NRA: One tough coroner

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 111-113

Chapter 6 begins with a quiet scene. Buck Williams relaxes after breakfast as he plans Sunday’s service at New Hope Village Church:

Buck sat bleary-eyed at the breakfast table, his ear stinging and his rib cage tender. Only he and Loretta were up. She was heading to the church office after having been assured she would not have to handle the arrangements for Bruce’s body or for the memorial service, which would be part of Sunday morning’s agenda. Verna Zee was asleep in a small bedroom in the finished basement. “It feels so good to have people in this place again,” Loretta said. “Y’all can stay as long as you need to or want to.”

Taken on its own, that’s a capable little portrait of ordinary life at Loretta’s house in the Chicago suburbs.

But coming after the previous five chapters, this scene is stark raving bonkers.

The previous chapters don’t allow any possibility for ordinary life in the Chicago suburbs. The previous chapters seemed to blow ordinary life to smithereens. Yet Jerry Jenkins carries on as though nothing has changed, catching readers up on all sorts of mundane details about the accommodations at Loretta’s house, the plans for Bruce’s funeral, and Buck’s joy over his new “deluxe universal cell phone.”

This is one of many places in this book where I had to stop reading and flip back to double-check what I’d read earlier to make sure I hadn’t imagined it all.

Isn’t World War III going on? The red horse of the apocalypse? And didn’t the Antichrist just destroy Chicago with nuclear weapons?

Flip flip flip. Hmmm. Yeah, it says that’s what happened. But like so many things in these books, it both happened and also didn’t happen. It’s as though everything we just read in the previous chapters was all a dream.

“We’re grateful,” Buck said. “Amanda may sleep till noon, but then she’ll get right on those arrangements with the coroner’s office. Chloe didn’t sleep much with that ankle cast. She’s dead to the world now, though, so I expect her to sleep a long time.”

Buck had used the dining-room table to put back in order all the pages from Bruce’s transcripts that had been strewn throughout the back of the Range Rover. He had a huge job ahead of him, checking the text and determining what would be best for reproduction and distribution. …

Jenkins’ tone is so blandly matter-of-fact that we can almost be lulled into following along. He seems to have so utterly forgotten World War III that its tempting to forget it ourselves.

But then we keep tripping over all the impossibilities Jenkins lays out in front of us. Such as Amanda making “arrangements with the coroner’s office.”

The coroner’s office is in downtown Chicago.

Downtown Chicago was just struck with multiple nuclear missiles.

PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to the nuclear assault on the city Tuesday, Wednesday’s regularly scheduled trash collection will be postponed until Thursday. All city and county offices will be open Wednesday. All city high schools will have a two-hour delay. Elementary schools will remain closed due to disintegration of all pupils 19 months ago.

It seems unlikely that the coroner’s office would be open today. Amanda might as well be trying to call the coroner’s office on Alderaan.

But OK, let’s try to get past that. We’ve been told that these nuclear missiles are some kind of special, non-radioactive weapon. Let’s interpret that to mean that these bombs are really small, such that maybe multiple such non-atomic atomic explosions in downtown Chicago left the coroner’s office intact.

So let’s just make a huge leap. Let’s just assume that the coroner was not killed in the attack, that the coroner’s downtown office was not damaged, that Bruce’s body was transported there without delay or incident despite the bombing, that the phone lines and power for the office continue to function as they did before the attack, that the coroner himself and all of his staff managed to make their way through all the debris and devastation to get to the building and that now, today — one day after the Antichrist’s military nuked the city of Chicago — the Cook County Office of the Medical Examiner is open for business during regular office hours.

That’s a huge leap, but we still have problems. Bruce Barnes was killed in the first brief wave of conventional bombing, in which dozens of other people also died. That single mass-casualty incident at the hospital in Arlington Heights would be enough to completely overwhelm the coroner’s staff for weeks to come. But again, that single incident was followed just hours later by the nuclear destruction of O’Hare International Airport, and then still later by the non-radioactive nuclear attack on downtown Chicago mentioned above.

So even if we make the huge leap to say that the coroner is alive, that the coroner’s office was not destroyed, and that the office is now open for business with working electricity and phones, it still seems unlikely that anyone there would be willing or able to answer those phones. They may be a little too busy dealing with the million or more casualties in the area that have occurred since Bruce died.

