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In an even more professorial voice, already deep and roaring enough, Terl repeated his thought. "Man is an endangered species."

Char glowered at him. "What in the name of diseased crap are you reading?"
Battlefield Earth, Part 1, Chapter 1

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 is a 1980 science fiction novel written by L. Ron Hubbard about Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, one of the last humans left on Earth after an Alien Invasion by the sadistic, corporate Psychlos. After growing frustrated with life in his miserable mountain village, Jonnie strikes on his own only to be captured by Terl, a "clever, not intelligent" Psychlo with a scheme to get rich by having human slaves mine gold for him. Jonnie is taught the Psychlos' language and masters the aliens' technology, but when the time comes to capture more workers he convinces them to help overthrow the aliens and liberate the planet. With the aid of this band of warrior Scots, Jonnie leads a daring attack that simultaneously strikes at the Psychlo homeworld even as it crushes the alien occupiers.

That's the first third or so of the book. After that Jonnie has to deal with Psychlo POWs, a bitter political rival allied with Terl and a neo-neo-Nazi, other extraterrestrial forces eager to swoop in on a vulnerable Earth, and alien debt collectors trying to repossess the planet, all while cracking the secrets of Psychlo mathematics.

Battlefield Earth made it to the top of numerous bestseller lists[1], but critical response was less than enthusiastic, citing the novel's length, plotting, and characters. Nevertheless, the idea of making a movie persisted until finally being realized in the year 2000, starring John Travolta (who personally bankrolled the project), Forest Whitaker, and Barry Pepper. It was a pretty spectacular bomb, but you can read about its tropes here if you're after some Snark Bait.

The novel contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Would probably be seen as one, had anybody else written it. Hubbard's publishers responded to criticism with such claims, which sounds like a Parody Retcon.
  • After the End: Mankind's cities are in ruins, and there are only scattered bands of humanity left.
  • AFGNCAAP: Jonny becomes something close - after he's liberated Earth, annihilated the Psychlos, and shown the other aliens the path to righteousness by abandoning wartime economies for blissful consumerism, he becomes the greatest hero in existence. When other alien races depict him in their art, his features are changed to resemble their own, so that eventually no one is able to agree on what this god among mortals actually looked like. Since Jonnie is of course modest enough to want a simple frontier life, he is fine with this.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: The Psychlos create no art nor do they have a sense of aesthetics, but they do appreciate others' art in the most commercial sense - they kept the Chinkos around partially to sell off their paintings. Played straight later when other alien diplomats pay good spacebucks for a Chinese family's paintings and knickknacks.
  • Alien Invasion: Once by the Psychlos in the backstory, while over the course of the book the heroes have to deal with a host of other alien races having a go at Earth.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey: The few surviving humans believe that advertising statues left from before the Psychlos' invasion of Earth were gods that had been turned into stone as punishment for falling in love with mortal women.
  • Alternative Number System: The Psychlos use a base-11 system.
  • Alternate Universe: Psychlo is in another universe where natural laws are slightly different from ours. That alone meant the book made a little more sense than the film.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: We're supposed to view the Psychlo race as such, but keep reading...
  • Author Appeal: You get the sense this was L. Ron's attempt to write an Animal Farm exposing the imminent dangers of psychology.
  • Author Avatar: The earliest covers portrayed Jonny Goodboy Tyler as having a close physical resemblance to none other than L. Ron Hubbard himself. Later editions have Jonnie more closely resembling Barry Bostwick in the film Megaforce, with just a hint of Chuck Norris.
  • Author Tract: Lots. The evil "Psychlos" controlled by a "medical scientist cult" called the "catrists" are straightforward enough, though in case you didn't understand that Hubbard loathes psychiatrists he has the characters badmouth them too. In the year 3000 everyone's forgotten Hitler, but still remembers those evil mental health quacks.
    • We're introduced to an alien journalist named Roof Arsebogger, who's lauded as the top man in his field for his skill at libel and maintaining the government line. Hubbard didn't like reporters either.
    • The avaricious alien bankers have no concept of morality, only business, and in keeping with Hubbard's views of the business world are the puppets of the Psychlos.
