NRA: Returning the rental car

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 17-18

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have set out to destroy America.

They’ve obliterated New York City and Washington, D.C., with perhaps-nuclear bombs and followed that initial attack with perhaps-nuclear missile strikes at airports in Chicago and Dallas.

And this is just the beginning of the horrors the authors have planned for America. It’s going to get much, much worse as this series of books goes on. The authors will destroy ever more of America with earthquakes, flaming hail, scorching sun, toxic water and a host of other calamities.

That’s their plan. LaHaye and Jenkins are plotting the destruction of America.

That’s a bit unnerving, but not terribly unusual. Hollywood plots to destroy Manhattan several times every summer. Blockbuster moviemakers like Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer and Roland Emmerich have made huge fortunes by repeatedly plotting the destruction of New York, America, or even the entire world.

What separates LaHaye and Jenkins is their contention that their plot to destroy America is not fiction. The Left Behind series, its authors insist, portrays events that will really happen, soon, to America and to the world. They say that their story is more than just a story. It is, they say, “prophecy” — a foretelling of the future.

The future may not all unfold precisely as they depict it, in every particular detail, but something very much like the story in these books, L&J say, will certainly and inevitably happen. That is the central contention of this series. It is, the authors say, the main reason they wrote these books.

That distinguishes the Left Behind series from all those other stories that plotted out the destruction of America and of the world. The storytellers who gave us Independence Day, Armageddon and Deep Impact weren’t claiming that their stories foretold anything certain to happen in the future. They set out to destroy America because doing so raised the stakes in their stories. They put the fate of the entire country in jeopardy so that they could show heroes heroically saving the day (or, at least, President Morgan Freeman inspiring us to find the strength to survive).

But it’s also more than that. LaHaye and Jenkins aren’t just saying that America will be destroyed. They’re also saying that America should be destroyed.

L&J’s story won’t allow for Will Smith or Bruce Willis to save the day. It says, rather, that the destruction of the world is inevitable and right and just and good. Any so-called heroes opposing that destruction are on the wrong side of the struggle. This is what will happen, so no one can stop it. And this is what should happen, so no one should stop it. The heroes can’t save the day. This story allows for only one Savior, and he shows up at the end not to save the day but to deliver the final, graceless coup de grâce.

That makes this a very odd story.

And this section of this very odd story is particularly odd for American readers. The authors are plotting to destroy America. I’m rather fond of America. I grew up there. That’s where I keep all my stuff. My kids were going to live there after college. Some of my best friends are Americans.

So it’s difficult for me to get into the spirit of these opening chapters of Nicolae. The authors are destroying America city by city and airport by airport. And they’re celebrating its destruction as the long-awaited fulfillment of a righteous prophecy.

I just find it horrifying.

Fortunately, the horror of LaHaye’s vision for America is undercut by the unintentional hilarity of Jenkins’ attempt to portray it. Seeing these great cities destroyed at the hands of Jerry Jenkins is about as horrifying as watching a man in an ill-fitting rubber suit stomping on a bunch of shoddy miniatures meant to represent Tokyo.

And but so, America is under attack as it must and should be, and so our dashing young hero Buck Williams mustn’t waste his time trying to defend it or to prevent its destruction.

Still, though, he has to be doing something. And since he’s meant to be a heroic-seeming guy, he needs to be doing something that seems heroic, bold and decisive, even if it’s also irrelevant and ineffectual. Thus as World War III begins and bombs fall on Chicago, Jenkins has brave young Buck Williams dashing to decisively purchase a luxury SUV.

The final two pages of the first chapter thus continue what has been a major theme so far in Nicolae: Things Insecure American Men Regard as Signifiers of Masculinity. You’ll recall that we’ve already covered several of these, including:

1. Driving cars with powerful engines,
2. Belittling subordinates (or those one perceives as subordinates — meaning pretty much everybody one meets),
3. Knowing the best shortcuts so you don’t get stuck in traffic like those other losers,
4. Demonstrating one’s superior cleverness by driving in the douchebag lane.

These have all been portrayed as important indicators of essential manly competence. Each has been depicted as a proper and laudable source of masculine pride. Each is meant as a powerful signal to the world that our manly heroes can still toss the old football through the tire swing.

Next up on our list of requisite manly attributes: Taking pride in one’s ability to negotiate with a car salesman.

Jenkins takes time and great pains to show us that Buck is good at this, because he sees it as being very important and because he assumes that readers will understand it as being very important.

Buck drives a hard bargain, and we’re clearly meant to interpret this as a sign that Buck is, therefore, a Real Man. Jenkins doesn’t use that actual phrase — “drives a hard bargain” — but his emphasis here on hard-driving and driving hardness penetrates this entire passage.

Buck sat in the sales manager’s office of a Land Rover dealership. “You never cease to amaze me,” Chloe whispered.

“I’ve never been conventional, have I?”

“Hardly, and now I suppose any hope of normalcy is out the window.”

“I don’t need any excuse for being unique,” he said.

That’s our Buck — he’s amazing, unconventional and unique. And certainly not just a pathetic surrogate for an author desperately wanting to be thought of by others as amazing, unconventional and unique.

The usual business of the Land Rover dealership continues, unperturbed by the long line of cars in the traffic jam out front, or by the mushroom cloud over the nearby airport that this long line of cars is attempting to flee.

The sales manager, who had busied himself with paperwork and figuring a price, turned the documents and slid them across the desk toward Buck. “You’re not trading the Lincoln, then?”

“No, that’s a rental,” Buck said. “But I am going to ask you to return that to O’Hare for me.” Buck looked up at the man without regard to the documents.

“That’s highly unusual,” the sales manager said. “I’d have to send two of my people and an extra vehicle so they could get back.”

Oh, and also they’ll need radiation suits, because returning a rental car to O’Hare might be a bit difficult just now.

This conversation is occurring on page 18. Here, again, is the pertinent passage from page 10:

Suddenly an explosion rocked their car and nearly lifted it off its tires. … Buck scanned the horizon for what might have caused the concussion. … In the rearview mirror Buck saw a mushroom cloud slowly rise and assumed it was in the neighborhood of O’Hare International Airport, several miles away.

“Continuity error” seems like too slight a term for this. That phrase is sometimes used for things like a bandage one character is wearing in one scene of a movie but not in the next. This is a bit bigger than that. Jenkins drops a perhaps-nuclear bomb on the airport — a bomb so huge it’s concussion rocks cars several miles away. And then eight pages later he gives us a lengthy discussion on the logistics of returning a rental car to that same airport.

That’s not just a continuity error. Jenkins just did to continuity what that bomb did to O’Hare.

But none of that mushroom-cloud, destruction-of-America business interests Jenkins. His focus is on showing us our hero in action, proving his manliness and driving his rock-hard bargain:

Buck stood. “I suppose I am asking too much. Another dealer will be willing to go the extra mile to sell me a vehicle, I’m sure, especially when no one knows what tomorrow will bring.”

“Sit back down, Mr. Williams. I won’t have any trouble getting my district manager to sign off on throwing in that little errand for you.”

Well, he might have trouble doing that, since a perhaps-nuclear bomb might cause some difficulty with the phone lines, and since his district manager’s office might be a smoldering pile of rubble what with World War III raging outside.

