NRA: We’re back in the car again

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 95-107

Buck Williams’ wife, Chloe, is trapped in the crumpled wreck of his Range Rover somewhere off the side of Lake Shore Drive. Buck is “walking quickly” to her side.

He’s already run more than a mile, and now:

There was no running left in him, despite his fear that she might be bleeding or in shock.

“I’m in the strangest place,” she said, and he sensed her fading.

She babbles on for a bit, “dreamily,” sounding “as if she were about to fall asleep.” She drifts in and out of consciousness and occasionally Buck hears “her groan painfully.” And he walks on. Briskly.

One odd thing about this whole Buck-searching-for-Chloe sequence is what does not happen in any of this. Buck doesn’t pray.

Chloe is in the car and Buck is in the tree … so where is the dinosaur?

The heroes of these books often make a show of pious prayer. Readers were even made to endure a multi-page silent prayer session in Bruce’s office in which their spiritual — and literal — groaning was at once, like a poorly written sex scene, overly explicit and helplessly vague. Buck and Rayford frequently pause to pray for guidance or divine protection or wisdom before meeting with their boss, the Antichrist, or before undertaking some more mundane task.

Yet here Buck hasn’t got a prayer.

That’s odd to me, since these are exactly the sorts of situations in which I’m most inclined to pray. I think that’s true for most people who believe in God even in the vaguest sense. Trekking on foot through a smoldering city, with scenes of devastation all around, many of us would reflexively be offering up some variation of the “God help those poor bastards” prayer. If I were desperate to find my injured wife and had no idea which direction to turn, I’m sure I’d be blurting out some form of your basic “A little help here!” prayer. And once I’d found out where she was and heard her weak, fading voice over the phone, my every sentence to her — “Hold on, I’m coming!” — would be accompanied by a pleading demand of a prayer making the same urgent request/command.

(In such dire situations, I confess, my prayers tend to sound a bit like those of Pedro Cerrano in Major League — “I’m pissed off now, Jobu. Look, I go to you. I stick up for you. You don’t help me now, I say ‘F–k you, Jobu.’ I do it myself …” — but these are still prayers. The book of Psalms, by the way, is filled with prayers very much like Cerrano’s.)

After that bit quoted above, with Buck having “no running left in him” even as “he sensed her fading,” I really expected the next lines to be Buck praying the beloved words of Isaiah 40:31 — “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” —  and then for him to feel suddenly energized, sprinting to Chloe’s side as though on eagle’s wings.

Such a direct, instantaneous answer to prayer might not seem realistic, but it would be more realistic than the idea that Buck Williams, a real, true evangelical Christian, would be in this situation without praying such a prayer.

So from page 96 through page 99 we get a phone conversation between Buck and a dazed, groggy Chloe in which she describes her predicament. And then on pages 102 and 103, Buck arrives and describes the same situation in much the same words.

Repetition, alas, does not provide clarity. Buck’s Adventure With the Range Rover and the Tree, which unfolds over the next several pages, depends on readers being able to picture this scene quite precisely, and Jerry Jenkins doesn’t give us much to go on.

We should give Jenkins points here for degree-of-difficulty. This sort of scene is not easy to pull off. It’s a kind of writing that almost requires one to story-board out the sequence as though you were preparing to film it. Unless the writer has a perfectly clear image of the scene in mind, there’s no way we readers will be able to get a clear picture of it in ours.

The Range Rover was lodged between the trunk and lower branches of a large tree and the concrete abutment. “Turn those lights off, hon!” Buck called out. “Let’s not draw attention to ourselves now.”

That bit about the lights and an upcoming little bit about Buck using a flashlight are the first indications we have that it’s nighttime. Maybe I missed some earlier clue, but it wasn’t until I got to the flashlight that I realized that Buck has been running/walking around in the dark this whole time.

Buck doesn’t want to draw the attention of rescue personnel for the same reason he was so evasive when speaking with them earlier. Readers are apparently supposed to understand what this reason might be, but I don’t. It seems to me that the attention of police, firefighters or EMTs is exactly what Chloe needs just now.

