NRA: Life during wartime

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 74-89

This one time I flew into Chicago to catch a connecting flight to Appleton. I was supposed to have 40 minutes to make the switch, but delays leaving BWI meant I’d only have about 15 minutes to get to my gate on the opposite side of the airport. I raced down the walkway and …

Oh, nevermind. That’s a boring story. Almost everyone who has ever flown has a version of that same story, and even calling it a “story” seems like a stretch. The logistics of commercial passenger air travel can often be stressful, but that doesn’t make them interesting.

Poor Jerry Jenkins does not realize this. “Write what you know,” the old adage says, and what Jenkins knows is business travel as a commercial airline passenger, so that’s what he gives us here in Nicolae. As a result, his account of World War III ends up being less exciting, and less eventful, than even my non-story about that time I just-barely caught my flight to Wisconsin.

It’s not just a cell phone, babe, it’s a UNIVERSAL cell phone.

When this series began, Rayford Steele was a pilot for a commercial airline. Three books into the series, he still seems to be one, even though now he’s flying the global potentate on the one-world government’s equivalent of Air Force One. Ferrying around the Antichrist and his retinue of global princes on Nicolae Carpathia’s shiny new plane doesn’t turn out to be any different than Rayford’s old days punching the clock for Pan-Continental. The arrival of the potentate’s plane doesn’t disrupt any airport’s usual routine. And neither does World War III and the destruction of Chicago, New York, Washington and London.

That gives a surreal quality to this chapter’s focus on the mundane details of life-as-usual at a major airport. It makes Jenkins’ attention to detail come across as inattention. The more he adds realistic touches based on his own experience as a business traveler, the more unreal his story seems.

It’s not just the story, setting and events that are unreal. It’s also Rayford’s behavior and the choices he makes.

Thanks to the eavesdropping system installed by his friend Earl, Rayford was able to overhear Nicolae outline his attack on the cities of North America. Amanda, who was seated next to Nicolae as he laid out that plan, was inexplicably unable to hear him. So now Rayford knows that San Francisco is set to be destroyed shortly after his plane refuels and takes off. But Amanda has no idea.

This is information Amanda needs to know. She’s about to get off of Nicolae’s plane to try to catch a flight out of San Francisco to someplace nearer Chicago. Rayford knows that if her flight doesn’t leave the airport before he takes off, then Amanda will be killed in the ensuing attack. Her life may depend on her knowing that. But for some reason, Rayford refuses to tell her:

Just before the initial descent into San Francisco, Rayford huddled with Amanda. “I’m gonna get that door open and you off this plane as soon as possible,” he said. “I’m not going to wait for the postflight checklist or anything. Don’t forget, it’s imperative that whatever flight you find is off the ground before we are.”

“But why, Ray?”

“Just trust me, Amanda. You know I have your best interests in mind. As soon as you can, call me on my universal cell phone and let me know Chloe and Buck are all right.”

Rayford has this pattern of saying, “Just trust me,” or “I can’t tell you why” even when he very well could explain further. That makes it seem like he’s testing Amanda’s loyalty and willingness to give him her blind trust. Kind of a high-stakes test, too.

Frustrated was too mild a word for the way Rayford felt as he landed the Condor 216 in San Francisco and taxied to a private jetway.

Beaten-to-death is too mild a description for Jenkins’ over-reliance on this construction.

Rayford knew beyond doubt that shortly after takeoff toward New Babylon, San Francisco would be devastated from the air the same way Chicago had been. People would die. Business and industry would crumble. Transportation centers would be destroyed, including that very airport. Rayford’s first order of business was to get Amanda off that plane and out of that airport and into the Chicago area.

Now you understand Rayford’s great frustration — an airport is about to be destroyed and there’s nothing he can do to save it.

He didn’t even want to wait for the jetway to be maneuvered out to the plane. He opened the door himself and lowered the telescoping stairs to the runway. He motioned for Amanda to hurry. Carpathia made some farewell small talk as she hurried past, and Rayford was grateful that she merely thanked the man and kept moving. Ground personnel waved at Rayford and tried to get him to pull the stairs back up. He shouted, “We have one passenger who needs to make a connection!”

