Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can you guess what book this is?

OK, here's a quick challenge for today. Pictured above is the illustration portion of a book's dust jacket that I came across recently.

Can you guess what book?

Can you even correctly guess what genre?

What if I told you it was non-fiction? (Sort of.)

Scroll down for the answer...

(keep going)

It's the dust jacket of the 1979 hardcover edition of "Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science" by L. Ron Hubbard. It is a book-length version of an article that Hubbard originally published in the May 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.

The book is considered to be one of the canonical texts of the religion (or, some would say, "religious movement") of Scientology.

And what does this illustration have to do with Scientology? It would likely have something to do with the concept of space opera in Scientology scripture. Hubbard stated, according to Wikipedia, that the modern-day science fiction genre of space opera is merely an unconscious recollection of real events that took place millions of years ago. Scientology's space opera includes a Galactic Confederacy, volcanoes, hydrogen bombs, disembodied souls, insect-like creatures and more. Perhaps the illustration has something to do with Hubbard's "Aircraft Door Goals".

Interestingly, my favorite working director, Paul Thomas Anderson, is beginning production this summer on a long-awaited new film that appears to have some parallels to Hubbard and Scientology. The website Deadline New York reported this on May 9:
The Weinstein Company has won a quiet but fevered bidding battle for worldwide distribution rights to the untitled next film by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film begins production June 13, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix so far set to star. Megan Ellison1 is financing. It is Anderson's first trip behind the camera since "There Will Be Blood". ... This is the project that Anderson has worked on for a long time, once under the title "The Master". He has greatly overhauled the script and now, Hoffman stars as a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls.
Adds Angela Hickman of the National Post: "Although the movie may not be explicitly about Scientology, it sounds like Hoffman’s character resembles L. Ron Hubbard closely enough for the film to make its point. That is, if it actually gets made at all."

For more information and background on Anderson's new movie, check out "The Master" subsection of Cigarettes and Red Vines (The Definitive Paul Thomas Anderson Resource) and the enthusiastic forum about the movie on

1. Megan Ellison is the daughter of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and has quickly become a champion financier of films by top independent directors.

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