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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Battlefield Earth? Romney's favorite novel? Really? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Battlefield Earth? Romney's favorite novel? Really?
SenojRetep
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So evidentlly, Mitt Romney's favorite novel or favorite Sci-Fi novel (depending on which day you ask him) is Battlefield Earth.

Does this bother anyone here? I've never read Battlefield Earth; I've never wanted to read Battlefield Earth. From what I know of it, I can't imagine anyone labeling it their favorite Sci-Fi novel, let alone their favorite novel of all. And Romney seems so normal, or at least, not the type for this sort of weirdness.

*disturbed*

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mr_porteiro_head
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Ken Jennings had some interesting things to say about this in his blog.

quote:
This is possibly the worst answer to a standard campaign question that I have ever heard in a lifetime of bad campaign answers.
quote:
Plus, insomuch as there’s any subtext here, it’s “I’m incredibly lowbrow” or “I’m so green I didn’t think of and wasn’t prepped with an answer to this question” or, at worst, “The Mormon question isn’t enough; I want to be linked with an even iffier religious movement!” Plus, it’s not like the widely-held best SF novel of the last thirty years isn’t by a fellow Mormon!
(with link to Ender's Game)
quote:
Romney later clarified that his favorite book was the Bible. Yawn. That’s almost no better. I guess reporters should always preface this question with “Other than lame cop-out answers…”
quote:
Bill Clinton used to say One Hundred Years of Solitude was his favorite novel, and you’ve got to admire The Master–that’s a pretty damn savvy answer. It’s a fun book, with broad comedy and even genre (fantasy) elements. But it’s also epic and serious, with an unimpeachable scholarly reputation. It’s foreign (you’re losing me…) but it’s in Spanish (ah, Latin vote!–nicely played). It’s Oprah-ready (and was even a Book Club selection post-Bubba).

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Scott R
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quote:
Does this bother anyone here?
Uh...of all the things that disturb me about Romney, from his hair-do to his fiscal policies, his favorite novel isn't even within the boundaries of my worry.

Should it be?

quote:
I've never read Battlefield Earth; I've never wanted to read Battlefield Earth. From what I know of it, I can't imagine anyone labeling it their favorite Sci-Fi novel, let alone their favorite novel of all.
I think that the first sentence and a half kind of weakens any argument you'd care to make.
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Blayne Bradley
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I also liked Battlefield Earth, its generic non-franchised science fiction, and trust me dont dis or say your disturbed by it if you have never even read it, that is just plain rude. The only scientology reference in the entire book is an oblique reference to the cruelty of Psyclo psyciatrists thats about it and only one reference at that.

The book makes considerably more sense then the movie, I consider it well written and an enjoyable read, its on of those the Human race gets nearly obliterated books but is saved by the ingenuity and perservience of the survivors.

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Occasional
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Yea, you have to wonder when even your "constituency" questions your sanity by picking such a choice. Frankly, I don't care that much. At the least, I think it is probably a more honest answer - although I still don't get it.

Good point Scott R. Some people seemed to have liked it (enjoyable, but hardly fave) or hated it.

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Nighthawk
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He must have seen the movie. The movie has a profound effect on lots of people.

I never said it would be a good effect...

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Blayne Bradley
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the movie was also enjoyable as unlike some people I can switch my disbelief on and off at will, so what if Harriers wouldn't work after 1000 years in a sealed bunker its STILL COOL MAN!
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Yea, you have to wonder when even your "constituency" questions your sanity by picking such a choice.
How did the people in Massachusetts question his sanity?
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Kent
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I loved the book when I was in Junior High, and I think I actually cried when I was half way through because I knew it would be over soon (even though it was over 1000 pages long). So, now that 16 years have passed I think I will read it again. Thanks for the reminder.
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Occasional
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m-p-h, I mean those who support him in his presidential run, not as former Gov.
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The Pixiest
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I really enjoyed Battlefield Earth as well and have read it more than once.

It has some neat concepts in it.

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Eaquae Legit
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Why should it bother me? The man's entitled to have a favourite book in the fluffy fantasy genre. Sure, it's written by the same guy who wrote Dianetics, but Battlefield Earth is just a story. It's not a belief system or a religion or anything more than a bunch of aliens and earthlings duking it out.
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katharina
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My guess is that he read it as a teenager and so it is his emotional choice. It's a good thing I am not running for office because I imagine that "Gone with the Wind" would not be a political answer. My real favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, but Scarlett O'Hara with all her strengths and fobiles is knit into my soul.
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Scott R
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He SHOULD have answered, "The Book of Mormon."

Political panderer...

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
m-p-h, I mean those who support him in his presidential run, not as former Gov.
OK, but that still doesn't answer my question. Where have the supporters for his presidential run questioned his sanity? I just don't know what you're referring to.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
So evidentlly, Mitt Romney's favorite novel or favorite Sci-Fi novel (depending on which day you ask him) is Battlefield Earth.

Does this bother anyone here? I've never read Battlefield Earth; I've never wanted to read Battlefield Earth. From what I know of it, I can't imagine anyone labeling it their favorite Sci-Fi novel, let alone their favorite novel of all. And Romney seems so normal, or at least, not the type for this sort of weirdness.