Rayford embraced Amanda and whispered, “I checked with the tower. There’s a flight to Milwaukee leaving from a gate at the end of this corridor in less than 20 minutes. Make sure you’re on it.” Rayford kissed Amanda and she hurried down the steps.

What follows over the next several pages is a detailed account of Rayford’s stalling the airport crews and slow-walking his “postflight checks” to ensure that Amanda catches that flight to Milwaukee. This is interspersed with scenes of Buck’s high-speed wandering around the Chicago highways, but there’s about five pages of material here in which Jenkins attempts to build suspense around Rayford dawdling and killing time until Amanda’s flight takes off safely.

Bombers are striking cities across the continent. The destruction of San Francisco is imminent. All of those “ground personnel” and helpful folks in the control tower whom Rayford stalls over the next several pages will meet a fiery death moments after he takes off. But Jerry Jenkins decides that the best way to ratchet up tension in his thriller is to have Rayford double-checking items on his postflight list while saying things like, “Safety first.”

The tower tells Rayford that Amanda’s flight is “behind schedule about 12 minutes.” This news is meant to intensify the suspense here, but it only serves to remind readers that everything in this chapter is impossible.

Amanda is buying a last-minute ticket from San Francisco to Milwaukee. It’s a routine flight between the two cities, so it’s more or less running on schedule.

But how likely is it that routine flights into Milwaukee would be running on schedule if O’Hare International in Chicago were shut down? With that airport closed, one would expect a ripple-effect of delays and cancellations all over the country.

Particularly since O’Hare isn’t the only airport shut down at this point in our story. The airports are also closed in three other major cities. Factor that in and it seems even less plausible that Amanda could just skip up to the counter and grab a seat on a flight to Milwaukee.

Now factor in why all those airport closings have occurred. Most flights in and out of Chicago, New York, Washington and Dallas have been cancelled, delayed or re-routed. The others were incinerated by the perhaps-nuclear bombs that destroyed those cities.

In what universe could it possibly be true that such things could occur without any disruption of normal commercial flights from San Francisco to Milwaukee?

A single small conventional explosion at a single airport would likely create havoc and massive delays at airports all over the country. Here we have full-scale, perhaps-nuclear aerial assaults destroying at least four major cities and their airports with no disruption at all in passenger travel in other cities.

Or set aside the nuking of Dallas, Chicago, New York and Washington — that’s too vastly absurd to contemplate. It was just in the previous chapter that we read of Rayford’s escape from Chicago to a military air base near Dallas. During that flight there was talk of being on the alert for hostile insurgent aircraft.

I still can’t make sense of this talk of a militia air force. I can’t figure out whether this is actually part of Jenkins’ preposterous plot or if it’s only meant as Nicolae’s preposterous cover story scapegoating the militias for the assaults carried out by his air force (which we’ve been told, repeatedly, is the only remaining air force in the world). But whether there are actual enemy fighter planes in the sky or whether Nicolae is just lying to the public by pretending there are — either way that ought to mean that routine flights from San Francisco to Milwaukee would be cancelled.

Amidst all this howling absurdity and impossibility, we do see one brief glimpse of something like humanity in our hero. It’s just a tiny flicker, and he quickly suppresses it, but for just an instant as he chats with his co-pilot it occurs to Rayford that this man is about to die. He’s leaving the plane to be replaced by Rayford’s usual partner. Shortly after this young copilot exits the plane, Rayford will take off and then the bombs will fall and this man will be killed along with the ground crew now fueling his plane and everyone else at this airport and everyone else in this city.

It even half-occurs to Rayford that he might have a chance to do something or to say something that might save this man’s life — that he could warn his co-worker of what is about to happen to San Francisco.

“What’s going on?” his copilot asked. “I want to switch places with your guy as soon as I can.”

If only you knew what you were walking into, Rayford thought. “Where are you headed tonight?”

“What possible business is that of yours?” the young man said.

Rayford shrugged.

Hey, he tried, right? Make some small talk about the guy’s plans for the evening, then maybe swing the conversation around somehow to suggesting that maybe those plans should include running as fast as he could to get his loved ones and flee the city in the next half hour. But then the guy had to be all snippy and rude and disrespectful.

Shrug. Oh well. Now he’ll get what’s coming to him. He’ll soon see that he should have been more deferential and respectful to Tim LaHaye Rayford Steele.