That context also makes everything we’re told there about “Sunday morning’s agenda” at the church seem utterly wrong.

The events that have just occurred are not the sort of thing that one should plan to address in the upcoming Sunday service. It is, rather, the sort of thing that means you need to get your butt to the church, immediately, to start coordinating all the search-and-rescue, grief-counseling, blood donation, bandage-rolling, information sharing, vigil praying, candle-lighting, food and water distributing, etc., that anyone connected with that church will and must be doing for several days without taking any breaks for Sunday services or sleep.

It simply doesn’t occur to Buck, or to the authors, that anyone from the congregation other than Bruce might have been killed in World War III. They keep reciting that bit from Revelation 6 about the horsemen of the Apocalypse now riding forth — “And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword …” — but it seems that power was not given unto them over the fourth part of New Hope Village Church.

This is partly yet another example of the authors’ general principle that non-named characters do not matter, but I think it also has to do with some weird notion that I can’t quite grasp having to do with the city and its suburbs. The effect of the nuclear strikes on Chicago seems to have confined itself to the city limits. NHVC is in the suburbs, and therefore is unscathed — not because it’s further removed from the blast radius of the attacks, but because the suburbs, by definition, cannot be harmed by an attack on downtown.

Since New Hope is a suburban congregation, Buck is not worried that anyone from the church might have been harmed in the bombing. And I suppose the suburban people of New Hope have only suburban friends and suburban relatives. So Bruce’s is the only funeral they need to worry about. And they can let those downtown, urban churches deal with the recent unpleasantness in the city itself.

Yes, yes, you’re surely thinking, enough already about the millions of people killed or injured in the bombing. What about the really important stuff? What about the phones? What happened to all those cell phones Chloe bought just before the attacks? Were they damaged in the crash?

OK, maybe you weren’t thinking that. But Jerry Jenkins seems to think we all were, so he takes pains to reassure us:

[Buck] laid out the five deluxe universal cell phones Chloe had bought. Fortunately, they had been packed in spongy foam and had survived her accident.

Phew. Countless people are dead, but the phones are OK. Better than OK — they’re deluxe.

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.

After Loretta left for the church, Buck rummaged for batteries, then quickly taught himself the basics from the instruction manual and tried his first phone call.

The call is to his old friend Ken Ritz, the charter pilot we met back in the first book. He hires Ritz to fly him to Israel, because now that Bruce Barnes is dead, he needs to go pick up Tsion Ben-Bruce’s replacement.

If I were Buck, I wouldn’t buy a round-trip ticket. He should have moved to Israel 18 months ago.

Tim LaHaye’s premillennial dispensationalist “Bible prophecy” timeline is cobbled together mostly from the books of Daniel and Revelation. The two books are the same genre — they’re both apocalypses — but the PMD effort to mush them together into a single narrative doesn’t really work.

Granted, one imperial tyrant who sets himself up as God is pretty much the same as any other imperial tyrant who sets himself up as God, and Daniel and Revelation are both about life under such tyrants. But Daniel is about Israel struggling under the reign of one regional empire while Revelation is about the church struggling under the reign of a global (to them) empire. Treating these two different stories about two different communities under two different empires as all one big “prophecy” produces some strange results.

Thus we get LaHaye’s timeline, in which the Antichrist establishes a one-world government, ruling over all the world with an iron fist … except for Israel. Israel can’t be part of the Antichrist’s OWG because LaHaye’s prophecy also says that Israel has to make a peace treaty with the Antichrist. The signing of this treaty, LaHaye says, marks the beginning of the seven-year “Great Tribulation.”

LaHaye says that the Antichrist will break this treaty and betray Israel exactly half-way through those seven years, but he says until that betrayal, the treaty guarantees peace and prosperity for Israel. In other words, during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation, places like Chicago will experience the tyranny of the Antichrist along with war, pestilence, famine, locusts, etc. But for those three and a half years, Israel is sitting pretty.

War may be riding forth on his red horse, but according to LaHaye’s timeline, he can’t ride forth on Israel yet — the only sovereign nation remaining in the world has got another couple of years still left on its treaty.

Buck shouldn’t be planning a quick trip to Israel, he should move there, for at least the next two years.