    • Jonnie complains that taxation is like stealing, and governments should be able to earn their own keep.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Psychlo teleportation engines. They work by sending the craft through countless minuscule teleportations along a set course, instead of just blinking to the destination. In other words, they perform just like traditional aircraft, only with physics-warping engines and insanely complicated computations.
  • Berserk Button: Ask a Psychlo about mathematics and the males are conditioned to go into a homicidal rage before killing themselves, while females just slip into a coma.
  • Beta Couple: Pattie and Bittie MacLeod, also Puppy Love. At least we hope that Bittie isn't a teenager hitting on an eight-year-old.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Psychlo are famous for the "breathe-gas" they respire and its explosive reaction to radiation, but that's only the start. They don't have lips or eyelids, but "mouthbones" and "eyebones." The top half of their skull is mostly bone, leaving their brains squished down against their spinal column, and their hearts aren't behind their ribcage, but down towards their belt buckles. Also, they're viruses
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Terl spends at least two whole sections of the book coming up with "leverage" over his coworkers.
  • Braids, Beads, and Buckskins: The everyday clothing of Jonnie and his tribe, though it's especially prevalent in the movie version.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Terl at one point thanks "the evil gods," the sole mention of Psychlo theology. Meanwhile, the Tolneps are so eager to let you know that they are eeeevil slavers that they'll cut into their profit margins by using the bones of hundreds of thousands of slaves to make a clock.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Little Bittie gets Little Pattie a locket with "To my future wife" inscribed on it.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Terl in particular and the Psychlos in general, to the point that you may wonder how their society functions at all.
  • City in a Bottle: Jonnie's miserable home village, holed up in an irradiated mountain valley that keeps them safe from alien attack while slowly killing them.
  • Concept Album: L. Ron Hubbard composed a companion music album called Space Jazz: The Soundtrack of the Book "Battlefield Earth" in 1982, billed as "the only original sound track ever produced for a book before it becomes a movie."
  • Cool Horse: Windsplitter, Jonnie's faithful steed. He even gets a Psychlo kill or two!
  • Covers Always Lie: A blurb from Robert A. Heinlein promises "A terrific story," while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution assures us "The pace starts fast and never lets up" and the Kirkus Review insists we're in for "Tight plotting, furious action and have at 'em entertainment."
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A trait of Terl and other Psychlo business executives, but averted with the Selachee bankers, whose hat is banking with absolute honesty. It's Nothing Personal, "banking is banking. And business is business."
  • Curb Stomp Battle: In the backstory, the most resistance the humans put up during the Psychlo invasion was a bunch of Air Force cadets who held out for three hours. In the book itself, this is inverted: the big, bad, invincible Psychlos are routinely and utterly crushed by Jonnie and his heroes. Justified somewhat in that Jonnie's fighting an underbudget force of miners instead of professional soldiers, but then he goes on to do the same to other alien races' armies.
  • Custom Uniform: For his meeting with representatives from other planets, Jonnie's Chinese chamberlain whips up a black and silver outfit complete with a shiny dragon helmet, which combined with his new Sir Francis Drake haircut and some cheesy theatrics manages to awe the alien diplomats into taking him seriously.
  • Deflector Shields: The Psychlos use something they call "atmosphere armor," which is not a force field, but something that aligns the atoms in the air into an impenetrable barrier. Unfortunately for them, they don't use these things enough.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The humans lace their ammunition with radioactive material, since the "breathe-gas" Psychlos use for air explodes if it encounters so much as a "single isotope" of uranium.
  • Depopulation Bomb: In the backstory, a single Psychlo gas drone was able to wipe out most of humanity. Terl's back-up plan involves getting the same gas drone to finish the job.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Our gold mine has collapsed! How will we ever meet Terl's quota and - oh, here's an armored car filled with gold.
  • Deus Ex Nukina: When your enemy has a ridiculous vulnerability to radiation, what else are you gonna try to sneak onto their home planet?
  • Did Not Do the Research: Science-fiction with an emphasis on fiction. Even then, the fiction makes it hard to suspend disbelief.
    • You Fail Biology Forever: The Psychlos, who have cells grouped into organs and systems, reproduce sexually, and consume other organisms for sustenance, are revealed to be viruses - which are by definition microscopic, acelluar entities that replicate themselves by infecting host cells.
    • Nuclear Physics Goof: Did you know that you can just wash away radiation with water? Y'see, the radioactive elements are heavier than water, so they get carried away by it.