This is one of the most pernicious running themes in these books. Extreme suffering is always deserved. People are rude or impatient, or they fail to show the proper deference for Rayford and Buck, and thus those people deserve death. Note the way the authors call attention to the copilot’s youth there — “the young man.” That’s not to heighten our sympathy for the tragic death of someone so young. It’s to reinforce the disrespect he’s showing to the older, more experienced pilot — to reinforce that he deserves to die. That means Rayford doesn’t have to care about him anymore and you, dear reader, should shrug off his death as well.

Rayford shrugged. He felt like the little Dutch boy with his thumb in the dike. He couldn’t save everyone. Could he save anyone?

He doesn’t continue thinking about this long enough to attempt to answer that question. “Could he save anyone?” No. Because he doesn’t try to.

He’s nothing like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. That boy sacrificed himself so that everyone else could flee to safety. Rayford is fleeing to safety, and he’s willing to let everyone else be sacrificed to ensure that he gets away.

  • frazer

    Can’t believe I’m first.  Great, as usual.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    The amazing thing here is not how bad LaJenkins’ writing is – we’re used to that. The amazing thing is that there could have been a great story based around trying to rally people against the murderous tyrant and prevent the vaporization of cities. Oddly, it never occurred to LaJenkins that such a story might deserve being told.

  • hidden_urchin

    People would die. Business and industry would crumble. Transportation centers would be destroyed, including that very airport.

    Note that this is a standard rhetorical triplet.  Traditionally, one arranges such triplets so that they build to a climax with the most powerful statement coming last.  Considering Jenkins is trying to build tension in this scene I think it is safe to assume that he intended to use the triplet in the standard manner.

    We now know where people rank as compared to industry and transportation networks in Rayford’s world.

    If this were written from Buck’s perspective it would read

    Business and industry would crumble. Transportation centers would be destroyed.  Telephone networks would go down.

    Oh, the humanity!

    Yeah, these three sentences don’t say good things about our Hero and since Rayford here is supposed to be a pargon of virtue I’m not thinking it says great things about the authors.  Alternatively, Jenkins is just a horrible writer and managed to screw up a very simple rhetorical device.

  • Splitting Image

    Rayford was ably depicted in this episode of Seinfeld:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueh_1PeJhaQ

  • flat

    As a former dutch boy (now a dutch adult) I have only one thing to say to Rayford.

    FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MaryKaye

    This book was written before 9/11, I guess, because after 9/11 the man on the street knows that a major air-related enemy attack causes *all civilian planes to be grounded*. 

    Of course, it wouldn’t have taken much work to figure this out pre-9/11 either.  I can’t believe how detached from reality this is getting.  It reminds me of the story (Zelazny, I think?) in which the main character has a paranoid fantasy that the world around him is just a movie set being tossed up for his inspection and then torn down.  At the end of the story comes a point of view shift to a member of the crew that is, in fact, doing just that. 

    So there *is* no Chicago except when the main characters are there….?  How else to explain that its destruction seems to have no effects whatsoever?  You can return a rental car to O’Hare station!  You can get a flight to Milwaukee and it’s hardly even late!

    The US is so interconnected that Hurricane Sandy had a direct effect on custodians here in Seattle (we canceled seminars because speakers were trapped in airports on the East
    Coast, so the rooms didn’t need to be set up).  Nukes…it’s some work to even imagine, but even a very little work should convince you that there would be ripple effects worldwide. I’ll grant you that Nicolai might not give the order to ground all civilian planes the way Bush did, because he knows there is in fact no attacker…that is, if he doesn’t care who believes him when he says there was an attacker.  But then you just get into the equal illogic of why on Earth he is doing this….

    I’m croggled.  This has taken a whole new step downward, and I didn’t think it could.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Well, Rayford is the man who started the Left Behind series by walking through a devastated airport past crumpled airports and moaning victims, feeling nothing but irritation because all this mess was getting in his way. Hasn’t changed much, has he?

  • http://feygelegoy.com/ Feygele Goy

    Good think L&J weren’t in charge of the DOT on 9/11…

  • flat

    Now we have the formalities out of the way I had to think about a videogame.

    I am not a gamer and I only followed playthroughs on youtube, but when I saw fall of cybertron I was impressed about how you got a feeling that the world is ending and that there is only one spaceship left for the autobots.

