NRA: Steppin’ Out With My Baby

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 147-153

Rayford Steele is home alone in his apartment in New Babylon. For just a second, it seems as though he’s about to have a real human emotion:

Rayford thought he had had enough sleep, catching catnaps on his long journey. He had not figured the toll that tension and terror and disgust would exact on his mind and body.

“Tension and terror and disgust” are surprisingly appropriate responses to what he has witnessed over the past 24 hours — hopscotching across America just ahead of the destruction of Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco. But we quickly realize that the scope of Rayford’s concern isn’t big enough to include everyone in those cities — or even to include anyone in those cities, not even the young co-pilot whom he had sent off to certain death without any word of warning.

In his and Amanda’s own apartment, as comfortable as air-conditioning could make a place in Iraq, Rayford disrobed to his boxers and sat on the end of his bed. Shoulders slumped, elbows on knees, he exhaled loudly and realized how exhausted he truly was. He had finally heard from home. He knew Amanda was safe, Chloe was on the mend, and Buck — as usual — was on the move. He didn’t know what he thought about this Verna Zee threatening the security of the Tribulation Force’s new safe house (Loretta’s). But he would trust Buck, and God, in that.

Rayford’s circle of concern includes his wife, his daughter and his son-in-law — the four members of the “Tribulation Force” — and that’s it. Even Loretta exists only parenthetically, as the source of something he needs more than as a person. After witnessing the destruction of several major cities, including his own home town, Rayford thinks of only one refugee from that violence, and then only to worry that her finding refuge with Loretta might jeopardize Loretta’s ability to provide a refuge for him.

It seems the only way Rayford is able to acknowledge other people is when he imagines he has some cause to resent them.

Rayford stretched out on his back atop the bedcovers. He put his hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling. How he’d love to get a peek at the treasure trove of Bruce’s computer archives. But as he drifted off to a sound sleep, he was trying to figure a way to get back to Chicago by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way he could make it to Bruce’s memorial service. He was pleading his case with God as sleep enveloped him.

Getting back to Chicago by Sunday could prove difficult, what with Chicago no longer being there.

By “Chicago,” of course, Rayford really means the Chicago suburbs — which were miraculously unscathed by the non-radioactive nuclear bombs that fell inside the city limits and on O’Hare International Airport (killing an untold number of Rayford’s former colleagues there).

But Rayford desperately wants to attend “Bruce’s memorial service” — the ceremony he and Buck have arranged in honor of their late friend, and only their friend. Bruce was one of dozens killed in the first wave of missile strikes on Chicago, which destroyed the hospital near the church where he had been a patient. Other members of the New Hope Village Church congregation may also have been patients there, or health workers, and it seems unlikely that Bruce would be the only person the congregation would need to memorialize even just from that first attack.

But that attack was quickly followed by the destruction of the airport, and then the all-out assault on the city of Chicago itself. The authors, like their heroes, never seem interested in how many thousands or millions might have been slain or injured in these attacks, but surely it must include so many people — including so many personally and directly beloved by members of NHVC — that the idea of a memorial service focused only on Bruce would have to seem absurd and appalling.

Keep in mind that the authors told us about “a huge aerial attack on the city of Chicago” on page 63. We’re only on page 148. In Chapter 3 they destroyed the city of Chicago and here we are, opening Chapter 8 with Rayford Steele “trying to figure a way to get back to Chicago by Sunday.”

That’s not merely a continuity error. That’s a rejection of the entire principle of continuity.

(I’m trying to do justice to how very, very wrong those two sentences are, but all I can come up with is: “As she drifted off to a sound sleep, Leia was trying to figure a way to get back to Alderaan by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way she could make it to Obi Wan’s memorial service.”)

After a short scene between Buck and Chaim Rosenzweig (which we’ll return to later) Rayford is jolted from his sleep by — what else? — a ringing telephone.

It’s Hattie Durham calling. This provides Jerry Jenkins with a chance to review and rehash Hattie’s history in this chapter the same way he did Chaim and Tsion’s history in the last chapter. First, though, we get one of those unnecessary phone conversation scenes in which characters belabor all the logistical details of when they will next meet to talk in person.

There’s a full page of that here, but here’s the important bit:

“Rayford, I really need to talk to you. Nicolae … said he didn’t have a problem with my talking with you. I know you want to be appropriate and all that. It’s not a date. Let’s just have dinner somewhere where it will be obvious that we’re just old friends talking. Please?”