I suppose Buck’s reasoning is that all such emergency responders now work for the one-world government of the Global Community, and thus they are all in a sense in the employ of the Antichrist. But Buck is too. It also may be that he’s worried that while rescuing his ailing wife, those emergency personnel might stumble across the print-outs from Bruce’s hard drive in the back of the SUV. You know how it is after the nuclear destruction of a city — cops are on the prowl for reams of email print-outs that they can skim in search of potentially troubling theology. Rather than risk that, Buck decides it’s better to deny his wife professional medical assistance. Better safe than sorry.

The next paragraph gives us a slightly better picture of the scene, but only slightly:

The wheels of the vehicle pressed almost flat against the wall, and Buck was amazed that the tree could sustain the weight. Buck had to climb into the tree to look down through the driver’s-side window.

Here’s what I’ve got: The Range Rover is tilted onto its right side, with the passenger door facing the ground. The wheels of the SUV are touching a concrete wall of indeterminate height or purpose.

And there’s a tree. It’s large. Based on the apparent abundance of lower branches, I’m guessing it’s some kind of pine tree.

Is the passenger side of the SUV lying on the ground? Or is the vehicle suspended, somehow, in the branches of the tree? Maybe it’s tipped nearly onto its side, leaning partly against the “trunk and lower branches” of the tree? But no, the wheels are “almost flat against the wall,” and that would mean the side of the SUV is also almost flat against the ground, right? So in what way is the tree having to “sustain the weight”?

Chloe’s position is a bit clearer. She “seemed to be dangling from the seat belt” of the driver’s seat. The driver’s side window is facing up, but it’s closed. So we get half a page of Chloe painfully squirming to turn the ignition on so that she can open the window. (Those of us driving no-option, no-extras models with dependable manual windows are excused for feeling a little smug here.)

“Can you unlatch your seat belt without hurting yourself?”

“I’ll try, Buck, but I hurt all over. I’m not sure what’s broken and what isn’t.”

“Try to brace yourself somehow and get loose of that thing. Then you can stand on the passenger’s-side window and lower this one.”

Our image of the SUV comes a bit more into focus — flat on the ground on its right side. And I guess the roof of the car is pressed up against the tree somehow.

Chloe can’t get out of the seatbelt, but she does manage to get her window open.

Buck reached down with both hands to try to support her. “I was so worried about you,” he said.

“I was worried about me too,” Chloe said. “I think I took all the damage to my left side. I think my ankle’s broken, my wrist is sprained, and I feel pain in my left knee and shoulder.”

… “You’re not bleeding anywhere?”

“I don’t think so.”

“I hope you’re not bleeding internally.”

“Buck, I’m sure I’d be long gone by now if I were bleeding internally.”

“So you’re basically all right if I can get you out of there.”

Yeah, she’s fine.

This next bit I can actually picture, except for how the tree fits in:

Buck lay across the side of the nearly upended Range Rover and reached way down in to put one forearm under Chloe’s right arm and grab her waistband at the back with the other. He lifted as she pushed the seat belt button. She was petite, but with no foundation or way to brace himself it was all Buck could do to keep from dropping her. She moved her feet out from under the dashboard and stood gingerly. Her feet were on the passenger’s-side door, and her head now was near the steering wheel.

Apart from wondering how Buck grabs something with his forearm, I followed most of that. The SUV is lying on its right side. Buck is lying atop its left side. Still not sure about the tree, or how “nearly upended” is meant to describe “flat on its side,” but I think I know where Buck and Chloe are at this point.

Chloe begs for help getting out of the SUV she’s been trapped in for the last several hours:

“I really want out of here in a bad way, Buck. Can we get that door open, and can you help me climb?”

Buck responds to this direct request with some ill-advised banter:

“I just have one question for you first. Is this how our married life is going to be? I’m going to buy you expensive cars, and you’re going to ruin them the first day?”

“Normally that would be funny –”


And then Buck shows he wasn’t entirely kidding, because instead of opening the door and helping her climb out, he asks Chloe to give him the flashlight from the glove compartment so he can inspect the damage to his precious.