*disturbed*

It's definitely not my favorite, but it's probably in my 50 top books. Maybe 100. I have a lot of favorites.

I thought it was really enjoyable. I've probably read it half a dozen times. Hell, I even read Battlefield Earth, though only once -- it took so bloody long.

I saw a few minutes of the movie, and almost lost my lunch. It's the kind of book that could only be done well as a movie in CGI. But it was a fun book. If you've never read it, I think you're missing out.

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Scott R
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quote:
Hell, I even read Battlefield Earth, though only once -- it took so bloody long.
You mean Mission Earth?

I loathe that series. Bleh. The entire thing felt like the author was jumping up and down shouting: "Look at me! I'm CLEVER! AND FUNNY!"

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Blayne Bradley
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*blink* type there Lisa? did you mean mission Earth?
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Blayne Bradley
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Imho the Voltar Confederacy should crash and burn.
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Tarrsk
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Battlefield Earth, the book, is nearly as bad as Battlefield Earth, the movie. Yechh.
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Occasional
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"Where have the supporters for his presidential run questioned his sanity?" In some blogs where it has been discussed. Maybe if I had more time than simply to type words I will make some links.
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Seatarsprayan
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Never read the book, but I love the movie. Very good comedy.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Hell, I even read Battlefield Earth, though only once -- it took so bloody long.
You mean Mission Earth?
That's the one.

quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I loathe that series. Bleh. The entire thing felt like the author was jumping up and down shouting: "Look at me! I'm CLEVER! AND FUNNY!"

<shrug> I read it after a bout of reading Xanth books (before I finally couldn't stand it anymore). Relative to Piers Anthony's smarmy self-absorbed witless humor, Mission Earth sparkled.

But I didn't think I'd ever be willing to read it again, so I took it down to a used bookstore and dumped it.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
*blink* type there Lisa? did you mean mission Earth?

I forget whose law that is. The one about making a grammatical error in a post pointing out a grammatical error, or a spelling error in a post pointing out a spelling error. But I suspect you meant "typo", Blayne.
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Jon Boy
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It has a lot of different names.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartman%27s_law

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SenojRetep
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An apology to those who liked Battlefield Earth, and also a hat tip that it's disingenuous to criticize that with which one has little or no first had experience. My impression, both from the movie previews and from the few exerpts I read, as well as what (probably biased) information I have a Hubbard's literary aspirations, I assumed it wasn't worth the voluminous paper it was printed on.

And perhaps there's something to what kat says. They didn't ask "What's the best novel you've ever read?" Your favorite novel is quite a different story, I suppose. Anyway, my point is just that it struck me as a very non-Romney answer.

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Nighthawk
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Would him answering The Hitchiker's Guide To the Galaxy or books like Stranger In a Strange Land be politically beneficial or detrimental?
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quidscribis
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I enjoyed Battlefield Earth the book and the movie. The book was well written, engaging, interesting, entertaining. The movie, not as much so, but was still reasonably good and fun to watch. I wouldn't put them in my top ten, but wouldn't mind reading the book or watching the movie again.

It's fiction. What's the big deal?

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Tarrsk
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Wow. The four adjectives you used to describe the book are the exact antonyms of the words I would've used.

It's fiction, but it's crappy fiction.

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Morbo
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Somewhere in the bosky depths of that 1000 page tome is a decent 250 page sci-fi novel trying to claw it's way out. It's very dull, it drags horribly.

It shows odd judgement that Romney would pick it as his favorite novel. And that's being charitable.

edit:For honesty's sake, I think someone at Hatrack, (perhaps Tom Davidson) had a similar critique of BE as mine above. Which I read and agreed with.

[ May 05, 2007, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: Morbo ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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I read the first half of it (before I lost the book), but it seemed OK to me.
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msquared
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I have to go with Morbo on this one. There was a decent, interesting 250 page story buried under 750 pages of crap. He needed an editor with a large red pen to cut out whole chapters of stuff.

His "Decology" is the same way.

Also, do you notice that his paranoid characters are the most interesting? Isn't it said that you should write what you know? Well I figured out what Hubbard knew, and that was being nuts.

msquared

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Dan_raven
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Instead of just taking a poll of Like or Dislike, I'll try something Novel--pardon the pun.

Ok, don't pardon the pun. One should never pardon a pun. It should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but I digress.

I'll tell you why I didn't like it.

The main character, who's name I forget, was an illiterate, savagely grown, undernourished, man living close to a large radioactive source that mutated many of his tribe. With only a little help from a library program (the idea of which was stolen by "the Matrix") he becomes an expert tactician, pilot, linguist, fighter, historian, politician, and more.

He becomes Superman without the allergy to Kryptonite.

They bad guys are called Psychlos for two reasons. One, because they were just normal everyday aliens until evil hypnotic psychologists turned took away their conciences, and two, because once you invade and wipe out a minor slave planet, why yes, you pick a name as close as possible to their term for psychos.