      • The whole Psychlo "breathe-gas" reaction to radiation is just awful. While you might be able to Hand Wave Planet Psychlo not exploding despite orbiting three suns as being due to the laws of that universe, the Psychlos are able to walk around on Earth just fine, even though it's constantly being bombarded with radiation from the sun and has biochemistry heavily dependent on potassium and carbon, some of which is radioactive. There's even minuscule amounts of uranium in topsoil, yet all the Psychlos have to wear outside is a gas mask.
    • Writers Cannot Do Math: The book makes a big deal about a base-eleven counting system being a lot more confusing than a base-ten one. It's not (especially to Jonnie, who didn't know any math prior to learning the undenary system). It's said that the decimal system is best for paper computation, which is just nonsense. For example, no matter what base you're in, 10 * 10 is always 100. The problem arises when one thinks of 10 (etc.) as a number in and of itself, rather than a single unit of tens and zero units of ones. To be fair, a larger base means one has to memorize larger addition, multiplication, etc, tables in order to do pencil-and-paper math - but for base 11 it isn't that MUCH larger (for example, if the digit after 9 is A, the convention used in hexidecimal, one needs to memorize what A*2 through A*A are - A*1=A, and A*0=0).
    • You Fail Physics Forever: The book pretends scientific credibility by launching into an explanation of why the Psychlo periodic table is different from ours. Anyone with any training in physics (or chemistry for that matter) can only look on in stunned horror as they are told the reason is that the Psychlo table includes variations based on electron orbits. However the most basic principles of quantum mechanics tell us that since electrons in atoms form standing waves only certain orbits are possible. Electrons will naturally drop into the lowest energy orbit not already occupied and though they can be 'excited' into a higher orbit they'll soon drop down again. In other words every carbon atom in the universe, for example, will have the same electron configuration (which is what gives it the chemical properties that make it carbon). Sure you can get 'excited' carbon but its not a separate element because it's chemically pretty much the same as regular carbon and will revert to regular carbon anyway. Incidentally modern science codifies this by having an atom identified by its atomic number. This is the number of protons in the nucleus and is also the same number as the number of electrons in the atom but the atomic number is not affected by playing with the electrons. Hopefully this somewhat lengthy rant will have corrected the damage done to any readers who mistook that section of the book full of technical words as having any basis in actual physics.
  • Doorstopper: The hardcover edition clocks in at a whopping 1,083 pages, making just finishing the book a feat in itself.
  • The Dung Ages: Jonnie's tribe in particular has forgotten how to work metal. The Scots at least know how to make swords, and make allusions to some sort of "underground" university.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield: You'd think so, given the title, but no. The great uprising against the Psychlos consists of a one-sided ground assault against the main mining base and fifteen planes splitting up to strafe the other fifteen bases. When other aliens invade later, fighting is centered around bases in Africa, Russia and Scotland, and is primarily an air war.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: Humanity wins the war by teleporting nuclear "planet buster" bombs to the Psychlo homeworld. Since the greedy Psychlo have mined their home planet to the extent that its riddled with abandoned shafts and tunnels, this results in a chain reaction that turns the planet into an immense fireball. Jonnie wonders if he's turned the planet into a new star.
  • Easily-Thwarted Alien Invasion: The drama of the alien offensive towards the end of the book is undermined somewhat by their tendency to die in droves without taking any objectives. One pilot is able to fly air cover over Edinburgh and gets something like two dozen kills in a single engagement.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: The naming conventions of Jonnie Goodboy Tyler's home village also gives us his father Timothy Brave Tyler, his rival Brown Limper Staffor, and his neighbor Tom Smiley Townsen.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Psychlos developed a bomb capable of snuffing out an entire planet, but never used it militarily (because that risks destroying precious gold!), only using it to dispose of planets they'd completely mined out (...why?). Jonnie, however, has no such reservations.
  • Explosive Leash: Not on Jonnie or the other workers, but for the hostages, Chrissie and Pattie.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Terl was loading up the coffins he thought were filled with gold, he didn't notice the dangling fuses to the nukes the humans had stuck inside them. In a later, similar event Terl never notices that the "gold-filled" coffins he's loading have the suspicious lightness of straw.