He looked all around the vehicle. The tires were still good. There was some damage to the front grille, but nothing substantial. He turned off the flashlight and slid it into his pocket. With much groaning and whimpering, Chloe came climbing out of the car, with Buck’s help.

As they both sat on the upturned driver’s side, Buck felt the heavy machine moving in its precarious position.

For just a second there I was sure I had a clear picture of the scene. The car is lying flat on its right side, Buck and Chloe are sitting on top of it. But no, that can’t be right, because it’s position must be “precarious,” and a boxy Range Rover lying on its side isn’t going to be “moving in its precarious position.”

Chloe decides its easier to “go two feet up to the top of the abutment” than to climb down from the top/side of the car, so I mentally readjust the height of said abutment, still wondering what it is that it’s abutting, while Buck gives Chloe a boost up onto the top of the wall — wherever that may be and whatever might be up there.

And here I completely lose track of Jenkins’ storyboard:

When she made the last thrust with her good leg, the Range Rover shifted just enough to loosen itself from the wickedly bent tree branches. The tree and the Range Rover shuddered and began to move. “Buck! Get out of there! You’re going to be crushed!”

Buck was spread-eagled on the side of the Range Rover that had been facing up. Now it was shifting toward the abutment, the tires scraping and leaving huge marks on the concrete. The more Buck tried to move, the faster the vehicle shifted, and he realized he had to stay clear of that wall to survive. He grabbed the luggage rack as it moved toward him and pulled himself to the actual top of the Range Rover. Branches snapped free from under the vehicle and smacked him in the head, scraping across the car. The more the car moved, the more it seemed to want to move, and to Buck that was good news — provided he could keep from falling. First the car moved, then the tree moved, then both seemed to readjust themselves at once. …

And, like Buck, I’m struggling to readjust as well to my ever-shifting attempt to picture what’s going on here.

… Buck guessed that the Range Rover, once free of the pressure from the branches, had about three feet to drop to the ground. He only hoped it would land flat. It didn’t.

The car was suspended off the ground? That’s something Jenkins might have mentioned earlier.

The heavy vehicle, left tires pressed against the concrete and several deeply bowed branches pushing it from the right side, began slipping to the right. Buck buried his head in his hands to avoid the springing out of those branches as the Range Rover fell clear of them. They nearly knocked him into the wall again. Once the Range Rover was free of the pressure of the branches, it lurched down onto its right side tires and nearly toppled. Had it rolled that way, it would have crushed him into the tree. But as soon as those tires hit the ground, the whole thing bounced and lurched, and the left tires landed just free of the concrete. The momentum made the left side of the vehicle smash into the concrete, and finally it came to rest. Less than an inch separated the vehicle from the wall now, but there the thing sat on uneven ground.

I’m willing to give Jenkins the benefit of the doubt here and guess that repeated close and slow readings of this scene might yield some coherent sequence of physical events. I’d bet that if we gave him a half hour, some graph paper, a white board and some miniature models, he could walk us through all of that and show us what he was imagining in a way that made sense.

Or maybe not. But even if I don’t understand how we wound up here, I think I understand this part:

Except for the damage to the front grille and the scrapes on both sides, one from concrete and one from tree branches, the car looked little the worse for wear.

And it still runs. Buck climbs in and slides behind the wheel … but, oh no! — now the SUV is trapped in a rut. The adventure continues:

The Rover was in automatic and four-wheel drive. When he tried to go forward it seemed he was in a rut. He quickly switched to stick shift and all-wheel drive, gunned the engine, and popped the clutch. Within seconds he was free of the tree and out onto the sand.

And readers, too, are back on familiar ground as Jenkins settles back into the Cliff-Claven-esque narration we’ve come to expect. (“Ya see, dere, Sammy. When you get stuck like that, whatcha need ta do is switch to stick-shift and all-wheel drive, then pop the clutch. Works like a chahm …”)

The top of the abutment turns out to be an overpass. Like the Range Rover, Lake Shore Drive, the (pine?) tree, and the rest of Chicago, the overpass is “little the worse for wear” after the nuclear bombs, so Buck drives up onto it and helps get Chloe back in  the car.