 

  • Will Hennessy

    WooHoo! Left Behind Fridays! Finally!

  • aunursa

    I want to put in a plug for Mouse’s
    Musings
    .

     

    For the past 2 1/2 years, Mouse, a commenter here, has been
    discussing (mostly snarking) Left Behind: The Kids Series on
    her blog.  The events of the Kids series
    parallel those of the Left Behind series, and there are cameo appearances by
    such figures as Brave Sir Rayford, the GIRAT, and Tsion (whom she refers to as
    “Token Jew”.)  Based on her
    pace of 2-3 chapters per post, Mouse is already near the end of what is the
    equivalent of Book #5 in Left Behind.   I
    hope that you will take a look at her work and join the discussion on the next
    thread.

  • aunursa

    these phones had everything, including the ability to take calls anywhere in the world, due to a built-in satellite chip.

    “Well, gee, that sure would have come in handy on my last business trip.”
    – Chuck Noland, Fed-Ex Systems Analyst

    “You’re telling me.”
    –Wilson, volleyball

    “Chuck, you need to think fourth-dimensionally.  If you’d been rescued on Day Two, Helen Hunt wouldn’t have gotten together with the dentist guy from Law & Order, and their little girl would have been erased from existence.  Along with your Academy Award® nomination.”
    – Robert Zemeckis, Director

  • Launcifer

    You know what? I read that last couple of paragraphs and it suddenly occurred to me that old Nicolae is pretty much the only character in the books who does precisely what he says he’s going to do. And in double-quick time, too. Hell, he honours his treaties even – perhaps especially - when they don’t serve to benefit him directly or further his goals, all because it’s written down in some weird divine mandate. This guy isn’t the antichrist: he’s electable. I’d do unspeakable things to have a candidate like him appear on my ballot paper.

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

    I think Jenkins’ inability to realize the probable results of the disaster he is describing reflects at least one of his sources. Doesn’t the book of Revelation say that 1/3 of the stars will fall to Earth. Can you imagine the effect of one, let alone one third of, all the stars in our galaxy rushing toward Earth? And yet people seem to keep perking along, some of them, anyway. An author who was able to think through a long chain of probabilities would have rejected Revelations as soothsaying to begin with , and realized it was another sort of book.

  • Will Hennessy

    “Phew. Countless people are dead, but the phones are OK. Better than OK — they’re deluxe.”

    Classic…

  • Ken

    Speaking of flipping back a few pages:

    his ear stinging and his rib cage tender

    Did I miss something, or is this some tree-related injury?

    As for Chicago separate from the suburbs – I’m a Chicagoland (western suburbs) resident, and we would definitely notice if Chicago stopped operating.  We get our electricity and water from there…

  • quietglow

    You could spend a book on how some random guy tries to deliver the body.  He picks one up at random from the rows outside the hospital (“this one looks like a Bruce!”) and wraps it up, he drives it nowhere because the entire street is full of emergency vehicles, he drags it across lawns and blocks to a car, he heaves it in, he drives half a block to a crater. This is the one thing he can do, that he’s set on doing. Somehow it makes everything narrow to a size he can cope with. Somehow it is him and his futile, ghoulish, rewardless task. The destruction, and the dead, and someone who so desperately wants this guy home they ask the impossible. Who is it? He cannot imagine. He has not enough mind to spare on imagination, even remembering yesterday before the sky fell in on his home. He cannot give in. He feels he might as well lie down by him and die if he gives in; he has nothing left. 

    He cannot stop his work. Somewhere around suburbia he gets a truck, but then he stops before a fallen telephone pole. By that point the body is unrecognisable and its wrappings have shredded to the point where he just can’t move it alone anymore. He looks down the street. He sees a cross rising high above the road. He looks down at the former shell of a human barely visible through the shrouds, all the person it was passed on. He goes down the street, pushes open the door, starts the only thing he can think to say. “Thanks,” says a guy who can barely look up from his pamphlet, “you’re a miracle worker. You know what the trip did to my truck? If you just bring Pastor Barnes’ body that last bit-” 

    The door is already swinging shut. He goes back and stands over the body. He feels sympathy, he knows every bit of the difficulty the poor corpse has seen. He cannot picture giving up the body to that place after that journey, but he has so little strength left. He pushes it gently under a rosebush and drags mulch around it. The house in front of him is empty. He finds a sheet.