  • Final Speech: Bittie is able to linger on despite being almost bisected by machinegun fire, while Jonnie spends time cutting down Brigantes by the score, just so he can give his hero some anguished last words.
  • Good All Along: Turns out if you remove a Psychlos' Mind Control implants, they can be pretty amiable. Unfortunately, Jonnie only figures out how to do this after exterminating the majority of the race and dooming the sterilized survivors to extinction.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Those dastardly "catrists" implant all Psychlo pups with a device that either drives them to suicide or puts them in a coma if they try to reveal technological secrets. As a side effect it warps their brains to stimulate pleasure centers when they do evil deeds, but the catrists are fine with that.
  • False Reassurance: Terl tries, bless him, but pulling this off right requires subtlety and charisma, while Terl may as well have told his would-be victims "the present I just gave you is a bomb."
  • The Greys: The Selachees are a sharky version.
  • Happily Ever After: Complete with castle. At least, for a while.
  • Heel Face Turn: Ker as well as other Psychlos, once Jonnie figures out how to extract the mind-control devices.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One of the Scottish pilots makes a kamikaze run on an alien carrier, but in a subversion, actually causes as much trouble as he ends after the doomed ship crashes near the humans' base and threatens its generators.
  • Heroic Willpower: In something straight out of Dianetics, Jonnie attributes his recovery from brain damage to this.
  • Hide Your Children: We never see Psychlo "pups," since Psychlos sent offworld to work are sterilized first. And of course because Jonnie killed the rest of them when he blew up planet Psychlo.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Turns out Terl was an elite among Psychlos, one of the few to be entrusted with the secrets of teleportation. He spends the entire book trying to screw over his bosses and make a fortune.
  • Humans Are Morons: Most Psychlo workers aren't convinced the near-extinct humans are even sentient, and Terl's constant underestimation of his captives' capabilities has disastrous consequences for his race.
  • Humans Are Special: In sixteen universes and hundreds of thousands of years of history, no other race managed to defeat the Psychlos and crack their technology, then go on to usurp them as rulers of the universes. All in two years or so, no less.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Brigantes, a mongrel tribe of former mercenaries sent to Africa Just Before the End, have an innovative approach to food shortages, paychecks, and burials.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Some of the Psychlo bases on other worlds were in the middle of occupied cities. When Jonnie checks on them a year or so after his attack on the Psychlo Empire, he finds blasted, lifeless ruins, but thinks no more of it.
  • Informed Ability: The Psychlos are sadistic monsters who torture victims to death over days for the simple joy of it! ...Allegedly. There's a single example off-screen, but not even Terl has to tear someone apart to sate his bloodlust. Most of the Psychlos are Punch Clock Villains who spend their days mining and their nights playing space ring-toss while getting drunk, worried more about paycuts and layoffs than when they'll get to torture something.
  • Invincible Hero: Ah, Jonnie. Best pilot on the planet. Strong enough to bludgeon a bear to death with a gun and toss Psychlos around three at a time. Tactical and technical genius. Any setbacks he encounters are due to conditions beyond his control, and only temporary.
  • In Working Order: Averted, as it takes Jonnie and his followers months of training before they can use Psychlo equipment effectively.
  • Just Between You and Me: Credit where it's due, Terl waits until an enemy's in his coffin to gloat and make self-incriminating statements for Jonnie to record.
  • Kid Sidekick: Bittie MacLeod desperately wants to be Jonnie's squire, while Chrissie's little sister Pattie (eight years old) tags along when Chrissie ventures into the wilderness in search of Jonnie.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Psychlo's and the humans.
  • Made of Explodium: The "breathe-gas" Psychlos respire has an extreme reaction to even minute amounts of radiation.
  • Mass Teleportation: In the wake of the gas drone attack, the Psychlos teleported tanks and infantry to mop up the survivors.
  • Meaningful Funeral: At the start of the book, the lack of one for Jonnie's father is what tips us off that his fellow villagers are hopelessly passive, while Jonnie's efforts to get one show how he's a man of action. Also unfortunately an Establishing Character Moment where we see him coldly bully his family and neighbors into doing what he wants.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In all fairness, Jonnie wasn't trying to destroy every planet in the Psychlo Empire with a nuclear chain reaction. He just wanted to nuke the hell out of the teleporter site on Psychlo and got more boom than was expected.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Soft. We know that Psychlo teleportation works by swapping two patches of space, but not how a control console manages to bring this about.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Ker, the non-evil Psychlo. Turns out he was rescued after being left to die as a pup, and thus never got those catrist implants.