(Or — if we play along with the continuity demolition and ignore the war — it might also be that this car dealer doesn’t really need any such permission. It might just be that he’s a veteran salesman and that he’s learned to sniff out the kind of guy who invests his masculine self-worth in his perception of himself as a tough negotiator. The car dealer long ago figured out that the best way to fleece one of these rubes was to puff up their ego, to let them think they’re a manly man who’s getting a special manly man’s deal. “I’m just an underling,” he tells them, “not a proud, independent man like yourself, so I have to get permission to do anything.” They fall for that every time.)

“You’re going to be able to drive your fully loaded Range Rover out of here within an hour for under six figures.”

“Make it half an hour,” Buck said, “and we’ve got a deal.”

The sales manager rose and thrust out his hand.

“Deal.”

Yeah, Buck really rose to the occasion, drove a hard bargain, and cut that guy down to size. What an amazing, unconventional and unique negotiator he is.

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  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    The characters from, “A Strong Delusion,” make their triumphant return:

    David and Ana are in an auto dealership.

    “I don’t understand,” David said.

    Ana replied, “I wish you would’t try.”  There was a bit of a pause, then, “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you ignorant or anything.  It’s just that some things don’t make sense.”

    “Yeah… but there’s a mushroom cloud over the city.”

    “They can’t see it.”

    “And the shock-wave that rocked the building?”

    “Didn’t feel it.  The delusion is strong.  It has to be.  If people realized that 18 months ago every child was kidnapped, this world would have torn itself apart.  If they’d noticed while my boss took the reigns of every country-

    “Almost,” David corrected.

    “I don’t see what God wants with Israel, he clearly doesn’t give a damn about the people there.  His prophets are torching them, so why protect it?”
    “You’re asking me?” David asked.  “I’m human.”

    “Well the point is that it’s hard to control a war torn world full of grieving parents.  Can you imagine how much harder it would have been to conquer the world from horseback if people knew what was going on?”

    “”I’m sure Lucifer would have found a way.  But this…” David gestured to the dealership, “This goes way beyond a change in leadership.  These people are sleeping through World War III.”

    “I prefer to think of it as the second Rebellion,” Ana said.  “Some demons felt they could break free of Lucifer and live as happy rulers of the earth.  They’ll be put down soon.”

    There was a pause.

    “Probably more quickly that God put down the first rebellion,” Ana added.

    “Leaving us in Nuclear winter.”

    “I doubt it.  No one wants to rule a wasteland.  That’s part of why there’ll be no radiation.”

    “How will they pull off that?”

    “It’s called ‘magic’ for a reason.”

    David gestured at the people in the dealership, “And none of them will notic- Wait!  Did he just negotiate the return of his rental to O’Hare?”

    “Sure.  Why wouldn’t he?  It’s a lot easier than-”

    David pointed at the mushroom cloud out the window, “That O’Hare?”

    “David, they can’t see it.  It’s just business as usual for them.  I’ll be easy enough to get them thinking they dropped the car off with no ill effects.  Soon this war will be over and with the exception of a few million dead here and there, there’s not going to be much in the way of changes.

    “It’s just…”

    “It’s just been a while is all.  It’s been a while since the last time the whole world overlooked something right in front of you.  It’s been eighteen months and it’ll take some time to get used to it.”

    “Ok.  Whatever.  About the first Rebellion…”

    “Yeah?”

    “Your side had their asses kicked.”

    “So I’ve heard.”

    “What makes them think they can win this time?”

  • cyllan

    So, I was curious. 

    Buck gets a super-awesome deal. He gets to walk out of the Range Rover dealership with a ” fully loaded Range Rover … for under six figures.”  Buck thinks this is a monument to his elite bargaining skills.

    Let’s look at some numbers. 

    Right now, if I go to the Range Rover site and I get the single most tricked-out, super-expensive RR that I can get, it is priced at  $142,650.  A quick google search tells me that this particular line of cars wasn’t introduced until after 2010.  Further googling tells me that Book 3 was published in 2002 — right around the time that Range Rover introduced the 3rd generation line of it’s car which was the first to be a fully upscale vehicle.  While the second gen was clearly upscale, it wasn’t a “top $100K” sort of upscale unless you were looking at the ones that were produced only in lots of, say, 100 vehicles.  These, I’m pretty sure, never sat in a dealership to be purchased.  So, we should probably be looking at the top-of-the-line but still-standard Range Rover.

    In 2012, one of these can be yours for just over $106,000 by dealer pricing.  In 2002 dollars, that’s $82,978 — clearly under six figure.

    If you go with the super-high-end model that you can find right now, it’s $114,000 in 2002 dollars.  Knocking $15K off the price is good, but it’s not bargaining jujitsu worthy of adulation. (Except, of course, I suspect that if you’re buying the super high-end-omg-sqee Range Rover, you’re expected to just pay the nice people what they’re asking. I don’t know; I’m not in that particular market.)

    (Incidentally, a near-mint condition 2002 Range Rover with reasonable mileage can be yours for well under 5 figures.)

  • stinger

    Lliira, I’m so very sorry for your mother’s loss. Glad that she, her husband, and their pets are okay.

  • stinger

    I didn’t think I could love the LB series more, and then Fred referenced my favorite actor. President Morgan Freeman… if only.

    Has anyone else here read The Girl Who Played with Fire? (Sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) I’m mid-way through, and am constantly reminded of Buck/Jerry. The male lead is not only the GIRAT, but also the world’s greatest lover. Really — just ask him. Tireless, able to please any and all women, and none of them mind how many other women he has as long as they get an evening with him now and then. And of course, we get none of this from the POV of any woman, just from the GIRAT/WGL’s POV. Whatta Mary Sue. 

  • Dan Audy

    Has anyone else here read The Girl Who Played with Fire? (Sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) I’m mid-way through, and am constantly reminded of Buck/Jerry. The male lead is not only the GIRAT, but also the world’s greatest lover. Really — just ask him. Tireless, able to please any and all women, and none of them mind how many other women he has as long as they get an evening with him now and then. And of course, we get none of this from the POV of any woman, just from the GIRAT/WGL’s POV. Whatta Mary Sue.

    I don’t think that Mikael is a Mary Sue at all.  He is deeply flawed and makes stupid mistakes too often to be a perfected author stand-in.  Also while the descriptions of his sexual prowess are rather silly the fact that neither of the (two) women he is sleeping with object is because one is an open relationship and the other is deeply traumatized regarding sex and implied to have some social impairing mental illness.  That aside he does have a passing resemblance to GIRAT in that everyone seems to know (not just by name) who random magazine editor is.

  • Tonio

    While I wouldn’t classify Mikael as a Mary Sue, I do think he’s an author stand-in, which is not the same thing. Mary Sues are typically idealized, in a way that shows the author’s lack of self-awareness.

  • Tybult

    I love that the car dealer is (by seemingly unanimous consent) our new favorite character:

    Michaelsen looked out the front window of the dealership, at the mushroom cloud rising over the airport. “Johnson!” he called. “Get my good liquor! It’s in my bottom left hand drawer!” He pulled a cigar out of his coat, bit the end off, and lit it.

    Johnson came trotting up, holding a bottle of high grade Scotch. Michaelsen took it from him and pulled the cork out, saying, “Look out there, Johnson, you know what that is?” He threw the cork over his shoulder and took a swig. “That’s the End of Days right there, and a fine one at that.” He passed the bottle off to Johnson.

    A battered Lincoln SUV came roaring onto the lot and skidded to a halt in front of the door. A blond man in a leather bomber coat and denim shirt got out and walked around to open the door for his wife.
    “Well I’ll be God damned, what do we have here? Johnson!”
    Johnson yelped and nearly dropped the bottle. 
    “Go hide that!” Michaelsen pointed at his office, and Johnson ran off. 