He fastened her seat belt and was on the phone before he got back into the car.

Of course he was, but here he has a good reason — calling Loretta to “call around and find any doctor in the church” to tend to Chloe once they arrive.

Buck tried to drive carefully so as not to exacerbate Chloe’s pain. However, he knew the shortest way home. When he got to the huge barrier at Michigan Avenue on the LSD, he swung left and …

Yeah, ya see dere, Norm, the most direct route isn’t always the shortest. Now to someone who doesn’t know the area as well as I do, it might seem like you’d want to swing right there, but …

And on like that, for half a page more. It’s almost, but not quite, as thrilling as reading directions from Google Maps.


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  • aunursa

    Here’s the same poll question (with results) from the Left Behind website online newsletter.  Alas, it doesn’t indicate the total number of votes, but it was taken in 2007 (when Kingdom Come was published) at a time when the LB website presumably received exponentially more traffic that the site of the other poll…

    Who is your favorite character in the series?
    Buck Williams: 39%
    Rayford Steele: 24%
    Chloe Steele/Williams: 16%
    Chaim Rosenzweig: 6%
    Nicolae Carpathia: 4%
    Abdulla Ababneh: 2%
    Hattie Durham: 1%
    Irene Steele: 1%
    Leon Fortunato: 0%
    Viv Ivins: 0%
    Other: 6%

  • Trixie_Belden

    Indeed.  Sad to say, based on what I’ve heard about the rest of the series, tree-Jesus is much more helpful than actual-Jesus.  We also can’t forget the amazingly perfect placement of the abutment wall, which is placed so that it is far enough away that it does not stop the progress of the car as it slides down the branches, but close enough to serve as a stabilizer for the car when it hits the ground and bounces and lurches and smacks into the concrete on its left, then finally comes to rest.
    Buck is clearly more impressed by the miracle of getting the car back in drivable condition than his is by finding his wife alive and in fairly good shape after a close brush with a (nuclear?) bomb blast.  

  • Tricksterson

    Maybe the tree helped her because Chloe is secretly a druidess?

  • Ken

    I though it might be helpful to review the collision, so scrolled back to it – which is mid-September in Slacktiverse time, and forty pages (!) ago in NRA time.  There was a high-speed chase offscreen, and all we heard was what Chole relayed to Buck over the phone (of course), ending with:

    But then he heard an explosion, tires squealing, a scream, and silence.

    So not too much help with the accident scene. 

    I do find the explosion intriguing – was this the sound of a perhaps-nuclear bomb blowing the car off the road?  Apparently, yet the cell phone keeps working, and as we’ve just seen the car wasn’t that badly damaged.

  • lalouve

    We have the same mother, clearly….

  • Oh look, an opinion poll circulated as proof of fact.

  • aunursa

    Online polls are not scientific.  I posted the results of this poll, and the previous poll on this thread, for fun — and to note that many Left Behind fans love and respect the very characters that we find repulsive.

    [aunursa rolls his eyes]

  • J_Enigma32

    “Kingdom Come, this verse is a literal prophecy of how after the
    Tribulation, believers will be able to run faster than fully loaded SUVs
    without feeling any sense of physical fatigue.”

    It’s cute that they need a Rapture to accomplish that.

    Granted, you won’t be running *faster* than an SUV, but you’ll be able to sprint for fifteen minutes straight before you need to breathe once, and you won’t feel tired at all.

    And if you define “run”, I *can* have you running almost as fast. Renee in the Blue Pimpernel has material on the bottom of her shoes (it’s a type of stealth rubber) that allows her preform a “bounding sprint,” sort of like what a gazelle does, that lets her keep up with vehicles that are moving at side-street speeds. And she can stick to any surface regardless what it is (perfectly polished glass or brick and mortar).

    I find it depressing that they need fantasy to accomplish this stuff that’s obviously possible using real world science.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    That seems unnecessarily narky. Can you two get a blog or something to pick at each other because your multi-year fight is not actually that much fun to watch.

