A novel of compelling suspense.
Professor James Lowry didn’t believe in spirits, or witches, or demons.
Not until a gentle spring evening when his hat disappeared, and suddenly he couldn’t remember the last four hours of his life. Now, the quiet university town of Atworthy is changing—slightly at first, then faster and more frighteningly each time he tries to remember.
Lowry is pursued by a dark, secret evil that is turning his whole world against him while it whispers a warning from the shadows: If you find your hat you’ll find your four hours. If you find your four hours then you will die.…
“L. Ron Hubbard’s Fear, which impressed me very much, and still does: Without Fear I would never have come up with what I do.” —Philip K. Dick
Backstory to Fear
L. Ron Hubbard began work on Fear in January 1940. His customary practice was to visualize a story completely and then to sit down and write it, straight through, with whirlwind speed. But by his own account, Fear came more slowly. “I finally got the plot of it licked,” he wrote to a friend, describing his realized conception of the main character who unexpectedly loses hours from his life.
“He strives to locate his deeds while missing everywhere but in the right place, for he fears to look there,” the author explained. As for style, Ron Hubbard added: “And I think a nice, delicate style is best suited. Paint everything in sweetness and light and then begin to dampen it, not with the style, but with the events themselves.”
In the preceding issue of Unknown, John Campbell had warned his readers not to miss Hubbard’s story. “Fear,” he said, “has been built of nightmare stuff.”
It was. It is. And its impact was immediate, genre-shaping and permanent. Literary historian David Hartwell has applauded it as “one of the foundations of the contemporary horror genre, widely influential, and powerfully effective. From Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, a literary debt is owed to L. Ron Hubbard for Fear.”
A land ravaged by war without end.
Cities gutted by weapons of mass destruction.
Countries laid waste by biological warfare.
Governments ruined by greed, violence, and corruption.
This is a world in the throes of economic decay and at the mercy of terrorists.
This is Asia. This is Europe. This is America. This is Final Blackout.
Across this devastated, post-apocalyptic landscape marches one extraordinary soldier and his band of brothers. He is the Lieutenant, a hardened military strategist and a charismatic leader of men. The narrow-minded high command may have relieved the Lieutenant of duty, but not of his honor—and his crack unit of warriors remains fiercely loyal to him.
Now, in a time of deception, desperation, and betrayal, they are headed into the ultimate battle against the ultimate enemy—their own treacherous leaders. But for the Lieutenant, a hero at the crossroads of history, it is time to do what is best for his country and for his men—to undertake one last act of courage and sacrifice … the Final Blackout.
“A landmark classic! It has been remembered through the decades as one of the all-time memorable classics of the science fiction field.” —Robert Bloch
Backstory to Final Blackout
In Final Blackout, first published in 1940, L. Ron Hubbard gave us a larger-than-life, combat-wise, principled protagonist. Known only as “the Lieutenant,” his deep moral concern for his brigade of irregulars—“The Unkillables” (Mr. Hubbard’s work-in-progress title for Final Blackout)—became the measure of the quintessential leader. In the end, it is up to this band of survivors, led by a man whose very anonymity symbolizes a transcending clarity of purpose and the conviction that the individual can make a difference, to salvage what they can of their lives and their civilization.
Later, in 1948, after Ron Hubbard return from four years of active duty in World War II as a US naval officer in the Pacific theater, he wrote a preface and a new dedication to the book—“To the men and officers with whom I served in World War II, first phase, 1941-1945.”
Consistently ranked as one of the ten greatest novels of “The Golden Age of Science Fiction” and arguably L. Ron Hubbard’s most famous and most controversially apocalyptic science fiction novel before Battlefield Earth, it is also widely seen by contemporary critics as his defining classic of “survivalist” fiction.
TYPEWRITER IN THE SKY
It’s not easy living in someone else’s world, trapped in a reality over which you have no control. But that is the story of Mike de Wolf’s life … literally.
The whole thing started at his friend Horace’s Greenwich Village apartment. Horace is a writer and he’s decided to model one of his villains after Mike. Sounds crazy … until Mike reaches to turn on a light and gets the shock of his life.
Knocked unconscious, Mike wakes up to find himself tossing in a violent ocean surf and getting slammed against the rocks. That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the bullets flying over his head, followed by the swordfight, certain to end in death … if not for the wild, beautiful woman on horseback who comes to his rescue.
This isn’t the West Village anymore. Apparently it’s the West Indies, some three hundred years ago, and Mike de Wolf is now Miguel Saint Raoul de Lobo, pursued across the Spanish Main by pirates, Englishman, and worse.
He doesn’t know how he got here or why, but he does know he has to get out fast. Two problems: first off, the bad guys in Horace’s stories never get out alive, and second, Mike’s not all that sure he wants to leave after all. Seems he’s fallen for that wild woman on horseback… What’s a guy to do?
The answer’s written in the sky—in a wildly original, wickedly amusing novel in which, if you’re not careful, you might just find yourself getting lost.
“An adventure story written in the great style adventures should be written in.” —Clive Cussler
Backstory to Typewriter in the Sky
Typewriter in the Sky, the third in the trio of landmarks of speculative fiction publishing by Mr. Hubbard in 1940, appeared in the November and December issues of Unknown.
A richly original story-within-a-story—the tale of an author and the main character in a novel he’s writing locked in a frantic, funny do-or-die battle of wits and wills.
L. Ron Hubbard took gleefully inventive liberties with the historical details of the Spanish Main. Indeed, at the time, there was a widely shared view that the novel was a masterly parody of Sabatini’s Sea Hawk and Captain Blood pirate extravaganzas. And it is also true that Hubbard certainly knew the Caribbean intimately, both from extensive research and firsthand from his motion-picture and mineralogical journeys of the early 1930s.