    The blond man walked into the dealership and went directly up to Michaelsen. “I need a fully loaded Range Rover,” he said. “Today.”

    Michaelsen rolled his cigar between his fingertips and considered the man. “You’re serious.”

    “I’m able to pay in cash.”

    The dealer grunted and puffed on the cigar. The blond man grimaced at the smoke.
    “Well, why didn’t you say so?” Michaelsen said.
    ———————-

    Michaelsen walked back to the desk sometime later, carrying a stack of papers pulled at random out of file cabinets. Williams had so far displayed no signs of dropping the facade, if it truly was a facade, and Michaelsen was curious to see how he handled the finer details.

    As he sat down, the couple stopped whispering, and Williams turned to Michaelsen. “I also need you to take the Lincoln back to O’Hare, it’s a rental.”
    Michaelsen looked out the window, at the mushroom cloud still wavering over downtown. Police cars raced down the street outside, sirens off.
    He looked at the wife, who shrugged and mouthed “I don’t know.
    “Sure,” Michaelsen said, sliding the papers over. “We can handle that.”

    Williams ignored them and leaned forward. “Tell it to me straight. How much is this going to cost me?”
    “One trillion dollars.”
    Williams blanched. “That’s outrageous!” 
    Michaelsen shrugged, as if to say, “What can you do?
    “Drop it down to six figures or I’m walking to the next dealer over!”
    Michaelsen pursed his lips. “You’re quite the bargainer. Nine hundred and fifty thousand, tax included.”
    “Done!” Williams cried. The wife rolled her eyes and sighed.
    ————————–

    Michaelsen watched the couple drive off, hopping a curb and swiping an ambulance as they went.
    Johnson brought the bottle back. “So we’re rich?” he asked.
    Michaelsen pulled out the check. “Probably not worth the paper it’s printed on, but hell, let’s go find out. Go load up one of the Range Rovers.” 
    Johnson began walking off. 
    “Oh, and set that piece of shit Lincoln on fire, will you? Damn thing’s an eyesore,” Michaelsen called.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Forgive me if this is already-trodden ground, as I have yet to catch up with the rapidly expanding comments that LB threads always generate, but I wanted to expound a little before the thoughts escaped my mind:

    L&J’s story won’t allow for Will Smith or Bruce Willis to save the day. It says, rather, that the destruction of the world is inevitable and right and just and good. Any so-called heroes opposing that destruction are on the wrong side of the struggle. This is what will happen, so no one can stop it. And this is what should happen, so no one should stop it. The heroes can’t save the day. This story allows for only one Savior, and he shows up at the end not to save the day but to deliver the final, graceless coup de grâce

    If the author really wanted to nail home a central theme of destiny being impossible to fight, then this kind of thing could work, but only if he gives us tragic heroes who actually try to save the world, but fail regardless, and do so spectacularly.  Heroes who go on to perform selfless acts of sacrifice to save people, only for their sacrifice to be rendered meaningless shortly after when some other calamity befalls those they gave so much to save.  That is how you nail home a theme of hopelessness in the face in inescapable pre-determination.  

    Of course, that would make our heroes look like unsympathetic cowards who sit on their  asses all day instead of taking action while other, more caring people are at least dying on their feet in an existential attempt at validating their own choices against the pointlessness of this literally damned life, and we cannot have that happening now, can we?  

    As for the car dealership, why the hell are they even still in operation?  “Hey, you, there is a nuclear war on and bombs fell not more than a few miles from here.  What the hell are you waiting for?  Drop all the car keys in a big bowl, get in your own vehicles, and get the hell out of there!”  For that matter, why is Buck even negotiating for this kind of thing?  Who do they expect to check his credit rating?  Most of the lines will be dead or occupied, assuming that there is even a credit agency left to check them.  Just demand the keys to one of the cars from the owner.  If they refuse in this kind of situation… well, they would be as callus and selfish as the Tribbles.  

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hell, a re-write of this can be sketched out fairly quickly. I realize I said Buck was driving a Navigator, but that was because of the impression Jenkins’s writing left me with rather than anything specific. So, assuming Bucky-boy is driving Rayford’s rented Lincoln Continental…

    —–

    Buck had lost count of the number of times he’d bottomed the car out barrelling over the dirty grass as he tried to keep it pointed in the general direction of the still-lit car dealership sign he could see just about a mile off.

    Chloe, hanging onto the seat and the dashboard for dear life, shouted, “Watch out! I nearly smashed my head against the roof on that last bump!”

    “Sorry!” said Buck breathlessly as he eased off on the gas just a little bit. As bad luck would have it, that was the instant the car plowed through a fairly deep mud puddle, adding the unpleasant feeling of hydroplaning to the teeth-rattling jounces and bounces; Buck just hoped they wouldn’t end up coming to a halt right there, as he saw the speedometer drop down from the 35 MPH he’d been doing previously.

    The Lincoln’s speed had only fallen to 25 MPH by the time they reached solid grass again, and Buck floored the gas pedal as they raced up the slope leading to the road, smashing through the cheap chain-link fence as though it were flypaper.

    The Dukes of Hazzard style leap he and Chloe took was short-lived, as the front end nearly crashed into the pavement, followed by the back end shortlt after. That last bounce, Buck knew, had done something to the steering rack. He managed to turn the wheels to guide the car into the parking lot for, as luck would have it, a Range Rover dealership.

    A grey-haired man was rushing around inside the otherwise vacant office/sales floor. He looked up as Buck and Chloe frantically banged the glass doors, and squinted at them. He cautiously unlocked and cracked the door an inch. “Whaddya want? We’re closed! I gotta get out of here, find my wife!”

    Chloe pleaded, “Sir! My husband and I, we need a truck! Any kind of truck, but we need one! My dad, he lives up in the hills and our car’s no good for off-roading to get to the only safe place we know!”

    Quietly, Buck added, “The world’s about to end, sir. Please, if we have any hope of surviving, we need a truck. I don’t know how or when we could pay you back, but we’d owe you a debt of gratitude.”

    The older man nodded slowly. “All right. All right, then. Don’t move from that spot.”

    He locked the front doors, ran to the sales counter and knelt down out of sight for a moment. When he re-appeared, he had a keychain in his hand. He opened the door, shoved the keychain at Buck, and barked, “That’s for a Range Rover. Fully loaded. Cell phone, CB radio, the works. Just hit the disarm button to flash the headlights. Go!”

    He brusquely waved off Buck’s and Chloe’s effusive thanks. “Just hurry! No telling how long we’ve got with that damn mushroom cloud!”

    Buck and Chloe, hands clasped as they raced to the far end of the parking lot, wasted no time scrambling into the large truck. Buck started it up, slammed the truck into Drive, and gunned the engine as he peeled out to find Rayford and Amanda.

    Perhaps, he thought, they should find a cabin in the woods for real.

    —–

    Probably a bit hokey, but at least it doesn’t have Buck trying to make it like a normal transaction.

  • Derek L

    To rock a car on it’s wheels ‘several miles away’ wouldn’t take a particularly large weapon (at least as far nuclear weapons goes), maybe  30-40 kilotons.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Being deeply flawed and making stupid mistakes are perfectly compatible with being a certain type of Mary Sue. Some people think that a Mary Sue is someone who is super competent, and therefore someone who is incompetent can’t possibly be a Mary Sue. Not so. In fact, I find incompetent Mary Sues to be by far the most annoying, because there’s no reason anyone would actually like this person, or that they’d succeed, and yet the world bends around them anyway.