    If anyone does realize he’s delivered some wrapped-up garbage, no one ever brings it up. 

    “You know,” Bruce is saying to Jesus, “it wasn’t such a bad little church. Wish they’d hurry it up here, I can’t wait to see everyone again.”

  • Jay

    these phones had everything, including the ability to take calls anywhere in the world, due to a built-in satellite chip.

    Because the best precaution to take, when dealing with a homicidal global dictator, is to keep a trackable phone handy at all times.

  • quietglow

     Four of them. He might need a backup.

    I mean, you might.

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

    Buck had used the dining-room table to put back in order all the pages
    from Bruce’s transcripts that had been strewn throughout the back of the
    Range Rover.

    Just… gluh… WHAT

    He’s going to put five thousand frakkin’ pages back in order when the PRINT command from DOS doesn’t tell the printer to paginate?

    Christ, Buck, forget the Author Tome to beat all Tomes! Get the super-duper-deluxe phones working, grab your bug-out bag, and get away from there!

    I just cannot brain this level of dreck. I mean, explosives generally don’t obey city markers, so why on Earth Jenkins thinks he can write pre-Disaster events occurring post-Disaster I don’t even frakkin’ know.

  • Damanoid

    Clearly the default assumption here is that the holy force field protecting Israel from nuclear attack is also extended to suburban white neighborhoods everywhere.

    Also: THE PHONES!  Praise God, THE PHONES HAVE ARRIVED!  This really never gets old for them, does it?  Jenkins and LaHaye are possibly the worst post-Apocalypse planners who have ever weighed in on the subject.  Their entire survival scheme hinges on a fully intact and operating telecommunications industry. 

    The Mad Max movies, “Night of the Living Dead,” “The Day After;” “Blair Witch Project”… all these sorts of films must be incomprehensible to these two.  “But… why don’t they just call someone?  Where are THE PHONES?”

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

    The best part of sheer unthinking irony on the part of L&J is when they trash the GC for putting up… wait for it…

    Cell Phone Towers

    after the bigass world earthquake.

    That’s right, folks. Rayford and Buck sneer at the GC for the very thing Buck so fervently wants.

    They’re just ungrateful shites because Nicolae thought of phones FIRST.

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

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 235 pages

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The previous chapters don’t allow any possibility for ordinary life in the Chicago suburbs. The previous chapters seemed to blow ordinary life to smithereens. Yet Jerry Jenkins carries on as though nothing has changed, catching readers up on all sorts of mundane details about the accommodations at Loretta’s house, the plans for Bruce’s funeral, and Buck’s joy over his new “deluxe universal cell phone.”

    This had me think, that whatever else you think about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it knows how to give a “war has just broken out in our back porch” kind of presentation and make it work.  

    Watch the first two minutes of this for an example.

  • DorothyD
  • banancat

    Clearly, L&J believe cell phones work by magic.  I have a good cell phone company and I generally get good service.  But about a year and a half ago, there was that minor earthquake centered near DC.  There were no fatalities and little property damage, and still I couldn’t get a cell phone call through because there was just too much traffic.  I don’t care how many magic satellite chips these super deluxe cell phones have; there’s no way it would work reliably when every person would be trying to call others after an event with such a high death toll.  Maybe the deluxe phones actually give them some kind of special priority where their little data packets go through before everyone else’s because that’s what money and power and whiteness and maleness get them in every other case, so why should it be different for phones?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I always liked the theory that what was in that pegasus box was 200 feet of nylon rope, a loaded flare gun, three boxes of waterproof matches and a satellite phone with solar charger. Also a solar-powered CD player and copy of “Listen to the Relaxing Sounds of the Ocean Surf” so that if nothing else, he could kick back and enjoy the irony.

  • TheBrett

    Remember when we thought Buck buying a car instead of taking one off the road was bizarre? It only gets worse.

  • Dogfacedboy

    “Bruce Barnes was killed in the first brief wave of conventional bombing, in which dozens of other people also died.”

    Oh, I see.  The coroner’s office is processing them in the order in which they died.  So Bruce is good to go, and New Hope Village Church can stick to their Sunday agenda.

