FINAL BLACKOUT – L. RON HUBBARD
Story and Plot:
Considering the fact the author wrote this before World War II suggests an uncanny attempt to ask what would happen if World War I never ended and just ground on for generations. It was an attempt to see what happens to men and women when the horrors of war become a way of life; the only way to live is through strategy rather than being out-gunned. It’s the smart soldier who lives rather than the brave one.
I really liked the characters in this tale. The Lieutenant (we never know his real name) leads a ragtag band of what’s left of regiments and battalions. It’s a mix of different races and countrymen whose real purpose is just survive. Loved the battle with the Russian commander who was outsmarted in a raid. The leaders meet and are quite mannerly and respectful.
Contrast that with the armchair admirals and colonels at GQ (General Headquarters ) in Paris where men are called back from the field to be locked up and stripped of command. These communists want nothing better than to retake Europe and spread their philosophy of death. The Lieutenant has other things to say about that.
My favorite was the sadist Markey, with his chain covered with spikes, trips up his enemy and laughs about it. It sounds gruesome but was quite hilarious.
The end of the tale takes place in England. Outnumbered and outgunned, their wit gets them through to the main Communist camp. I won’t spoil it for you, but learning of the Americans coming to colonize their land is a bit much.
Great ending, a heroic if sad one.
Final Blackout asks the question that has been asked for hundreds of years. War, what is it good for? We were still asking this in Vietnam, in Iraq and other lands. Final Blackout’s answer is a compelling one.