    However, I don’t believe in canon Sues, so this particular example is kind of a non-issue to me.

  • GeniusLemur

     As I’ve said before, my working definition of Mary Sue is “the entire universe, including the author, is united in the goal of kissing the character’s ass.” It doesn’t matter how unskilled or incompetent the character might be.

  • JonathanPelikan

    This reminds me of something I reblogged a month or two ago that perfectly sums up my feelings on the very concept of the ‘Mary Sue’.

    http://hunterblackluna.tumblr.com/post/20670217038 

    It’s not one solid image, it’s several put next to each other, and if the text is too small, you can click to get it enlarged/centered.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    TvTropes has a good page on Mary Sues, and since a Mary Sue is more of a label applied by detractors of a work, it tends to vary from person to person depending on how it smells to them.  The page concedes this, and offers a variety of elements which might go into forming the odor of a Mary Sue.

  • Paulbarbee

    I remember 9/11. I seriously doubt if many cars were sold in rural Louisiana, where I live. In New York? The idea is ridiculous.  These authors clearly overlook the fact that people would act like people; terrified, many vicious, and all of them just trying to survive. The car salespeople   would NOT care about selling cars. They would either have left long before the bomb fell on O’Hare since bombs had fallen on other major cities, or they would be protecting their stock of cars with their life.  If they don’t know whether they’ll be alive tomorrow money tends to be quite worthless. Cars are either worthless, especially with clogged highways, or worth only physical, probably very durable, goods.

  • Monala

     You reminded me… my sister lives in lower Manhattan, and watched the towers go down on 9/11 from her apartment window. She told me stories of the aftermath… of streets that were completely silent, except for the sounds of helicopters overhead… of people wandering aimlessly on the sidewalks, weeping… of walking (because that was the only way she could travel) to Brooklyn to  buy groceries, because the store shelves in Manhattan were empty… of being stopped and searched at checkpoints by polite and apologetic National Guardsmen. And 9/11 was far less destructive that what L&J purport to describe.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RHLJILNCJRFGBX3RXSRO3QDSZY Steven

    What I can’t stop thinking about here is the choice of  a Range Rover in the first place. Yeah it’s big and strong and manly and all that, but where are you going to get the gas? The system that brings gas goes from the oil wells around the world through refineries and tank trucks or pipelines to the gas station. It’s a very complex system and it would be quick to break down in the case of global disaster. People would be flocking to the gas stations and empty those pretty quickly and  with the roads clogged no more gas would be delivered. Also they better hope that Houston stays intact and functioning as a city cause without that city very little oil gets refined in North America.

    A more practical solution would be a horse. Imagine Buck and Ray, with chaps and cowboy hats riding strong, muscular stallions. Nothing more manly than that.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    “What I can’t stop thinking about here is the choice of  a Range Rover in the first place… A more practical solution would be a horse.”

    Fred mentioned the horse thing last week also, and the reason it really baffles me that it didn’t occur to L&J to at least attempt that path is that their story is supposed to be a “literal” rendering of the Revelation of John. I seem to remember that particular book featuring horses, literal horses, just like all over the place.

    What I’m thinking. For one thing, how do you spend all that time rereading and contemplating Revelation without at some point finding yourself absentmindedly thinking about horses, hm, horses, second horseman, what if Buck were on a horse in this scene, etc?

    For another thing, doesn’t a “literal” interpretation of Revelation require them to start using literal horses, eventually? I seem to remember seeing an excerpt from later in the series wherein Nicholae actually *does* have to get up on a horse, because that’s what the goddamn prophesy says he’s riding. If L&J want to make scenes where Nicholae rides a horse seem not-ridiculous, aren’t they going to have to prime us by establishing that at some point during this worldwide apocalypse, people start using horses for transportation as a normal thing again?

    Consider Ian McKellen’s fantastic “Richard III”, set in circa 1920s England. The movie is set in a motorized era, but the fact McKellen is using the script to Richard III means that he is going to have to feature the line “my kingdom for a horse” at some point. He seems as director to have realized that in order for that line to make sense, there are going to have to actually be some horses around. So he sets this up by tweaking reality so that in his version of the 1920s, the British military was still using some cavalry units in addition to the more modern jeeps and planes. You see soldiers with horses just kind of milling about well in advance of the point where Ian McKellen actually begins calling for a horse. It’s still a bit of a stretch, but at least he tried.

  • MadGastronomer

     I always thought his reading of it worked really well for the setting, though. “Get me a tank. No tanks. Fine, get me a car. No fucking cars. Fine. Get me a goddamned horse then. Is that really to much to ask? A fucking HORSE. My Kingdom for a simple goddamn HORSE,” was sort of the tone.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The scene in the Ian McKellen movie works better than that; when he says the line, he’s in a jeep that’s gotten stuck in the mud. You didn’t actually need any real horses: it comes off not like he’s seriously asking for one, and more like he’s just expressing his frustration as the technology fails him.

    Compare with the Leonardo DiCaprio “Romeo + Juliet” where one of the Montagues shouts “Put up your swords!” followed by a quick zoom-in on the maker’s mark on the grip of one of the guns they’re holding 

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    You didn’t actually need any real horses: it comes off not like he’s seriously asking for one, and more like he’s just expressing his frustration as the technology fails him.

    Yes, I was thinking of that movie before I scrolled down to see mcc reference it, and that was my take on it – I don’t even remember any real horses being around.

  • JonathanPelikan

    Oh, that hurt so bad when I saw that ‘dagger’ was actually on their guns and stuff.

    Much preferred the Romeo + Juliet anime. It took quite a few, ah, liberties, but it was still really good.

  • GeniusLemur

     And on top of everything else, we’re talking about an SUV. I don’t know about the Range Rover in particular, but SUV’s as a group are NOT tough, resilient, safe, etc. In fact, they’re scaled-up cars, so the they’re considerably more fragile than actual trucks, which were designed to be that big.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    As I understand SUV construction in the 1990s/early 2000s when Jenkins was crapping these things out, North American auto companies basically just adapted pickup truck frames for use as enlarged station wagons (which is what SUVs used to be, basically).

    Nowadays given the notoriously bad reputation SUVs have, plus their crappy gas mileage (I knew a guy who had to spend like $150 to fill his Yukon, and that was back when it was still around a buck a liter) auto companies seem to have finally modernized their designs enough to make them look less ostentatiously in your face.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    As I understand SUV construction in the 1990s/early 2000s when Jenkins was crapping these things out, North American auto companies basically justadapted pickup truck frames for use as enlarged station wagons (which is what SUVs used to be, basically).

    Basically. The whole reason that the industry pushed SUVs so hard was that they could get consumers to pay luxury-car prices for what amounted to a fancied-up pick-up truck (Trucks are a lot cheaper to build than cars)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     And on top of everything else, we’re talking about an SUV. I don’t know about the Range Rover in particular, but SUV’s as a group are NOT tough, resilient, safe, etc. In fact, they’re scaled-up cars, so the they’re considerably more fragile than actual trucks, which were designed to be that big.

    That, at least, is not a total departure from reality. Range Rover is the luxury line from Land Rover, which is basically the British analogue of Jeep.  They used to use the Range Rover base to build small emergency vehicles.