    But that they have an enormous problem because they have lost the energon reserves that was supposed to be the fuel of the ark.
    It is an action game but it is interesting how important something like fuel logistics is on the autobots who want to leave as fast as possible because they all know that they can’t last forever.
    And what sacrifices need to be made to evacuate cybertron.
    And when you compare the situation the autobots are in and read left behind you can only cringe.

  • TheBrett

    I’m not so sure Rayford shows even that glimpse of humanity. There’s no real indication of concern in the part you excerpted, just an unspoken shrug and his usual small pleasure in having privileged access to information. There’s no “you need to get out of the city” or even a “listen buddy, I heard that . . . “.

    I wonder who has been the less human character throughout this book – Buck or Rayford? Buck put up a pretty big lead with his behavior in Chicago in getting the Mega-Car of 1997, but Rayford is gaining on him.

  • TheBrett

    At least he put “people would die” first. With Rayford, you half-expect him not even to mention that.

  • flat

    by the way dykes don’t work that way: if there is some water coming through it, it means the whole dyke is about to collapse.
    It means in layman terms you get the hell out of there and you call the dutch waterboard.
    And wait afterwards to see the political clusterfuck for who is responsible for that dyke.

  • dj_pomegranate

    I’m croggled.  This has taken a whole new step downward, and I didn’t think it could.
    It’s amazing that a book can be so bad that I (and I’m sure many others) say something to the effect of “I didn’t know this book could get WORSE, and yet…!” every single week after reading Fred’s installment. 

  • Michael Pullmann

     At least Jenkins correctly used “devastated” instead of “decimated”.

  • Becca Stareyes

     That was my thought; post-9/11, this seems even more surreal because anyone old enough to read this blog remembers what happened then.  I remember a professor getting a ride back from a conference in Minnesota because he couldn’t make the Minneapolis-Lincoln flight, one that had nothing to do with New York, DC, or the East Coast at all… except that all the planes were grounded.  Or, what a snowstorm in Denver (or a hurricane in NYC) could do to travel.  Or, hell, all the times I had to sit by the gate because the plane I wanted to take was part of a cascading series of delays and the airport was trying to shuffle planes around to minimize the problem. Nothing makes you realize how interconnected our travel networks are is when something breaking somewhere in the midwest affects a trip up the East Coast. 

    Well, maybe it would seem surreal except that ‘life on autopilot’ seems to be the theme of these books.  Even as you have the Antichrist starting World War III, the authors just seem to assume they can write about the ordinary day-to-day lives of Rayford Steele, Jerkass Pilot, or Buck Williams, Asshole Reporter, unless things are actively blowing up in front of them. 

  • GeniusLemur

    Rayford’s universal cell phone? Didn’t Buck just get cell phones for Rayford and Amanda? Wouldn’t Buck know if they weren’t needed? So…

    Did Rayford just spontanteously generate a cell phone?

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

    Shortly after this young copilot exits the plane, Rayford will take off and then the bombs will fall and this man will be killed along with the ground crew now fueling his plane and everyone else at this airport and everyone else in this city.

    It’s been quoted before, but Douglas Adams gets this so epically right:

    There was no way his imagination could feel the impact of the whole Earth having gone, it was too big. He prodded his feelings by thinking that his parents and his sister had gone. No reaction. He thought of all the people he had been close to. No reaction. Then he thought of a complete stranger he had been standing behind in the queue at the supermarket two days before and felt a sudden stab — the supermarket was gone, everyone in it was gone.  Nelson’s Column had gone! Nelson’s Column had gone and there would be no outcry, because there was no one left to make an outcry. From now on Nelson’s Column only existed in his mind. England only existed in his mind — his mind, stuck here in this dank smelly steel-lined spaceship. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him.

    Now, flip that around from past tense to future. Nelson’s Column will be gone, the stranger ahead of him in the supermarket will be gone, and our protagonist is still just as numb as Arthur, but where Arthur is a sympathetic character facing the unfaceable Rayford is just a colossal ass.

  • Dantesque17

    It’s like “Ulysses” if Leopold Bloom never left the Dublin Airport.