  • Some Guy Who Hates Pants

    laid out the five deluxe universal cell phones Chloe had bought….. but these phones had everything, including the ability to take calls anywhere in the world, due to a built-in satellite chip.

    Okay I need some helping scoring this.  First I want to give the authors some points for finally showing some improved technology in a story set “in the near future” They finally have something that is mor technologicaly advanced then what was common when the stories were written*.
    But I really think I must take some points off for the wonky terminology and tech here.  Is the phone a cellular phone and a satellite phone at the same time or doesn’t Jenkins know the difference?  The phrase satellite chip smacks of someone who doesn’t understand tech, oh a comuter chip inserted into something makes it work better. Never mind that you would need an antenna a receiver and transmitter, a simple “chip” is all you need

  • hidden_urchin

    Amanda: “Hi, um, I need to make arrangements to have Bruce Barnes released to the Mount Prospect Funeral Home.  He was killed in the attack on the hospital.”

    Coroner’s Assistant: “I’m so sorry but we won’t be able to do tha–”

    Amanda: “What do you mean?  I- I don’t understand. Why can’t I get my friend?”

    Coroner’s Assistant: “All we’re doing here now is keeping a record of the deceased…at least, when we can ID them.  There are just- just so many of them…we have to bury or burn them where they died.  I’m so sorry.  We just can’t risk a disease outbreak now.  Not after everything else.  I’m so sorry.  I have to go.”

  • TheBrett

    It’s just bizarre how LaHaye and friend interpret things. Why they didn’t try some weird quasi- literal depiction of this is anyone’s guess, considering that they have comet made of rotted wood somehow hit the Earth later.

  • Makabit

    Because the best precaution to take, when dealing with a homicidal global dictator, is to keep a trackable phone handy at all times.

    All I can think of is the scene from “Spies Like Us” in the CIA bunker: 

    “They say their contacts tried to kill them, and they don’t know what they should do.”

    “They told you this over a public phone?”

    “No, sir. The AT&T operator told our operator.”

    “They’re INSANE.”

    Imagining Nicolae’s face as he’s told the Tribulation Force is now travelling around with matching trackable cell phones.

    Actually, that brings up another exchange from an 80s movie, “Ruthless People”: “This could very well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth.” “Maybe we should shoot him.”

  • Some Guy Who Hates Pants

    I forgot to add in my last post, remember how in the first book everyone including Buck had to rush to find a pay phone in the airport after the Rapture?  You would think that the Globe Trotting GIRAT would already have the top of the line in communications in order to  keep in touch during his countless adventures.  

  • Makabit

    They make comets out of rotted wood?

    No, don’t even tell me.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    With the unlimited credit card, couldn’t Buck charter a large plane to take all the NHVC members to safety in Israel? Or are they all off-screen helping their neighbors in ways Buck can’t perceive.

    Which brings up an interesting question – what is the duty of all these new converts to their neighbors during the Tribulation? What does LaHaye see as his duty to his neighbors during the Tribulation?

  • Ken

     New Hope Village Church can stick to their Sunday agenda.

    Which will include a potluck lunch with a presentation by the Women’s Mission Aid Society on outreach efforts in Africa.

    Because if little things like nuclear attacks don’t disrupt Buck’s daily routine of phone calls and car-buying, they sure wouldn’t disrupt the WMAS meeting, which is always on the third Sunday of even-numbered months.

  • arcseconds

    I was impatiently skimming until I came to the phones, actually. 

    By now I know what counts as highlights in these books.  :]

     Jenkins puts way more thought into phones than he does into carnage and mayhem and the downstream results. 

    It’s almost endearing.

  • Damanoid

    The relentless sociopathy on display in these books never fails to appall.  The main characters are treated as the only people with any value.  Even in a world torn by war, everything is defined by its relationship to the Important People.

    Neighborhoods burn– but not the Important People’s neighborhood; that would be inconvenient for them.  Logic and reason bend into pretzels to accommodate them.  Other peoples’ cars are useless during the crisis– but the Important People can just go buy a Better Car!  And lo, the Better Car dealership just happens to be open for them!

    Even the phones may fail– but now the Important People have Better Phones, so they don’t need to worry about that either!  You say the coroner’s office has been obliterated in the holocaust?  Oh I think not; the Important People still have business there!