  • Parisienne

    I’m not even sure what “fully loaded” means when it’s applied to a car (apart from being a phallic Freudian slip, obviously). I would expect a dealer to say “fully prepared”. Does it just mean there’s petrol in the tank?

  • Durazno

     I think it just means “with all the extra features and doodads you could possibly pile on.”

  • MadGastronomer

     “Fully loaded” usually means “with all the optional goodies” — sun roof, moon roof, on board computer, extra annoying high-intensity headlights, whatever is above and beyond the standard package.

  • GeniusLemur

    Most or all of which are purely luxury gimmicks, and hence utterly useless in a post-apoc setting. In fact they’re counter-productive because of the extra weight, complexity, drain on the battery, etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    A built in GPS device would be nice, but only if the satellites are working.

  • Albanaeon

     Assuming the basic infrastructure of AF Space Ops is still in place and Colorado Springs and Vandenburg are still in existence, and no low orbit nukes were detonated, then yes the satellites should still be working.  Most of our stuff is built around the idea that major cities would be radioactive rubble yet we’d still need to go get the bad guys, and GPS, SatComm, even weather are high priority systems to keep online.  In the early 2000’s there still was a military only band and maybe we’d have shut off the civilian bands in this sort of situation (ie ‘terrorists’ using the system to coordinate movements) but unlikely as civil services and even some military units may be relying on them to function as well.

    So Buck could know exactly which playgrounds he was driving across, assuming of course, he was able to find his own ass in the first place.  Which I find unlikely..

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

     

    I’m not even sure what “fully loaded” means when it’s applied to a car
    (apart from being a phallic Freudian slip, obviously). I would expect a
    dealer to say “fully prepared”. Does it just mean there’s petrol in the
    tank?

    Parsienne:

    I suspect that Jenkins had meant to say “fully decked-out” or “fully-featured”, which would make more sense than “fully loaded”.

    But hey, if Rayford can have a fully-loaded 747….

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

     Skipping ahead, we find that “fully loaded means…

    “Chloe,” Buck said carefully, “look at this rig. It has everything. It will go anywhere. It’s indestructible. It comes with a phone. It comes with a citizen’s band radio. It comes with a fire extinguisher, a survival kit, flares, you name it. It has four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, independent suspension, a CD play that plays those new two-inch jobs, electrical outlets in the dashboard that allow you connect whatever you want directly to the battery.”

    Yes, gentle readers, Buck Williams, world-traveler and GIRAT, is impressed that a car comes with road flares and a fire extinguisher. I’m surprised he didn’t mention the amazing inclusion of a spare tire and a hydraulic jack!

  • Ken

     Don’t forget the CB radio. When you’re planning to flee the forces of implacable evil, your best choice for communications is obviously a broadcast device. That CBs were already being mocked when these books came out is just the cherry on top.

    It will also be nice to be able to listen to two-inch CDs while the seas of blood rise to engulf the vehicle.

    Which raises the more general question – does Buck ever use any of those features in the rest of the books?

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy

    @ac4c6c09ea1d4bd1a7fc6948645847ff:disqus :
    does Buck ever use any of those features in the rest of the books?

    He, (drum roll) uses the phone. Quite a bit.

  • GeniusLemur

     Otherwise, of course not. Remember the principle of Chekov’s gun: “If a gun is hanging on the wall in the first act, it should be a big, manly gun from an exclusive gunmaker with a handmade stock, telescopic sight and all the other goodies you can put on it, because it needs to show how big and manly the protagonist is, and he obviously deserves the best.”

  • Tybult

    a CD [player] that plays those new two-inch jobs

    Awwwwww shit, son, we’re rolling in style now! We’ll be rolling down the road blasting Creed off our TWO INCH DISCS! Tribulation Force REPRESENT!

  • Lori

     

    I’m surprised he didn’t mention the amazing inclusion of a spare tire and a hydraulic jack! 

    I suppose those are standard on luxury vehicles, but on a normal car the inclusion of a full-size spare and a jack that doesn’t take an engineering degree to assemble is noteworthy and has been since long before 2002.

    A few years ago there was a mid-range car that came with a full-size spare and it was noteworthy enough that they did a whole commercial about it. (It was actually a really great commercial. It compared the full-sized spare to the coelacanth, long thought extinct and then found again. I loved that.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    My car has one of those tiny-ass compact spares, which is good from a manufacturing POV, but bad from a consimer POV since they’re not rated to roll more than ~60 miles combined, AND need a high air pressure.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    The high-end replacement for spares is runflat tires, which I can testify do in fact stay drivable even when you’ve hit a pothole at 65 MPH and bounced so hard your suspension and the tire that hit it are all a total writeoff.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

     It has everything. It will go anywhere. It’s indestructible. It comes with a phone. It comes with a citizen’s band radio.

    Why, it’s greased lightning!

  • http://twitter.com/JNeoMarvin J Neo Marvin

    We got a Christian convoy, truckin’ through the night!
    A tribulation convoy, ain’t she a beautiful sight?

  • Paulbarbee

    Indestructible? I suppose this was written before IED’s started being used in Iraq but still, a Range Rover isn’t that hard to stop. And in a city in the middle of a war a lot of people are going to see a vehicle still capable of movement as VERY valuable.  Easily valuable enough to kill the current driver for. As someone mentioned earlier it will be impossible to buy gas for it. CD players also come in very handy during a war. (/snerk> A terrible choice all around really. The term “white elephant” comes to mind.

  • Jessica_R

    And of course when Jenkins tries his hand at near future details it’s Minidiscs, that’s almost adorable. I wish he’d had them stop by a Cyrstal Pepsi machine too. 

  • Ima Pseudonym

     I very vaguely recall something about one of the later novels beginning with LaJenkins gushing over the most advanced weapons ever made.  I think it turned out to be a giant Supergun.

    Worldbuilding, designing an actual plausible malevolent world government, trying to imagine actual near-term weapons and technology, extrapolations of things we’re actually working on NOW, none of this shit interests Ellenjay in the slightest.  They’d rather cut right to the meat and lovingly depict Splatterchrist returning in a spray of gore to slay the sinners and then sentencing billions of people to burn for eternity in Hell screaming “JESUS IS LORD!”  over and over instead.   It’s like “Agony in Pink” for authoritarian fundamentalists.

    I get more creativity and imagination out of a bad Star Trek fanfic. 

  • christopher_young

    I very vaguely recall something about one of the later novels beginning
    with LaJenkins gushing over the most advanced weapons ever made.  I
    think it turned out to be a giant Supergun.

    That would be a V-3, from 1944?

  • Ima Pseudonym

     I…seem to recall that it was something along those lines, yeah, but I’m actually really surprised that Aunursa’s example works too.   I shouldn’t be, but I am.  Of COURSE it works. 

  • GeniusLemur

    [Blockquote]none of this shit interests Ellenjay in the slightest.  They’d rather
    cut right to the meat and lovingly depict Splatterchrist returning in a
    spray of gore to slay the sinners and then sentencing billions of people
    to burn for eternity in Hell screaming “JESUS IS LORD!”  over and over
    instead.[/Blockquote]

    Actually, they wouldn’t. It takes 12 freaking books to get to Splatterchrist, books endlessly bogged down with chartering planes, lunches with the powerful, and buying cars. And when was the last time anyone said “Jesus is lord” in one of these books? Like I mentioned early on, it’s amazing how little these books care about or even mention God and Jesus.