  • O_O

    Wow. Jenkins really, really, really seriously hates women. What the everloving… Buck checks the car first?! He can’t comfort his wife in the slightest? I wonder if Chloe’s movement that caused the car to almost smush Buck was entirely accidental…

    This is not how human beings behave! Chloe should be sobbing and begging for help (pain and terror), Buck should be trying to comfort and help her (love and terror), and after she’s out, they should both be crying on each other’s shoulders in happiness that neither of them is dead. 

    And this should be told from CHLOE’S perspective. She’s the one with the most to lose, she’s the one going through the most, ergo, she’s the one who needs to be the viewpoint character so long as she’s able to be coherent, which she obviously is. Ridiculously coherent for the amount of pain she must be in. 

    Also there needs to be more danger while this is going on — fuel leak? Evil minions following Buck? Another nuclear strike coming? But the plot-failure is lesser than the humanity-failure, which just keeps getting worse in these horrible wastes of paper.

  • Aunursa likes to post opinion polls as if they prove deeply important things all the time. Some of us have developed an immediate allergic reaction when we see aunursa post an opinion poll. More than one person is having a multi-year fight with aunursa over this. Personally, I’ve gotten to the point where I just scroll past every single thing aunursa posts — I have multiple reasons, but his unremitting barrage of opinion polls is near the top of the list.

    Imo, there is no such thing as being unnecessarily snarky at aunursa about opinion polls, unless one starts to threaten violence or something.

  • Jenkins can’t successfully describe pushing a button with his level of writing skill.

    Maybe not, but he can sure describe using the telephone.  He has no problem with describing that over and over again.

  • quietglow

     See, already pagan idolatree springs up around Treesus.

  • It’s interesting though, to see how many people love and respect characters that are clearly meant to be repulsive. I want to meet the 11% of PMD fans of the series who loved Nicolae Carpathia the most.

    I’m also interested in learning how they picked the options for their poll — Viv Ivins and Irene Steele are basically nonentities outside of the prequels; Viv does appear in the main series but she doesn’t really do anything noteworthy or interesting, and her role could easily be merged with Leon’s. 

    They left off David Hassid too, who was actually a viewpoint character, or even important early characters like Bruce Barnes.

  • aunursa

    The fight is mostly his.  I LIKED and expressed support for one of his comments earlier on this thread.  I try not to hold grudges.

  • aunursa

    It’s worse than that.  These characters are not meant to be repulsive.  They’re meant to be admirable.

  • Lori


    I want to meet the 11% of PMD fans of the series who loved Nicolae Carpathia the most.  

    I think you have. Isn’t he Ruby’s favorite, for values of “favorite” that apply to books Ruby reads to mock them?

  • “Turn off the lights!” … It’s a freaking war zone out there, after all.

    Ooh, I know this! I learned it from Bugs Bunny! In a city during a war you have to turn all your lights out!

    … well, it makes as much sense as any other theory.

  • Here’s the same poll question (with results) from the Left Behind website online newsletter.

    Whoa, this must be a mistake.  Bruce Almighty didn’t make the list?

  • Oh, no. He wasn’t good enough as an author avatar. Only Tsion Ben-Judah is worthy.

    (Seriously, have you noticed all the stuff Brucey and Tsion say are basically what LaHaye would probably say? Only Bruce is $GENERIC_PASTOR and Tsion is that cool awesome Jew who discovered Jesus. The unfortunate implications about putting a Jewish person in that position seems to have utterly escaped L&J.)

  • spinetingler

    “four-wheel drive…all-wheel drive”

    I’m not the biggest gear-head, but aren’t those the same thing?

    (unless the FLRR suddenly grew an extra set of wheels…)

  • But Bruce was one of THE Tribulation Force!  The writer of the 5000-page epistle that’s going to change the world!  The first one of the Good Guys to get killed off!  I thought they’d have a shrine to him by now.  Heck, even the stupidly-named Viv got a mention.

  • depizan

    After this sequence, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it grew legs and went waltzing off into the night humming to itself.

  • As it has been explained to me, “four wheel drive” refers to the driver’s ability to shift power between the front and rear axle, whereas “all wheel drive” refers to the transmission’s ability to allocate power differentially among all four wheels.