    Important Pilot Rayford:  “Hey Peon Co-Pilot, would you like to know an Important Secret that only we Important People know?  Here’s a hint: it involves this city, lots of bombs, your fate, and my hands.”

    Peon Co-Pilot:  “I’m really not in the mood for games right now.”

    Important Pilot Rayford:  (SHRUGS)

  • Jessica_R

    Yeah I’m trying to focus on my own writing so I’ve hung up the flash fiction for now. And honestly I’m just stupefied beyond belief now at what I’m reading, “Oh la de da, nuclear holocaust just happened, I hope the coffee service has those bear claws I like la de da…” 

  • Dogfacedboy

    “Jenkins puts way more thought into phones than he does into carnage and mayhem and the downstream results.”

    Since we know where his heart is, perhaps we’d have more sympathetic characters if he’d given us Nokia and Kyocera instead of Buck and Rayford.

  • arcseconds

     Clearly, L&J have put exactly zero thought into this.  And I’m sure I look ridiculous spending any time whatsoever fixing up their backstory when they don’t even care.

    However, it’s not too hard to explain this: it’s a special satellite network that only a few have access to. 

    Of course, that would mean the probability of espionage would be even greater…

  • P J Evans

     Why you want a land line: Because in emergencies everyone tries to make calls on their cell phones. (Land lines run on batteries.)

  • banancat

     Actually I moved shortly after that and decided to not get landline service in spite of that event.  It’s rare enough that I still didn’t think it was worth it.

  • Twig

     If you have a penchant for horrifying apocalyptic fiction (and who doesn’t?) there’s a pretty wrenching scene like this in the Dead and the Gone, the second book in this trilogy about humanity dealing with a global disaster.  Basically, there’s a massive loss of life in a major city, and people are allowed to line up outside a football stadium with bodies being shuffled in and out and the remote possibility of being able to ID the person they’re looking for if they happen to walk down the right row at the right moment.

    It’s supposed to be a book for young adults.  I think the Dead and the Gone specifically is actually a more difficult read to get through than The Road.

    I read this stuff on planes.  My dread level can’t get any higher than it is already.

  • Sofia

    Judging from earlier installments, LaHaye sees his duty to his neighbors during the Tribulation to be exactly the same thing he sees as his duty to his neighbors now: “share the gospel” with them in the most obnoxious, condescending, and put-upon way possible.

    After all, he has to be able to say that he *tried*, but he can’t take the risk that someone might convert after speaking to him.  That would deprive him of the pleasure of seeing them condemned to hell for believing differently than he does.

  • GeniusLemur

     And, of course, NHVC won’t do a damn thing until Sunday morning. Hell, they probably turned off the phones again. All these people calling up, asking all these dumb questions about helping and volunteering, right when Buck just wants to hang out and chill.

  • Kadh2000

    I read this series when it first came out and I remember enjoying them.  I’m rereading it as we go through the books here and I can’t imagine why.  I can’t think why I didn’t freak out at scenes like this just being wrong.  My mother in-law and I read them together and she still remembers them fondly – we can’t talk about them anymore.  [Both of us are Lutheran].

    I think I read them purely as entertainment.  I know I didn’t believe a single bit of the biblical prophecy stuff.  I am flabbergasted.

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

    It’s the same for automotive tech. Jenkins spills all sorts of features across the page with no rhyme or reason when he has Buck discuss the Range Rover: a nuclear war is going on and he’s raving about the fact that the Range Rover can play miniCDs.

  • Nirrti

    You know, all I can say is…  if that new “Left Behind” movie gets made, the producers would miss making a killing off of Apple if they don’t include Buck with at least a few iPhones.

  • Technerd

    There is the Thuraya phone, which is a cell phone and a satellite phone.  But it doesn’t work world wide; only Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  There is also the TerreStar Genus, which is cell and satellite, though normal people can’t buy it and it only works in the USA, barely.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Exactly. Mass graves: not just for foreigners any more.

  • Tybult

     I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it came to mind again as I read this week’s installment.

    Fred is dealing with multiple, interlocking layers of bullshit here:
    The coroner’s office must have been destroyed in the multiple nuclear explosions, but the explosions weren’t radioactive and didn’t reach the suburbs, so how can they have been nuclear? But the coroner’s office clearly does exist, because Buck just said so, etc. etc.

