captives;
--  Real-time imaging systems - Hubbard's "atmosphere projectors" provided
    highly advanced, three-dimensional, holographic projections of entire
    environments, strikingly similar to imaging systems used in war operations
    in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
"Twenty years ago, such technologies were dreams," Linaweaver said. "It took a visionary like Hubbard to see this and, later, for scientists to make those dreams reality."

The 20th anniversary paperback edition of Hubbard's towering future Earth adventure -- nearly 430,000 words long -- is being released by Galaxy Press this month, with the full original text and a cluster of special commemorative design features.

Though Hubbard was a popular science fiction master storyteller since the 1930s, "Battlefield Earth" marked his return to fiction after a 30-year hiatus. "He proved that he hadn't lost his touch for what he called 'the dream that precedes the dawn,'" said Linaweaver.

"Battlefield Earth" has sold more than 8,500,000 copies in 26 languages around the world since its initial publication in October, 1982 as a breakout New York Times bestseller. It remained a national bestseller for 32 weeks and became a perennial international bestseller.

During his prolific 55-year professional writing career, L. Ron Hubbard published over 250 works of fiction in genres ranging from adventure, western, detective/mystery and suspense to science fiction and fantasy, and had 19 New York Times bestsellers. More than 233 million copies of his published works, in total, have been sold in 65 languages and 155 countries.

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