  • aunursa

    I repeat my point from a previous thread.  Why does Amanda need to take a flight to Milwaukee?  Supposedly it’s so that she can check on “Rayford’s people.”  But that was entirely unnecessary.  Amanda could have checked on Buck, Chloe, and their friends from church (since those are the only people they seem to care about) with a few emails or phone calls

    The only reason for the unnecessary “Will her flight leave in time?” tension in this chapter is that Jerry Jenkins decided that he needed to add unnecessary tension to this chapter.

  • Dash1

    How to tell Our Genial Host how much I appreciate these posts? Hmm. An idea: Christmas is coming; Fred has kids and no job. It would be good if  he could make some plans now about the Christmas budget. I realize many people on this board don’t have the financial leeway to toss anything in, but for those who do, this would, I suspect, be a good time for it. 

    I’m in, anyway. And lo, there appeareth unto me a “Donate” button in the . . . um . . . yeah, that would be the east. Ish. Sort of the east. Southeast. TOYMMV (The Orientation of Your Monitor May Vary). Anyway, there’s a “Donate” button. Give it a thought.

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

    Rayford crapped one out like Jenkins does these books. In short, it’s sloppy writing mechanics and continuity. (-_-)B

  • http://mousehole-mouse.blogspot.com/?zx=c2c4948a7233f8b6 Mouse

    I’m doing a snark of the For Kids! version of this series and I continue to be amazed at how the infrastructure in LB-verse remains standing even after nuclear strike, flaming hailstones, a mountain crashing into the sea, all the water being turned rotten, and a massive freeze. They’re still getting telephone and internet after all this.  Ellanjay must be baffled by the fact that so many along the eastern coast remain without power after one measly hurricane; after all, according to them, isn’t the almighty Internet and telephone towers impossible to take out?

    Oh, and for those interested, I’ve started up my blog again. Go nuts.

  • Magic_Cracker

    It’s not really a universal cell phone. The Doctor only told him it was to get Rayford to shut up (“And stop calling me that, will you? I’m a Time Lord, not the Lord and He’s not coming back till 1226 ZL anyway, and only then for a cream tea… only place in the universe you can get a cream tea — one with cream or tea, anyway…”) Then he,  Verna, and her sensible shoes skippered off 21 months into the past to investigate that “electromagnetic event” he’d been hearing about.

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

    At least the Christ Clone managed to make a delayed arrival work because it occurred before the worldwide catastrophe.

    I could envision a “Skewed to the Right (Middle? Left?)” version of this:

    - Rayford lands the plane, pulls Amanda aside, tells her to find a car with the keys left in the ignition – drive like hell somewhere safe and use a throwaway long-distance dialling prepaid card (they had these things in the 1990s, I used quite a few of them for a while when I had to let my phone get disconnected because I couldn’t pay the bill) to contact Buck, if the circuits weren’t busy.

    - Rayford then frantically tries to figure out how to make the takeoff fail and look like an accident. Since he knows all the preflight and postflight procedures like the back of his hand, he figures out how to make an innocuous error that looks like an accident made in the haste of getting the World Leader someplace safe.

    - The plane fails to take off, preferably explodes, but it does something. The copilot twigs onto what Rayford was hinting at, bails out of the plane posthaste, acting like he’s panicked, and disappears, shuffling his way across the scrub brushlands until he finds a road, then commandeers a car and takes off for parts unknown.

    And voila, there’s a vignette that actually has TENSION.

  • Elizabeth

    >> It reminds me of the story (Zelazny, I think?) in which the main character has a paranoid fantasy that the world around him is just a movie set being tossed up for his inspection and then torn down.  At the end of the story comes a point of view shift to a member of the crew that is, in fact, doing just that. 

    It was a Philip K. Dick story – the master at paranoia and perspective shifts. Unlike EllenJay, you actually feel in tune with the major character and feel as he feels – even when what he feels is profoundly weird and unsettling, and even when the major characters are profoundly unlikeable. If you haven’t read the original “Minority Report”, do so. The ending is totally different and much more, er, Dick-ish.

  • Dylan

    Rayford has this pattern of saying, “Just trust me,” or “I can’t tell you why” even when he very well could explain further.

    First thought: people who want to have control in a situation or jerk other people around emotionally will often misuse privacy/secrecy like this to do so.

    In this case, that seems pretty in-character for Rayford.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    I see what’s happening here. This is a clear case of the plot getting in the way of the story.