  • National Stereotypes: The Scots are all claymore-wielding kilt-wearing Bravehearts, Russians drink vodka and still hang onto old Soviet traditions, Swiss-Germans are all master craftsmen or bankers (in a post-apocalyptic world where most tribes have not yet rediscovered metal!), the Frenchman faints at the sight of even a dead Psychlo, the Chinese family are experts on protocol and courtly manners who have been waiting for a new emperor to serve for a thousand years, and the mongrel tribe from Africa is a bunch of primitive cannibals.
  • Never Found the Body: Terl dies off-screen in a teleporter accident, when he attempts to teleport into what is now a sun, so there really shouldn't be any body. Thankfully, he doesn't make a miraculous reappearance and stays good and dead for the rest of the book.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Somehow, Jonnie blowing up a planet's moon has no adverse effects on it.
    • Actually, it only dissolves, and then contracts and solidifies again. It never actually explodes.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Psychlos are constantly screwing each other over with obscure rules, and after some blunders by Terl the company's home office just ignores any further missives from him.
  • One-Man Army: Besides the aforementioned one-man air cover, Jonnie cuts down about two dozen Brigantes in a single ambush, receiving only superficial wounds in return.
    • And they were ambushing him.
  • Peace Through Superior Firepower: Jonnie combines the knowledge of the Psychlos' "ultimate bomb" and teleportation to threaten any alien aggressors with annihilation. After a few token complaints, they decide they're fine with this.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Jonnie clubs an attacking bear to death with Terl's blaster, and at no point attempts to fire the thing.
    • Justifiable, as he grew up as an illiterate hunter whose weapon-of-choice (even LONG after he's introduced to guns and alien tech) were his "kill-clubs". He's spent his whole life bashing things, not shooting them, so it's naturally his first instinct.
  • Planet Looters: The Psychlos actually search Earth's ruins on foot, prying out every last gold filling from the corpses littering the ground (but left silver and copper and other metals, since they weren't as valuable).
  • Planet of Hats: The Psychlos have a racial mining fetish, to the point that their numerology has a mining motif, their mass transit is set up like minecarts, and their entire existence is based around selling resources to fund the next invasion to capture more resources. The Selachee have a banking empire spread across the universes, the Tolneps are rapacious slavers, and the dearly departed Chinko were professional simpering slaves.
  • Posthumous Character: We only learn about the sinister catrists at the very end of the story, long, long after Jonnie's unknowingly killed them.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Brigantes' ancestors were a multinational paramilitary force sent to Africa Just Before the End to overthrow some post-colonial governments on behalf of international banking interests. They were overlooked during the apocalypse, interbred with the locals, and over a thousand years regressed to a bunch of cannibalistic child rapists still waiting for someone to give them a paycheck.
  • Psychic Powers: Terl believes Jonnie and "his mate" share a psychic bond, when in reality Jonnie just has some men checking on Chrissie's condition.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Justified in some cases; a library Jonnie visits was preserved by Chinko sociologists, and the Tommy guns he outfits his men with had been sealed in grease and buried for a millennium. Yet the humans find books and scraps of paper in other places, are able to renovate ruins that should have crumbled away centuries ago, and spruce up tactical nukes from an old bunker without too much trouble.
  • Riding Into the Sunset: In the end, after committing genocide, being hailed as the hero of multiple universes, and becoming obscenely rich, Jonnie escapes into the frontier with his family in search of a simpler life.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Brown Limper Staffor, Jonnie's bitterly jealous neighbor, tries to usurp Earth's new government, and keeps trying to kill Jonnie over imagined slights. For his part, Jonnie puts Brown Limper pretty low on his list of priorities.
  • Rubber Forehead Aliens: All aliens described are humanoid, with a few animal-like characteristics or missing/rearranged facial features.
  • Schizo-Tech: Psychlos have teleportation, long-distance space probes, and a multiverse-spanning empire that holds all of reality by the balls. They use tanks and bomber aircraft, and computers are mentioned in passing only, despite the presence of drone aircraft.