Rayford warily agrees, then says:

“Hattie, do me a favor. If you agree this shouldn’t look like a date, don’t dress up.”

“Captain Steele,” she said, suddenly formal, “stepping out is the last thing on my mind.”

“Stepping out” has many meanings, but it seems the authors are only aware of the sense of the phrase as sung by Fred Astaire in Easter Parade. I choose to think this is meta-Hattie briefly asserting herself, subtly mocking the middle-aged Rayford by tossing in some antiquated 1940s slang.

The odd thing here is that it would make sense for Rayford to worry that this meeting appear “appropriate and all that” and that it mustn’t “look like a date.” Hattie Durham is the fiancee of the global potentate — a man whose word is law and who annihilates whole cities on a whim. It could be very dangerous for anyone to get the misimpression that you are stepping out with his girlfriend. Rayford should be nervous about this meeting for all the same reasons that Vincent Vega had to be nervous about taking Marsellus Wallace’s wife out to dinner in Pulp Fiction.

Yet none of those very reasonable fears seem to occur to Rayford Steele. He isn’t worried about angering the potentate. He isn’t even worried about providing what could later be a pretext for his disappearance/detention/dismemberment by his boss the Antichrist. (Although, to be fair, the Antichrist of these books doesn’t seem devious and conniving enough for that to be something Rayford would have to worry about. This is disappointing. I prefer my super-villains more on the devious and cunning side.)

No, Rayford wants to be sure that this dinner “shouldn’t look like a date” because he is a married man and he doesn’t want to give any hint of moral impropriety.

And that’s just kind of weird. He doesn’t have to worry about Amanda getting the wrong idea about this non-date dinner meeting, because Amanda presumably knows him and trusts him. And it seems odd that he would worry about setting a bad moral example for the Antichrist.

The sense I get, actually, is that Rayford’s insistence on keeping up appearances here has to do with some idea about not damaging his “Christian witness.” It seems to be an attempt to “abstain from all appearances of evil,” as 1 Thessalonians 5:22 doesn’t actually say, but the KJV-toting authors think it does.

But that, again, is odd because once Rayford and Hattie actually meet, he spends most of their conversation elusively dodging her questions about God and the Antichrist and the whole End Times prophecy business that Rayford and the authors think of as “the gospel.” Rayford takes great pains not to do anything that would damage his “witness,” but he takes even greater pains not to “witness” when he’s given the chance to do so.

This seems like the confused behavior of a man who’s decided that appearing “good” is more important than doing good.

 

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  • Rakka

    Such petty view of “sin” conflates neatly with the authors’ petty view of “virtue”.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    The more you talk about these books, Fred, the more I wish I’d had the sense to throw book 3 across the room, rather than waiting until I hit book 7…

  • Worthless Beast

    Same here. I think Book 7 was about where I hit the wall, too. Thankfully, all but one of the LB books I read was borrowed from a library, so I didn’t lose much money on the deal.

  • Grey Seer

    New (well, re-encouraged) theory – Rayford is, in fact, in denial. Massive, massive denial. He can’t cope with all that’s happened to him and the world over the past couple of years, so he’s built a sort of internal wall that segregates his understanding of the world.

    He knows intellectually that he’s in the middle of the Apocalypse, and that he’s working for the Antichrist, but he just doesn’t get that on an emotional level. He can’t handle reacting to the death of more than one person, nor can he build his worldview around a globe that doesn’t include Chicago. Hence why he focuses on the small things, why he continues clinging to an outdated routine and why he carries on like nothing is wrong. He cannot bring himself to even seriously think about it, so painful is the concept.

    Buck, though, has no excuse. It died with the Fully-Loaded Range Rover.

  • Lori

    What is the target audience for this crap supposed to make of the fact that first Buckaroo and then Ray-Ray have the opportunity to witness to Hattie and very carefully don’t do so? I know what decent people think about, but how do LB fans reconcile their heroes lack of evangelistic efforts? Do they share the Tribbles idiotic focus on saving their own physical lives, even at the cost of Hattie’s eternal life or do they simply not notice that it’s a problem or what?