    I have no idea if that actually makes sense.

  • I remember snarking that and actually there is apparenly a slight difference: all-wheel drive doesn’t require being parked and moving a switch (and in some cases, fiddling with something on the wheels of a car or truck) to engage the four-wheel drive mode.

  • aunursa

    This poll was taken in 2007.  Bruce had died 11 years and 13 books ago.  The readers have short memories.

  • Ken

     Well obviously Buck would insist on the ability to switch to all-wheel drive without stopping.  He probably got the big buttons on the steering wheel that let the car jump obstacles, extrude tire spikes for ice traction, drive underwater, and deploy whirling saw blades to cut through barriers.

  • CharityB

     I meant Nicolae Carpathia. We’re meant to like Buck and Rayford, but I assumed that Jenkins wanted us to hate Carpathia. The fact that 10% of respondents liked and respected him the most of any character is interesting; the fact that he was even included in all these polls is moreso — whoever came up with the poll must have realized, on some level, that Carpathia is essentially the protagonist of the series (in the sense that his actions drive the plot).

  • Lori

    I have no religious beliefs and yet somehow I feel certain that comparing Buckaroo to Speed Racer is sacrilege.

  • Lori


    Bruce had died 11 years and 13 books ago.  The readers have short memories.  

    I don’t think one has to suffer from a particularly short memory to have forgotten a character who was a boring non-entity who died 13 mind-numbing books ago.

  • PatBannon

    I’m with you on this. You’re not citing these statistics as irrefutable proof of your theory, you’re citing them because these are the only data we have and we might as well have a look at them.

  • This poll was taken in 2007.  Bruce had died 11 years and 13 books ago.

    Hmph.  Irene wasn’t even in the story at all!  Or did she come back to life by then?

  • aunursa

    In a sense Irene Steele did come back to life.  Irene plays a central role in all three prequels, which were published in 2005 and 2006.  In The Rapture, readers view L&J’s concept of what heaven will be like from her perspective.

  • Buck with a JamesBondMobile somehow simultaneously amuses and terrifies me.

  • I also want to know why Buc is so much more popular than Rayford. Both characters suck, but Rayford’s character is slightly less shallow than Buck’s (the scene where Rayford comes home to find his wife and son gone is probably the only genuinely evocative piece of writing in the entire series — literally, the book goes downhill from that point, and there was at least a small amount of dramatic tension with the whole Hattie love affair thing) and Rayford is usually in the same room as characters who are doing something interesting (unlike Buck, who is almost always on the phone, or at his desk, or in the bathroom, or on a plane). 

    I don’t think one has to suffer from a particularly short memory to have forgotten a character who was a boring non-entity who died 13 mind-numbing books ago.

    Besides, Tsion Ben Judah is basically the same person anyway. Really, this is a classic example of that thing they used to do on old sitcoms where, when a main actor leaves the show, they replace his character with another character that fills the same narrative role. “Spin City” did this, with Michael J. Fox and Charlie Sheen, and the Andy Griffith Show replaced Gomer Pyle with another guy who was exactly the same as him. 

    (Jenkins leans on this trope a lot; in a little while he’ll unleash a bloodbath that makes George R.R. Martin seem sentimental and attached, but you will barely notice because he always replaces a dead character with a functionally identical replacement within a few chapters at the most. Because Heaven forbid the Tribulation Force have to experience any sense of loss or sacrifice during the end of time!)

  • aunursa

    For readers who are choosing their favorite character between Rayford and Buck, it would not even occur to them that one is slightly less shallow than the other.  These fans picture themselves in these roles.  Younger readers may identify with 30-ish Buck more than 40-ish Rayford.  Many readers may fantasize about Buck as the more glamourous, more adventurous, James Bond-type role.  (I’m not suggesting that L&J’s GIRAT is in any way like James Bond, but that many readers would view Buck in that role.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    So…Tsion Ben Judah’s our new goldfish?

  • depizan

    ” many readers view Buck as a globe-trotting spy.”

    Where’s that Picard and Riker double face palm pic when you really need it.