  • aunursa

    I very vaguely recall something about one of the later novels beginning with LaJenkins gushing over the most advanced weapons ever made. I think it turned out to be a giant Supergun.

     

    Albie: Mr. Steele, I have access to just the weapon. It is roughly the size of your hand. Heavy, thus accurate. Weight is due to firing mechanism, which is normally used in oversized high-powered rifles.
    Rayford: What kind of action?
    Albie: Unique. It employs both fuel injection and hydraulic vacuum.
    Rayford: Sounds like an engine. I’ve never heard of such a thing.
    Albie: Who has? It propels a projectile at two thousand miles an hour.
    Rayford: Ammunition?
    Albie: Forty-eight caliber, high speed-naturally, soft tip, hollow point.
    Rayford: In a handgun?
    Albie: Mr. Steele, the air displacement caused by the spinning of the bullet alone has been known to sever human tissue from two inches away.
    Rayford: I don’t follow.
    Albie: A man was fired at with one of these pistols from approximately thirty feet away. The shot tore through his skin and damaged subcutaneous tissue in his upper arm. Doctors later determined that there were zero traces of metal in the tissue. The damage had been done by the speed with which the air around the spinning bullet was displaced….Albie: You simply aim and fire. The rationale behind this piece is that you do not separate the block and produce it unless you intend to shoot it. You do not shoot it unless you intend to destroy what you are shooting. If you shoot at that rock enough times, you will destroy it. If you shoot a person in a kill zone from within two hundred feet, you will kill him. If you hit him in a neutral zone from that same distance, your ammunition will sever skin, flesh, fat, tendon, ligament, muscle, and bone and will pass through the body leaving two holes. Provided you are at least ten feet away, the soft hollow-point shell has time to spread out due to the heat of the firing explosion and the centrifugal force caused by the spinning. Rifling grooves etched inside the barrel induce the spin. The projectile then will be roughly an inch and a half in diameter. Rayford: The bullet spreads into a spinning disk?
    Albie: Exactly.From Book #6, Assassins

    Albie: Mr. Steele, I have access to just the weapon. It is roughly the size of your hand. Heavy, thus accurate. Weight is due to firing mechanism, which is normally used in oversized high-powered rifles.

    Rayford: What kind of action?

    Albie: Unique. It employs both fuel injection and hydraulic vacuum.

    Rayford: Sounds like an engine. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    Albie: Who has? It propels a projectile at two thousand miles an hour.

    Rayford: Ammunition?

    Albie: Forty-eight caliber, high speed-naturally, soft tip, hollow point.

    Rayford: In a handgun?

    Albie: Mr. Steele, the air displacement caused by the spinning of the bullet alone has been known to sever human tissue from two inches away.

    Rayford: I don’t follow.

    Albie: A man was fired at with one of these pistols from approximately thirty feet away. The shot tore through his skin and damaged subcutaneous tissue in his upper arm. Doctors later determined that there were zero traces of metal in the tissue. The damage had been done by the speed with which the air around the spinning bullet was displaced.

    Albie: You simply aim and fire. The rationale behind this piece is that you do not separate the block and produce it unless you intend to shoot it. You do not shoot it unless you intend to destroy what you are shooting. If you shoot at that rock enough times, you will destroy it. If you shoot a person in a kill zone from within two hundred feet, you will kill him. If you hit him in a neutral zone from that same distance, your ammunition will sever skin, flesh, fat, tendon, ligament, muscle, and bone and will pass through the body leaving two holes. Provided you are at least ten feet away, the soft hollow-point shell has time to spread out due to the heat of the firing explosion and the centrifugal force caused by the spinning. Rifling grooves etched inside the barrel induce the spin. The projectile then will be roughly an inch and a half in diameter. Rayford: The bullet spreads into a spinning disk?
    Albie: Exactly.From Book #6, Assassins

  • Tonio

     I’m almost disappointed that this passage is too clinical, as if Ellanjay had lifted it from an encyclopedia or catalog. It would have been funnier if they had written it more like gun porn, where Rayford comes close to salivating over the brutality.

  • PJ Evans

    It propels a projectile at two thousand miles an hour.

    Mach 3? I assume the projectiles make little teeny sonic booms when they go by?

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    And a recoil of at least 3x your typical .44 Magnum. Better hope the guy you shot doesn’t have a friend because you won’t be terribly interested in rapid-fire.

  • thatotherjean

    Wait. . .the superweapon is a  *handgun*?!   I’ll bet the recoil’s a bitch.

    Edited to add: I see Jamoche has that covered.

  • aunursa

    Wait. . .the superweapon is a *handgun*?! I’ll bet the recoil’s a bitch.

    Albie covered both ears, then interrupted. “You really should put something in that right ear.”…The gun was only slightly closer to Rayford’s protected ear. When he squeezed the trigger, the recoil drove him back against the hood of the truck. He slid to where his seat hit the bumper, but there wasn’t enough room to hold him, and he plopped in the dirt. The explosion sounded like a bomb and then like nothing, as he was temporarily deafened and didn’t even hear the echo. Rayford was glad he had not squeezed off another round when he flopped.Albie covered both ears, then interrupted. “You really should put something in that right ear.”…The gun was only slightly closer to Rayford’s protected ear. When he squeezed the trigger, the recoil drove him back against the hood of the truck. He slid to where his seat hit the bumper, but there wasn’t enough room to hold him, and he plopped in the dirt. The explosion sounded like a bomb and then like nothing, as he was temporarily deafened and didn’t even hear the echo. Rayford was glad he had not squeezed off another round when he flopped.
    Albie looked at him expectantly.
    “You’re right,” Rayford said, his ear ringing. “An experience.”
    “Look,” Albie said, pointing into the distance.
    Rayford squinted. The rock looked none the worse for wear. “Did I hit it?”
    “You hit the tree!”
    Rayford could hardly believe it. The bullet had hit the trunk about eight feet off the ground, just below the branches. “I need to see this,” he said, struggling to his feet. Albie followed him as he got close enough to see that a gash had been taken out of the tree that left less than half the trunk intact. The weight of the branches finally overtook the gaping hole and the top of the tree came crashing down, bouncing off the rock.From Assassins

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    They… they got that right?! But that involves research and math! Even 20 seconds to find a recoil calculator is more effort than they’ve ever done before. (Unless this was written after Mel Odom came on board.)

    Though hitting the tree when presumably he’s aiming at a rock doesn’t say much for the accuracy mentioned in the previous excerpt.

  • aunursa

    Albie explained to Rayford that he had flinched.  After repositioning himself and making sure that both ears were covered, Rayford fired a second time and hit the target.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Of course. Because unlike us mere mortals, Rayford is less likely to flinch when he knows there’s going to be a recoil like an elephant’s kick.

  • Raj1point618

    Jamoche: They… they got that right?! But that involves research and math! Even 20 seconds to find a recoil calculator is more effort than they’ve ever done before.

    I think that at least occasionally, LaHaye & Gil Thorpe don’t mind – and might even enjoy – a little actual research if it is research into how much ass-kicking a manliness-enhancing weapon can do.

    (I tried posting this comment earlier as a reply to Jamoche, but for some reason, it posted without the “in reply to Jamoche” link. Ah, Patheos, who can fathom Thy ways?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    I don’t know much about weapons, but – that supergun doesn’t sound all that useful, and pretty dangerous to the user.   All that extra firepower seems like overkill to me.