It is a very plot heavy story, lots of action, political theory and religious suggestions abound, but character development is flat and the writing just isn't that good.

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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
Does this bother anyone here?

If taste in reading material was what it took to disturb an alienate me, I'd have to dump half of my friends!

They're a bunch of Dan Brown readin' weirdos... [Wink]

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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I read the first half of it (before I lost the book), but it seemed OK to me.

How do you lose a book the size of a steamer trunk?
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Occasional
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I am not sure what he is trying to say in this interview. Makes me wonder what the original question he answered was.

quote:
HH: Now we’re wrapping up, Governor. If someone has asked me my favorite novel, I would have said Lord of the Rings, and Eisenhower was a Zane Grey westerns addict. But I’ve got to tell you, science fiction?


MR: (laughing) Well, you know, that’s really not my favorite novel. Probably my favorite is Huckleberry Finn and I’ve read all of Louis L’Amour’s books, I think. I may have missed one of two, but all of his westerns. You know, I have a guilty pleasure in some science fiction. A couple of my other favorite science fiction, Ann McCaffrey’s Dragon Flight, and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. There’s some great science fiction out there.

Notice, however, that the interviewer didn't question why the particular book, but science fiction in general. And what was up with "2001: A Space Odyssey" as a bad pick as favorite movie? It isn't my favorite, but it definantly is in the top five for me.

I support Romney as my Presidental choice. That said, even this looks like to me backpeddling and PR cleanup. Or maybe its that I am upset that once again Science Fiction is seen as a "guilty pleasure" and unworthy of respect.

[ May 05, 2007, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: Occasional ]

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Lavalamp
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I bought a copy of Battlefield Earth in paperback for a buck at a drug store. I read it and my only truly negative comment at the end of it all was that it would've been great at about 1/2 the length.

As it was, the book was, IMO, merely okay. It has some nice elements in it, to be sure, but it suffers from some fairly typical early genre flaws (chauvinism chief among them). Unlike some other authors with that particular flaw, Hubbard was never really good enough to rise above it. (For an author capable of making a better show of that sort of thing, try some early Philip Jose Farmer.)


Anyway, Hubbard's writing is ponderously slow in parts, for no other reason, I suspect, than that he didn't have an editor.

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katharina
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I think the shock over the choice is because science fiction - ANY science fiction - is seen as lame. There's an infuriating article in EW this week about how Michael Chabon is "slumming" in science fiction and he defends it. He will, of course, go back to "real" literature for his next book.

I'm only floored that people at Hatrack are taking part in this. Don't we all know that reading science fiction isn't something negative?

[ May 05, 2007, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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Morbo
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I'm happy that any candidate could be a science fiction fan. I'm just shocked that a valedictorian, summa cum laude English major would chose that science fiction novel as his favorite.
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Nighthawk
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quote:
And what was up with "2001: A Space Odyssey" as a bad pick as favorite movie?
Personally, I'm torn on whether it or Clockwork Orange is my favorite. 2001 is harder to watch in one sitting, though.
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Lavalamp
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katharina,

It's a little strange that someone who is a politician would endorse anything by L. Ron Hubbard. It's the sort of thing that's laden with all sorts of weird overtones for those in general public who might care about such things.

It's just one of those things that candidates say that end up losing them more votes than it gains them, and there's really no reason for them to say anything so silly.

Now, in his case, he has now "clarified" to say that his favorite book is the Bible...so, instead of defending his mildly controversial choice people who aren't for him will get to call him a flip-flopper. Which, of course, is an impression he's trying to live down already because of the abortion issue.

Oh well...I suspect this is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, and Romney's candidacy will end early for reasons other than anything this silly. But, it's worth noting that the silly questions are often the ones that candidates trip up on.

There are many ways to play this kind of question, and picking something mildly controversial could be a good strategy, but you have to follow through well. His handlers should've prepped him better, IMO. Or he should've prepped himself better.

"What's your favorite color?"

Red!
No, Blue!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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Blayne Bradley
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The only legitimate colour is Red. Its makes a nifty slogan. "Better Red then Dead".
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It's just one of those things that candidates say that end up losing them more votes than it gains them, and there's really no reason for them to say anything so silly.
Unless it really is his favorite novel.
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Lavalamp
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mph

If that were the case, one might expect him not to change his choice.

Even if we're giving points for honesty, I suspect Mr. Romney has lost those by changing his answer rather than explaining why he particularly likes the book he first mentioned. If, that is, that's how the sequence really went.

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Lavalamp
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At any rate I still suspect this will matter to very few people.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
The only legitimate colour is Red. Its makes a nifty slogan. "Better Red then Dead".

Enough with the Republican propaganda, Blayne!
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Lavalamp
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[Smile]
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Lavalamp
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I thought he was referring to Native Americans
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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by Lavalamp:
At any rate I still suspect this will matter to very few people.

It will matter to whoever the media decides should care.
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katharina
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I am puzzled that anyone thinks he is endorsing Hubbard's other writings by saying Battlefield Earth is his favorite novel.

Expecially Hatrackers. So, if someone likes Ender's Game, they are endorsing Card's political columns?

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