     It’s a Gordian knot – you can’t pull at one strand of illogic without tightening up all the others.

    But coming after the previous five chapters, this scene is stark raving bonkers.

    I always want these scenes to be more than they are. I want to see Loretta knitting as she watches Are You Being Served on PBS, and meanwhile outside the Acolytes of the Pestilence do battle with Tsion’s New Maccabees. Or what have you.

    But this is RTC World, and there is only more boring waiting for you around the corner.

  • Jeffrey_Kramer

    Bombs are flying, people are dying
    Children are crying politicians are lying too
    Cancer is killing, Texaco’s spilling
    The whole world’s gone to hell but how are you?

    I’m super, thanks for asking….

  • Jenny Islander

    As I read this stuff, I recall John Ringo’s Legacy of the Alldenata series, which has a whiff of the elect smirking over the idiocy of the herd about it, but also things like this: The ravenous beast-people are coming for you and your children.  They are coming to take you from your home, cut you up, and eat you.  They outnumber every army on Earth–combined.  There is nowhere to run.  There is nowhere to hide.  There is no way for you to fight because they will just swarm over you like locusts.

    So the government issues you a special home security system.  When you hear that the beast-people have reached your street, you arm the system.  Then you sit down with your children and cuddle them while you read from their favorite storybook.

    When the beast-people smash their way into your house, you are vaporized by the explosives included in the security system.  Your children never have to see the beast-people or the signs they carry upon them of the things they have done, and the monsters never touch them.  Your family also accounts for 15 of the beast-people who die instantly and another dozen or so who are wounded and finished off by their fellow swarm members.

    Can you imagine LaHaye and Jenkins having the guts to write something like that?

  • TheBrett

     Too bad! See, it’s because the giant asteroid/comet is supposed to be called “Wormwood”, so of course it would have to somehow have the consistency and make-up of rotted wood. It all makes perfect sense!

  • Nomuse

    Special satellite network?

    Obviously the Archangel  Network!

  • Stephen Thomas

    Hi Willam. Fancy meeting you here. You’ll find that sailboat someday.

  • reynard61

    “This is partly yet another example of the authors’ general principle that non-named characters do not matter, but I think it also has to do with some weird notion that I can’t quite grasp having to do with the city and its suburbs. The effect of the nuclear strikes on Chicago seems to have confined itself to the city limits. NHVC is in the suburbs, and therefore is unscathed — not because it’s further removed from the blast radius of the attacks, but because the suburbs, by definition, cannot be harmed by an attack on downtown.”

    It’s called the NIMBY (“Not in *MY* back yard!”) syndrome. You know the story: City, Town or other governmental entity plans to build a prison, halfway house or some other “undesirable” structure in or close to a rich or otherwise influential neighborhood and the rich and influential residents, fearing that their property values might be adversely affected, raise a stink (usually everything from petitions to threatening recall elections against the Mayor and City Council) and, after a lot of fainting chair histrionics and clutching of pearls (and Bibles, if for some reason religion is involved), the Mayor and City Council announce that the offending project will be moved to a less offensive spot — usually some out-of-the-way, God-forsaken, piece-of-crap bit of land that’s nearly impossible to get to even *with* a working GPS; or they’ll eminent domain the land out from under a number of poor or working-class families, and to hell with the land values of whomever’s left.

    Unfortunately, LaH&J seem to have forgotten that war (and especially *Nuclear* war!) *DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ANYONE’S BACK YARD!!!*…or front yard, or house, or picket fence, or well-manicured lawn…

    *Real* Nuclear war destroys (or at least renders uninhabitable) *EVERY F***ING SQUARE INCH OF LAND (AND EVERYTHING ON THAT LAND) IN AND AROUND WHERE THE BOMBS/WARHEADS HIT FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS!!!*

    But, of course, LaH&J live in some sort of Fail Safe-ian, Birchite fantasy world where B-17s drop maybe-nukes that inflict horrific non-damage that won’t fry the electronics of the newest super-special *deluxe* satellite-capable cellphone. Or they’re horrible, horrible hacks. Or both.

    I’m gonna go with “both”.


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