    Here’s what I think happened: Someone (probably LaHaye) decided that, what with this being the “War” part of the series, there needed to be bombings, wide-scale destruction, that sort of thing. And since one of the characters was a pilot, there also had to be “tense” plane-hopping scenes. Of course, there’s a conflict there – the conflict that everyone else is pointing out, that those planes would not and could not be flying around like normal.

    Unfortunately, no one noticed this. So, when Jenkins sat down to actually write it, he ran into a snag. It’s possible that he didn’t notice it, but I bet he did and just opted to barrel forward. It’s not like he views himself as an artist or storyteller, he’s just a line worker pounding out widgets in book form. Coming up with a plausible explanation (or, God forbid, going back to the planning phase) would have taken up time that he didn’t have.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Something tells me that if Young Man had asked Rayford about his evening plans, Rayford would have responded with “What possible business is that of yours?” and then mentally congratulated himself on putting Young Man in his proper place.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    He’s had that for a while. It’s not really clear if he got one on his own, or if Jenkins forgot that Buck and Ray hadn’t seen each other in person yet.

    I like to think of it like a glitch in a video game. Somewhere along the line, Ray tripped a flag at the wrong time and now he has something he shouldn’t. Clearly, this product was not thoroughly playtested.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    This whole book is an object lesson in poor planning. If your narrative is more complicated than “Protagonist X travels to Y to cause/avert Z”, you need to sketch it out. Otherwise, you run the risk of producing a terrifying chimera of a story.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    Well, if phones and computers stopped working, it would make communications difficult. Who ever heard of a story where the characters face challenges?

  • aunursa

    It reminds me of the story (Zelazny, I think?) in which the main character has a paranoid fantasy that the world around him is just a movie set being tossed up for his inspection and then torn down. At the end of the story comes a point of view shift to a member of the crew that is, in fact, doing just that.

    That is similar to the basic plot of the Twilight Zone episode A World of Difference.  The main character discovers that his office is a movie set, and he is told that he is an actor playing a role in a movie.

  • http://mistermunshun.blogspot.com/ Carl Eusebius

    “Write what you know,” the old adage says, and what Jenkins knows is business travel as a commercial airline passenger, so that’s what he
    gives us here in Nicolae.

    Stephenie Meyer does that very same thing. Research, people! You’re not writing your autobiography here. Good fiction writing is hard work. Long, arduous work. Researching and writing and checking and re-checking and continuity and believability and consistency and authenticity. If you skip all that and just shoehorn in your own life experiences–well, you can write a best-selling series of novels, so I guess they’ve got me there.

    Look at how long it takes George R. R. Martin to write a novel and compare that to Jerry Jenkins bashing out this crap in 4 weeks.

  • aunursa

    Wait ’till you see the cell phones that Buck Chloe purchased…

    He set the stacks to one side and laid out the five deluxe universal cell phones Chloe had bought. Fortunately, they had been packed in spongy foam and had survived her accident.

    He had told her not to scrimp, and she certainly hadn’t. He didn’t even want to guess the total price, but these phones had everything, including the ability to take calls anywhere in the world, due to a built-in satellite chip.

    Nicolae, p 112

    (Too bad he didn’t get one for Chuck Noland.)

  • hidden_urchin

    Now you’ve got me imagining a LB-ASOIAF crossover.

    ” Jesus is coming.”

    HA!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    Living language etc etc.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    “People would die. Business and industry would crumble.”
    Yes, let’s give him credit for listing the people first this time. But this is still a very weird set of priorities. I imagine Rayford, looking over the rubble-dusted, irradiated hills where San Francisco once stood. “My God!” he cries. “This will completely disrupt the business operations of Charles Schwab!”

  • Lunch Meat

    Apologies for the off-topic post, but I know we have several Texan slacktivites here, and I wanted to share about a bill that was just introduced in our House. HB 201 will allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both of their names listed on supplemental birth certificates in Texas. More information here, and if you want to write to your reps about it, I have some sample letters here

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    It gets worse in the prequel novels. All of these books are clearly set in or around the year in which they were published. In the first prequel, we flash 20-30 years to see Ray as a child, so were looking at late 60′s/early 70′s. Jenkins is about the right age to describe a childhood of that era, but he seems to forget that it is a flashback, so young Ray owns a home video game console and a cell phone.