  • aunursa

    Jerry Jenkins can’t leave the assassination of the antichrist* to just an ordinary weapon.  This the most powerful, technologically advanced handgun in the world.  And it demonstrates that Rayford is the manliest man.

    * Book #6 ends with the “Who shot Nicky?” cliffhanger.  We don’t learn until the middle of Book #7 whether Rayford was the killer, or if it was someone else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     It doesn’t even work though, does it? I vaguely remember reading about Rayford choosing a gun to kill Nicolae with because it has the same brand name as the weapon that the Antichrist is supposed to be killed with in the Book of Revelation. Is this the same scene? Did I just confabulate all of that?

  • aunursa

    After he buys the weapon, Rayford realizes that its name could be significant.

    He didn’t understand it all. Who could? But without Tsion’s analysis, Rayford believed he had figured out these verses. Carpathia was to be mortally wounded in the head by a sword and then come back to life. A sword? What was it Albie called the superb killing machine Rayford had stashed behind loose bricks in the basement? Saber.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     Do you still own all of the books?

  • aunursa

    I don’t own any of the books.

    The texts are spread around various locations online … if you know where to look.  (Not all at one site)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Good. I kind of get the feeling that if you actually did own them, the aura of stupidity that surrounds them would seep into your home and degrade your other books, magazines, computers, and probably make nearby appliances start to rust or corrode.

  • GeniusLemur

     I bet Fred keeps his copies in a lead-lined box and makes sure to wear gloves when he reads them.

  • Tonio

    A gun is a gun no matter how big. Shouldn’t the AntiChrist be killed with something more ritually symbolic? Like daggers whose handles depict Christ on the cross?

  • Ken

     

    >Shouldn’t the AntiChrist be killed with something more ritually symbolic?

    The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.

    A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, vs. 3. But I suppose the L&J theology doesn’t think looking evil in the face and saying “No.” is sufficient, so Rayford needs a Really Big Gun.

  • aunursa

    Rayford needs a Really Big Gun.

    It’s not a Really Big Gun, it’s a Really Powerful Gun.

    It’s about ten inches long, one and a half inches wide, and fits in the palm of his hand.

    Albie put his left thumb in the upper left corner with his left middle finger on the back of the lower left corner. He did the opposite with his right hand, thumb on the lower right corner, middle finger on the back of the upper corner. “I am pushing gently with my thumbs, which forces my fingers to resist. When I feel a most delicate disengagement, I then slide my thumbs along the bottom edge, put my index fingers along the top edge, grip tightly, and pull. See how easily it slides apart.”
    Rayford felt as if he were witnessing a magic trick from a foot away without a clue how it was accomplished… “The seams seem to disappear because this was fashioned from a solid block of Steele. Try it, Captain.”Rayford placed his thumbs and middle fingers where Albie had. When he pressed slightly with his thumbs and felt the pressure on his fingers, he sensed an ever so slight give….“Is it fully loaded?”…Rayford set the block on the ground and turned the gun over and over in his hand…
    Heavy as it was, it had excellent balance and settled easily into his palm. He worried it might be difficult to hold steady……“People who know the weapon have nicknamed it the Saber.”
    “Why?”
    Albie shrugged. “Probably because the other piece could be called a sheath. When it’s pieced together it’s like a sword in its sheath.From Assassins

    From Assassins

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Of course, we all know what the latin for ‘sheath’ is…

  • flat

    Look rayford is once again overcompensating

  • hapax

     

    “I am pushing gently with my thumbs, which forces my fingers to resist.
    When I feel a most delicate disengagement, I then slide my thumbs along
    the bottom edge, put my index fingers along the top edge, grip tightly,
    and pull. See how easily it slides …”
    Rayford felt as if he were witnessing a magic trick from a foot away without a clue how it was accomplished…
    “The seams seem to disappear because this was fashioned from a solid block of Steele™. Try it, Captain.”

    My goodness, the slash does just write itself!

  • phoenix_feather

     Sort-of Book 7 Spoilers Below (in case anyone plans to make it that far into the series)!

    Even when we DO learn how Nicky was killed, it wasn’t just a normal sword–his killer used some sort of ultra-technologically advanced super sword. But I got the impression that Rayford was in fact going against God’s will by taking a gun to shoot the Antichrist when God planned on someone else doing it.   So this could have actually been a transformative moment where Rayford realizes that God doesn’t require him to always be the manliest man.  Instead he shoots the gun, makes his peace with God, and goes right back to being a douche.

  • Joshua


    Provided you are at least ten feet away, the soft hollow-point shell has time to spread out due to the heat of the firing explosion and the centrifugal force caused by the spinning. Rifling grooves etched inside the barrel induce the spin. The projectile then will be roughly an inch and a half in diameter.  

    So it’s hollow point spreads out in flight? That’s the stupidest idea ever. There’s no way it would fly straight. At fifty feet, you’d shoot the person next to your target. The air resistance of this stupidly shaped projectile would mean the bullet would fall to the ground after a few hundred feet. Probably in pieces.

    I guess L & J didn’t bother to find out how hollow-point bullets work in the real world — they expand in the target, not in the air.

    Also, near-miss damage is done by the shock wave of a supersonic projectile, not by anything to do with its rotation.

    Also, leaving two holes in the (person next to the) target means you’ve wasted the bullet’s destructive energy on whatever is behind them.

    So, I think this gun is big, dumb, overpowered and useless. Like so many other things in these books.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    A CD player.  Seriously?  It actually says that?  The world is ending, bombs are falling around him, and he’s sitting in a car dealer’s office, buying a car, and noting that it has a friggin’ CD player???  What’s he going to do next, stop off at the mall to buy some 2-inch CD’s?  And maybe a latte?  Wait a minute, it doesn’t say anything about cup holders!  Dude, the deal’s off if it doesn’t have cup holders!

  • aunursa

    The world is ending, bombs are falling around him, and he’s sitting in a car dealer’s office, buying a car, and noting that it has a friggin’ CD player??? 

    Nicolae Dramatic Audio *
    The Rapture in the 21st Century — Tim LaHaye Ministries

    * I have an idea.  Get me the video cassette of Spaceballs: The Movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    “I don’t need any excuse for being unique,” he said.

    Excuse me while I hurl.

  • Albanaeon

    It never ceases to amaze me that if you read these books as a meta-criticism of Evangelical culture, it really makes much more sense.  As in here, the world’s ending and the hero just wants a new car.  And not just any car, but the biggest and most optioned out one he can find.  And to top it all off, with radioactive fallout looming, his biggest concern is getting a good deal while ignoring the rank hypocrisy of using the ebil govmints funds to stick it too the ebil govmint. 

    A stunning example of the misplaced priorities we often find in American fundies (and American’s in general to be honest…) and would work as a great break down of what’s wrong with them (and us…) if the author’s weren’t serious.

  • Tonio

    When Michael Palin first began visiting the US, he suggested that the gloss and size and general excess of everything seemed like the nation was trying too hard to impress. Perhaps what has happened to evangelicalism is merely an extreme version of that insecurity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    What if the car salesman is the drunk businessman from the flight in the first book? The one who is among the elect — one of the few people to demonstrate alarm and dismay at the end of the world and the horrific deaths of billions.

  • Grey Seer

    I chose to believe that this car dealer is some kind of futuristic idealized Englishman, with an upper lip so stiff it can put titanium to shame. Hence, the complete and total lack of concern over a nuclear bomb exploding a few miles away. Sadly, the lack of any nearby cup of tea puts this idea in jeopardy. Perhaps it’s still in the process of being made, since Buck was so very fast in getting there.