  • Shallow Female Love Interest: Jonny's girlfriend, Chrissie. Her dialogue from the entirety of the book may take up a page or two, tops, her main effect on the plot is getting held hostage or otherwise being put in danger, and her love for Jonnie is so sweeping and romantic that Hubbard doesn't bother trying to express it in the book.
  • Space Jews: Besides the Selachee, a race of shark-descended bankers who try to repossess the planet, we're also introduced to the Chinkos, a race of effeminate, intelligent, subservient aliens enslaved, and subsequently exterminated by the Psychlos. Jonnie even uses the phrase "tired of being Chinko polite," which combined with the author's real-life views leads to some Unfortunate Implications.
    • The film changed the name to Clinkos, which is a) idiotic since they still behave like stereotypical Asians, and b) against Scientology rules in that they altered Hubbard's work.
  • Stealth Pun: The Selachee, the race of gray-skinned extreme omnivores, are the universes' premier bankers. They're literally loan sharks.
  • Subspace Ansible: Averted, with disastrous consequences for the Psychlo Empire. Communications and cargo can only be exchanged with a teleporter, and the rules of teleportation means that each Psychlo base only has a few scheduled hours each year to make contact with the capital. So when Jonnie blows up the Psychlo homeworld, every other Psychlo planet, one after another, tries to open a teleporter link into what is effectively a sun.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Turns out in a thousand years, the only person on the planet who remembers Hitler thinks he was a military genius and God's chosen instrument to usher in an era of peace and righteousness.
  • Throwing Your Kill-Club Always Works: Jonnie's use of throwing clubs really underscores the fact that his people can't figure out the bow and arrow or javelin.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Chinkos. Yeah, if you're enslaved by an empire that regularly wipes out planetary populations in the name of loot, trying to go on strike is a bad idea.
  • Translation Convention: A footnote mentions that all units of measurement have been converted into Earth standards.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Besides liberal use of "crap" and references to a "crap nebula," the Psychlos use "crunch" or "crunching" as an expletive.
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Psychlos have technology that beams pure knowledge into your brain via your skin, allowing Jonnie to become an Instant Expert.
  • Villain Ball: As early as the first chapter it's made clear that Terl is ambitious, scheming, and well-educated, but still a dumbass. To pick one of many examples, the first thing Terl does after capturing Jonnie is to nearly kill his prisoner by tossing him inside a vehicle filled with breathe-gas, then acting shocked when the human starts choking.
  • Villain Team-Up: Brown Limper allies himself with Terl, a Swedish neo-neo-Nazi, and the Brigantes in order to get some payback against Jonnie.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Not to imply that Terl had much to fall from, but he goes insane from paranoia when he becomes convinced that a special agent has infiltrated the workforce while investigating him. Turns out the guy was on the run and had no idea what was going on.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Psychlo have drone mining devices to operate in extreme conditions, but are apparently too cheap to use them on a planet with irradiated areas, thus allowing the plot to happen.
  • We Will Use Wiki Words in the Future: Gems such as "man-animal," "kill-club," "breathe-gas," "picto-camera," "compo-gradients," "crap-lousy" and "rat-brain" will hurt the same the first and five hundredth time you read them.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Jonnie heroically wipes out an entire race of aliens who are only evil because a shadowy cabal of psychiatrists rewired their brains that way. At no point are the Psychlos thought of as victims that could have been saved, nor does Jonnie regret his actions. In fact, the surviving Psychlos go out of their way to make sure that he isn't feeling bad about it (he wasn't), and explain that their race is better off dead.
    • Probably justified, in that the surviving Psychlos are smart enough to realize that every other race they've ever oppressed is going to be gunning for them to get revenge by exterminating or enslaving them.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Averted. Gold is highly-valued in all sixteen known universes, so once the Psychlos nabbed the Voyager probe and noticed that the coordinates to Earth were on a gold-plated disc, the promise of shiny yellow rocks was worth funding a planetary invasion. Played straight when the Psychlo looters ignored silver and copper coins while scrounging up every last golden earring.
  • You Have Waited Long Enough: The threat of this happening helps spur Chrissie into setting out in search of Jonnie when he doesn't return after the promised year.
  • You No Take Candle: The Brigantes' accent.


  1. Scientologists bought it in bulk in an effort to boost sales of Dianetics
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