    How do you even miss that? And if that’s not bad enough, don’t forget that Ray apparently had access to technology as a child that he did not have as an adult, so even if you buy their “near-future” narrative and give Ray a 90′s childhood, it still makes no sense.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    Also, with the whole Amanda thing– Amanda is Rayford’s *wife*. Rayford is currently flying Nicholae’s plane. Nicholae has frequently shown he cares for “his people”, bumping people like Rayford and Buck out of harm’s way. The *real* waste here is that two stammered words to Nicholae would be enough for Nicholae to say, yes, of course, your wife will be escorted to safety as promptly as possible, backed up with the full powers and resources of the Antichrist. Even if it weren’t the case Nicholae likes to make a show of his personal generousness in the face of genocide, though, you would have to be basically the worst evil overlord ever if you allowed the beloved of your *pilot* to be killed *while the pilot is flying your plane*. Even if he does not seek revenge, this will disrupt his ability to discharge his responsibilities as a pilot. And even if you DID have an evil overlord who callously shrugged as his underling’s wife is bumped off his personal plane, and into certain death– the laws of narrative force you to kind of make a *deal* of this, I.E., give Nicholae a chance to on camera be in a position to be aware that he is callously letting Mrs. Steele die, and wave aside, thus demonstrating both his indifference to life and his own self-destructive arrogance. Nicholae is setting himself up for a fall by damaging his own minions and you need to recognize that in the text.

  • aunursa

    In the first prequel, we flash 20-30 years to see Ray as a child, so were looking at late 60′s/early 70′s.

    Although Left Behind was published in 1995, I read somewhere that the authors consider that it takes place sometime during the first half of the 21st century.  The Rising begins 33 years before Left Behind.

  • aunursa

    Ray apparently had access to technology as a child that he did not have as an adult

    Reminds me of the difficulties in producing Star Trek: Enterprise, which was a prequel to the original series.

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

     “I’m gonna get that door open and you off this plane as soon as possible,” he said. “I’m not going to wait for the postflight checklist or anything”

    Oooh! What a renegade! Disregarding the post-flight checklist like that! That’s so…. wait, what’s a “postflight checklist”? What’s on it? How long does it actually take? 

  • Nomuse

    Only once can I remember that being used right in a recent work.  The Master (in Doctor Who, natch):  “Decimate them.  Kill one out of every ten.”

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 259 pages

  • GeniusLemur

     Kind of makes the super-computers Buck just bought redundant, doesn’t it? You know, the ones with with video conferencing and satellite links and video
    conferencing and oodles of computing power and video conferencing?

  • Anon

    Also when Puddy doesn’t care that Elaine’s hell-bound…

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Fallout: New Vegas also gets it right, but they kinda have to, what with one of the factions being completely obsessed with the Roman Empire.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Two things about this post remind me of other works of fiction (one better than this, one not):

    Rayford has this pattern of saying, “Just trust me,” or “I can’t tell you why” even when he very well could explain further.

    This sounds suspiciously like Jenkins is trying to pull a Don’t Tell The Captain What’s Going On, as seen on Star Trek: TNG and even, IIRC, Firefly. 

    The scene: Picard is somewhere that is not the bridge.  Riker calls him to the bridge not by telling him what’s going on, but by saying, “Captain, you should see this.”  So Picard goes to the bridge and he sees what is going on.  Thus Picard and the audience are surprised at the same time.

    On a TV show, it’s a perfectly acceptable way of showing instead of telling.  In this story, where we already know what’s going on, it just seems stupid.  And yes, like the sort of relationship “test” that jerks do.

    But then the guy had to be all snippy and rude and disrespectful.

    Shrug. Oh well. Now he’ll get what’s coming to him. He’ll soon see that he should have been more deferential and respectful to Tim LaHaye Rayford Steele.

    Heh, just like the train scene in Atlas Shrugged.  As hundred of people are about to die horrible deaths, Ayn Rand “reminds” us that each and every one of them deserves to die, because they hold political beliefs with which she disagrees.  So, fuck ‘em.

  • Monica Swanson

    The other possibility is that he was going for the humorous variation, where the most trivial consequence is listed last (known on TvTropes as “Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking”).

    Wait, no. Rayford is just an awful, awful fictional person.


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