    Keeping that detachment in the wake of a nuclear explosion might be difficult, I admit, but that clearly just shows the strength of the dealers commitment to his roots. Even explains the European brand of cars.

  • flat

    Oh man I can’t wait for the rest of the  landrover merchandising, it seems we are gonna have a lot of fun about it.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    “Really rather ridiculous” : Jeremy Clarkson drives a Range Rover.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    I would just like to offer my sympathies to Lliira and whomever else may have lost anything or anyone in these fires. It’s easy to forget your pain here in a safe little European bubble kingdom, but you are in my thoughts.

  • E-foster

    im disappointed that Buck doesnt Grit His Teeth Manfully more

  • thatotherjean

     im disappointed that Buck doesnt Grit His Teeth Manfully more

    Are you kidding?  Do you know how much he PAID  for all those porcelain veneers?

  • gocart mozart

    World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right—right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.
    It’s the end of the world as we know it.

  • arcseconds

    There is some fantastic cinematography in Gojira.  The single shot where Serizawa is watching the news, with all the fish in the aquaria behind him has particularly stuck with me. 

  • Nequam

    Yes, gentle readers, Buck Williams, world-traveler and GIRAT, is impressed that a car comes with road flares and a fire extinguisher.

    Call me naive, but are those actually standard equipment these days? (Mind you, pretty much every car I’ve owned or driven since I got my license has been used…)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’ve never known a car to come with flares, but a “roadside emergency kit” is a common extra you can buy from a dealer, and I imagine those would usually come with  them. 

  • PJ Evans

     Most cars don’t come with fire extinguishers either. But ‘roadside emergency kits’ should have two or three flares and a safety reflector.

  • Tricksterson

    Personally if I was the GIRAT I’d turn up my nose at any car that didn’t come with twin rocket launchers and it’s own fog machine.

  • Raj1point618

    Remember, Polly, whatever you, DON’T! MENTION! THE WAR!

  • Raj1point618

    I think that at least occasionally, LaHaye & Gil Thorpe don’t mind – and might even enjoy – a little actual research if it is research into how much ass-kicking a manliness-enhancing weapon can do.

  • Raj1point618

    Things Insecure American Men Regard as Signifiers of Masculinity. You’ll recall that we’ve already covered several of these, including:

    Scoring four touchdowns in a single game for Polk High!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    As for weaponry, don’t forget when Rayford manfully lugs around something that should be wheel-mounted artillery later on in the series.

    phoenix_feather: Yeah, Book 7 has Rayford whinging on about how he feels unmanned and how ZOMG he wasn’t doing God’s will and what will he do now and blahblahblah.

    Unfortunately he gets his cojones back in time to play stupid little pranks on Nicolae when the Earth goes dark.

  • phoenix_feather

     Ugh, you know, I never caught this before, but the fact that Rayford spends the seventh book moping about how he went against God’s will by *trying to kill someone* makes it so much worse that in the eighth book he makes fun of the people who are suffering because they went against God’s will by *getting a tattoo*.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Continuing on:

    The thing that really hurts L&J’s books is that Jenkins has a particularly tin ear for how his work comes across to people who aren’t predisposed to ignore the flaws in his work. These pages of Nicolae show that he is astonishingly, woefully, completely out of touch with the basics of things like how disasters would cause everything to go off-kilter.

    He’s not old enough to remember Pearl Harbor, perhaps, but the Kennedy Assassination is the closest equivalent for his generation. A world-altering event on everybody’s minds for days and weeks afterwards, that is indelibly marked into the cultural mythos and written history of the nation it occurred in.

    For him to write of banalities like Rayford being able to go shopping after billions of people have disappeared off the planet, or for Buck to actually go through the motions of purchasing a Range Rover in the shadow of a nuclear war, and to not see the fundamental problem with the way he sets these things up–

    One can only conclude that he doesn’t care about his work. That he cares more for the accolades and rewards that come from being acclaimed the “best Christian Author ever!” without doing any of the real work to deserve that appellation.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    Albie:  “If you are carrying this gun and should encounter God.  God… will be shot.”

    Ugh.  They should have gone  with the sword.  Just doesn’t have the same roll.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    Chloe – the Rise of Antichrist

    They entered the dealership, which was mostly deserted.  On normal days, the salespeople would be clustered around the entrance ready to pounce on a customer, like pigeons on a crust of bread.  Now though, the few that were left were inside gathered around TV sets, or gazing out the window at the huge cloud that hovered over the city.

    Buck watched his wife walk through the door and the heads turn around towards her.  He should have gotten used to it, but it still unnerved him.  It was like being married to a supermodel.  Chloe instantly became the focus of every room that she was in, and he couldn’t explain it, other than supernaturally.  Chloe was attractive, but she was hardly on the level of a superstar beauty, but he could see the look in the eyes of the men (and not a few women).  It wasn’t lust, more like a… adoration or jealousy.  What was it they had used to say about Marilyn Monroe?  Men wanted to be with her, women wanted to BE her.

    Several of the men tripped over themselves going up to her.  It would have been funny to anyone else.

    “Ma’am, uh… you’d better get out of the city if you can.  If not, well you can shelter in here.”

    “I’m sure,” she purred.  They hadn’t recognized her yet, she hadn’t been on the media long enough.  “Trying to evacuate in a regular car is a futile gesture I’ve found.  Faster to walk, but I won’t get out in time.  So I have a choice.  Get a offroad type car, or hunker down and wait for the end.  My husband and I have decided to go down fighting.  Give me your best of the line, and the G.C. will compensate you well.

    His eyes flicked over to Buck and he could see the enthusiasm drain out of him like a balloon.  “I see.  Well I’m afraid that the dealership is closed right now.  We’d all be out of here, except there’s no where to go.

    She leaned over and stared into his eyes.  “You WILL give me the keys to the best vehicle you have right now.”

    He nodded, turned on his heel and shuffled into the back room.  Chloe smirked back at her husband.  “I hate cheating like that but, we’re in a hurry.”

    An hour later they were barrelling along the sidewalks, swerving around cars and making just about every type of illegal maneuver that there was.  Chloe was humming the “Blues Brothers” theme song.

    “Stop that,” he growled.

    “Oh take the stick out, Buck.  You know nothing can happen to you as long as you’re with me.  I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you run down that old lady there.”

    It was at that moment that Buck decided that he would have to kill his wife.  Damn the prophecy, he wanted his wife back.

  • TheFaithfulStone

    but his emphasis here on hard-driving and driving hardness penetrates this entire passage.

    Best LB sentence evah.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    “What was it Albie called the superb killing machine Rayford had stashed behind loose bricks in the basement? Saber.”

    Oh goodness, bringing the conversation right back to “Romeo + Julet”…

  • E-foster

    “War of Northern Aggression” my fucking ass. the war happened because you bombed Fort Sumpter. period.

    you did it because you were butthurt that you lost the election of 1860, and were afraid that Lincoln would take your slaves, which he repeatedly said he WOULD NOT DO.

    it was because of YOU, and ONLY you that there was a war. and what do you have to show for it? 150 years later, “Southerner” is synonymous with inbred moron. you didnt win shit. most Southerners fought against reconstruction every step of the way, and any change in general for that matter, including civil rights for blacks and women

  • Tricksterson

    I’m going to assume you don’t know hapax that well or you’d realize s/he was being ironic and/or sarcastic.


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