  • Fair enough. I can understand why readers would like them; I was just surprised that the more dynamic character is less favored. I mean, even the authors seem to like Rayford more — he is the only one who makes it to the very end. 

    (I’m not suggesting that L&J’s GIRAT is in any way like James Bond, but that many readers view Buck as a globe-trotting spy.)

    That does make sense though. It could be a scenario in which perception actually replaces reality. Rayford, the jet-setting (no pun intended) commercial airline pilot and personal chauffeur to the Antichrist, is much more of a globe-trotter and a spy than Buck is that this point. I can definitely buy that Buck might be more relatable to younger audiences.

    Although to be honest it’s hard to tell that Rayford and Buck are supposed to be from different generations since every character has the same narrative voice, worldview, even speech patterns — it’s almost like the moment you learn to speak you metamorphose into a mid-50s Midwestern WASP, regardless of your age or background.)

    So…Tsion Ben Judah’s our new goldfish?

    Pretty much. And Tsion is actually a subtle example of this since he was introduced a while before Bruce died and had another narrative function. 

  • aunursa

    I mean, even the authors seem to like Rayford more — he is the only one who makes it to the very end.

    Jerry Jenkins was the one who determined which of the original Tribulation Force characters survived to the end.  During an interview after Book #10, Jenkins indicated that he had determined which character would survive at some earlier point.  It’s interesting that LaHaye’s stand-in is the one who survives, while Jenkins’ stand-in is the last RTC to die before the end.

    While reading the series, I always assumed that Rayford would be the one to survive … primarily because he was the first character introduced in Book #1.  And Rayford seemed to be the central character around whom others revolved. Chloe is introduced as Rayford’s daughter. Buck meets Chloe through Rayford. And Rayford is considered the senior member and leader of the TF.  Therefore, even if Jenkins had not made a fatal error (no pun intended) at the end of Book #11*, I would have guessed that Rayford was the one who survived.

    * Book #11 ends with the cliffhanger, “With no blood pumping, no air moving, he fell limp and died.”  And the reader is left to guess whether it’s Buck or Rayford.  However, shortly before the ending, Buck is described as “mortally wounded”, while Rayford is “gravely wounded.”

  • Kiba

    Where’s that Picard and Riker double face palm pic when you really need it.


  • Kiba

    I was in a car accident a few years back (totaled our car but the guys who hit us…theirs was fine) and walked away with a marvelous bruise from the seat belt (went from left shoulder down to lower right rib) and a fractured sternum (damn thing still pops and grinds sometimes when I stretch). It took me over two weeks before I could raise my hands higher than my waist.  

  • banancat

    Honestly, Buck and Rayford are so similar in their awfulness that I still have trouble remembering which is which. I haven’t followed these posts since the beginning, but it has been over a year and I frequently get their names mixed up.

  • Rayford is the fully-loaded pilot. Buck is the greatest doer-of-anything of all time. :P

  • Tricksterson

    Yet, you’ve unintentionally made me conflate him with bauckaroo banzai.  Curse you Lori the Lorypus!  Curse you!

  • Tricksterson

    Or how about on the phone at his dexk which is in the bathroom of a plane?  The ultimate Buck Williams scene!

    Hey!  At least Gomer got his own spinoff.

  • Lori

    I am so sorry. I somehow failed to notice that when I typed it. Lord, dissing both Speed Racer and Buckaroo Banzai in one thread. Will the evils wrought by LB never cease?

  • Launcifer

    Look on the bright side: we could be in the dimension where Buck was gunned down by evil atheists in book two and subsequently rebuilt as a cyborg knight templar.

    Actually, that might still have made for a better story than the one we got.

  • Lori

    That would absolutely be a better story than the one we got. Cyborg knight templar is legitimately awesome and definitely better than being just another self-involved jerk with delusions of grandeur.

    If the cyborg knight was the villain in either an episode of Speed Racer or a new Buckaroo Banzai movie that would be totally made of win.

  • Tricksterson

    Not to mention that it would mean something had actually happened in Book 2 (Besides Bruce dying offscreen)