  • Eric

    My personal experiences with the ultra-conservative “Christians” is that they like taking credit for evangelizing to each other, and acting as if this fulfills their moral and spiritual duty to spread the good news. Everyone not in their little group was viewed as hopelessly lost and not really worth the effort of trying to reach. The only real “outreach” efforts I ever saw consisted of either standing in a public square and yelling at everyone that they are sinners who need to convert, or staging a hokey public performance to get attention (e.g., slow-motion football, or a 1-act play) followed up with a preachy message. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t remember seeing any of these “efforts” result in any new converts. However, when it was all over, they would congratulate each other on spreading the message and “winning hearts for Jesus”. I was told point-blank that our responsibility was to get the message out there. Anyone who refused to listen (or just didn’t like the way it was presented) had chosen to condemn themselves to Hell, and was no longer their concern.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    On rare occasion, I get that rare person (I’ve also been that person in my previous life) who does try to witness one-on-one based on some pre-determined script they were taught to use. Unfortunately, they quickly feel overwhelmed in those conversations when I point out somewhere between one and five basic assumptions that we have to share — and do not — in order for the script to be effective. They quickly find themselves “off script,” lost, and usually somewhat frightened by the fact that they are now in uncharted territory.

  • CharityB

    Scripts work about as well for changing someone’s core beliefs as they do for providing customer service from a call center. That is, they don’t work at all because the scripts are so rigid/inflexible and are not designed by people who have any real insight as to what makes other people think.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I read several chunks of Matt Taibbi’s The Great Derangement (in which, among other things, he went undercover to one of John Hagee’s Bible camps), and he describes people being taught a script that starts with, “Do you think you’re a good person?” The expectation is that the mark will say “Yes”, which is the evangelist’s cue to use the “he hath committed adultery in his heart” passage to claim that if the mark has ever had any sinful thoughts then he or she is destined for hell and therefore needs Jesus.

    Trying this approach “in the wild”, Taibbi was astonished both by how much random Americans are willing to tell complete strangers about their lives, and that he didn’t get a single Yes or No answer.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    There are a number of problems with the “good person,” script. For starters it assumes (1) that people choose to be a good person in order to gain favor in the afterlife and (2) that people believe that “being good” has something to do with one’s fate in the afterlife.

    Neither of those assumptions accurately reflect someone like me.

  • Vermic

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t remember seeing any of these “efforts” result in any new converts.

    The street-corner approach is a tough sell unless you’re indestructible and can breathe literal fire.

  • Eric

    Even then, you’re more likely to scare people away than to have them say “Oh, this is someone I feel comfortable hanging with.”

  • Elizabeth Coleman

    They should be recruiting the bad guy from Iron Man 3

  • Scott F

    You mean Trevor? :)

  • Hth

    I would totally join the Church of Trevor.

  • Jenny Islander

    My husband got a dose of this last week. He does regular business with–let’s call him Mort Snerdly–at his place of work. He ran into Mort at the post office, they chitchatted and parted ways, and then Mort paused, doubled back, invited my husband to his church, and handed him a tract. Well, my husband explained that we already have a church and that I am actually a Sunday school teacher there, and Mort said something like, “Oh, uh, keep it anyway” and left.

    I can’t quote it exactly because it’s in the car and my husband has the car. But the bits I remember are classic. This tiny tract, smaller than a 2-pack of peanut butter cups and in eensy weensy type, begins with the word “Friend” in relatively large, friendly letters, but quickly descends into a morass of boldface and scarlet. By about line 6, I’m irrevocably bound for Hell. The entire tract is about “being saved,” which is defined as “not going to Hell.” I am supposed to repeat a prayer, of course, and also read the tract over and over until I feel it, really feel it. When I really feel it, I’m supposed to take up the whole duty of a Christian, which is just this: read the Bible, pray, and “witness” (evangelize). That’s it. That’s all. IIRC, the tract even asserts that this is Jesus’s whole message.

    Oh and by the way you should be baptized to prove it which implies calling our pastor whose name is on the front so we can add you to our tally of souls won bye.

    I just . . . I got nothin’. How do you even talk to fellow Christians who think that if you don’t push this nasty crap on people you’re doin it rong?

  • Dash1

    I was told point-blank that our responsibility was to get the message
    out there. Anyone who refused to listen (or just didn’t like the way it
    was presented) had chosen to condemn themselves to Hell, and was no
    longer their concern.

    This, indeed. I remember when I was much younger, watching something like Phil Donahue with my family. I can’t recall what the issue was that the people were discussing, but when it was time for comments from the audience, one person stood up and gave his testimony (which also, as I recall, talked past the issues everyone had been discussing in a “Jesus will fix all of this if you let him” kind of way). I felt at the time it was pretty inappropriate, but my father’s response was, “Oh good. So there was some good testimony put out there.”

    I pointed out that it wasn’t likely to persuade anyone, and he replied that the point was to “get it out there.”

