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L Ron Hubbard

Man with sword standing on a dead alien

Battlefield Earth Earth I: Insurrection

This image was a commission from Hubbard’s literary agents, Author Services Inc, for a promotional calendar and limited edition print for Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, his 1982 book. Alien villain, Terl the Psychlo, lies vanquished beneath the feet of muscular hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, one of the few survivors of the human race. His Raquel Welch-like girlfriend looks on.

In the 1930s and ‘40s the American Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) was a prolific author of ‘pulp’ and science fiction, although his output also included adventures, westerns and romance. Some of his stories appeared in the influential Astounding Science Fiction magazine, in which he first introduced his theory concerning the mind, ‘Dianetics’, in 1950. Hubbard went on to found the Church of Scientology.

Kirby was an admirer of Hubbard’s science fiction writing for its pace and abundant use of cliffhangers. He made several portraits of Hubbard and created a number of his book covers for Panther, DAW and ACE publishers, the former as early as 1957 – amongst the first science fiction covers in Kirby’s career.

Hubbard’s bestselling 1982 science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth - which marked his return to fiction in the 1980s and was released as a film in 2000 - inspired paintings by a number of well known fantasy artists, Kirby amongst them.

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