"The one by L. Ron Hubbard...I'm not in favor of his religion by any means, but he wrote a book
called 'Battlefield Earth' that was a very fun science fiction book."
(May 1, 2007)
It's remarkable enough for a serious Presidential contender to name a book of genre fiction as his or her favorite novel. (The primary season reading list tends toward the classics and more serious contemporary literary fare.) But naming Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth" on Fox News raised a host of questions Romney could have avoided if he'd named something by Ray Bradbury. First of all, many Americans already view Romney's own faith as suspiciously cultlike in some respects so why draw personal attention to Hubbard's religion, Scientology, which has a more sinister reputation? Putting religion aside, "Battlefield Earth" is almost universally regarded as a terrible book, even by the standards of science fiction junkies. Turgid, repetitive and at times nonsensical, it became a bestseller largely through the efforts of Scientologists who bought bulk shipments. Romney managed to compound the error by later saying that the book wasn't even really his favorite, rather, that it was "one of" them and that he also enjoyed "Huck Finn." Yeah, I get those two confused all the time.
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