    And my father was relatively liberal for an evangelical of the time.

  • Abel Undercity

    Our priest in parochial school referred to this as “Pac-Man theology” (this was the early 80’s so it was a surprisingly hip reference for him), treating people as dots to be gobbled up for points rather than actually tending to the state of their souls.

  • Dash1

    Well put! I’m assuming he was an older priest, since I haven’t seen any evidence that priests can’t be appropriately hip. (Sometimes, when they’re seminary students, they’re a bit too hip. I recall one to whom we gave the nickname “Evil.” No idea whether he went into the priesthood.)

    But back to the point: I can sort of see the argument from that position. If your theology holds that there’s a ferry (or an ark) leaving the dock and everyone not on it is going to drown, then the point is to get people their tickets, and you don’t worry about the niceties. I think the analogy most people with that theology would make is with someone like Raul Wallenberg or Chiune Sugihara desperately trying to get Jews out of Nazi-occupied areas. The point was to get the passports into their hands, leaving no time to waste on making sure they understood the Swedish democratic process or had the kinds of ideas about respect that would make them good Japanese citizens.

    And, to tie in with comments on another thread, that is why Fred is much better at this kind of deconstruction than Christopher Hitchens would be. Fred understands the theology and can identify precisely where the conclusions have pulled free of the foundations, so to speak. Hitchens would take a wrecking-ball to the whole thing.

  • CharityB

    To the extent that “evangelism” means “trying to convert or proselytize to nonbelievers”, these books really aren’t evangelical. They’re more triumphal, in the sense that their goal is to help believers gloat about nonbelievers on their way to Hell. With other evangelical works like this (even Jack Chick), it’s clear that the ideal end goal to convert everyone to their brand of Christianity. In the LB world, on the other hand, they don’t really want to do that; after all, if everyone is a Christian, everyone is equal, and if everyone is equal, then there’s no one that we can feel superior to by virtue of faith. Kind of sucks the fun out of the whole “Christianity” thing then!

  • Eric

    Even when they do talk about evangelism, it’s usually pretty shallow. When I was in college, one of my good RTC friends was part of a group whose goal was to make sure everyone in the world heard the Good News by 2010 (I’m pretty sure they didn’t make their goal). Their “plan” was to send missionaries out to remote areas of the world in predominantly non-Christian areas. The missionaries would travel to every little village or settlement and deliver a quick fire-and-brimstone speech followed with their personal testimony, after which they would take off for the next little outpost of humanity. They assumed that the truth of their preaching was so self-evident that everyone, except those determined to disobey God, would instantly convert and become RTCs (after all, THEY understood God’s teachings perfectly, so anyone hearing them who still didn’t believe was obviously a stubborn, rebellious heathen).

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

    I think I can count on my fingers the number of times L&J show anybody from the Tribble Force actually converting anyone. More often than not the focus characters listen to someone else reciting their sordid tale of a life of sin for the vicarious thrill of the reader knowing he or she would never be That Sinner.

  • phantomreader42

    Eric:

    When I was in college, one of my good RTC friends was part of a group whose goal was to make sure everyone in the world heard the Good News by 2010 (I’m pretty sure they didn’t make their goal). Their “plan” was to send missionaries out to remote areas of the world in predominantly non-Christian areas. The missionaries would travel to every little village or settlement and deliver a quick fire-and-brimstone speech followed with their personal testimony, after which they would take off for the next little outpost of humanity. They assumed that the truth of their preaching was so self-evident that everyone, except those determined to disobey God, would instantly convert and become RTCs (after all, THEY understood God’s teachings perfectly, so anyone hearing them who still didn’t believe was obviously a stubborn, rebellious heathen).

    I’m curious if they bothered learning the languages of those they planned to preach at, or just wrote off anyone who didn’t speak perfect ‘Murikan English as a heathen they could gleefully watch burning in hell…

  • Citizen Alan

    IIRC, didn’t the Spanish missionaries in South America exterminate everyone who wouldn’t convert on the basis of an explanation of the Gospel that was only offered in the Spanish language?

  • flat

    Well I know a couple of missionaries who have translated the bible in Bushmen’s language in Botswana.
    So perhaps they might have something to say about it.

  • Pauline

    Indeed, not all missionaries are created equal, so to speak. There’s some very progressive stuff coming from missionaries who’ve been out there for years, gotten deeply and respectfully assimilated into their new cultures, and given a lot of thought to the mistakes of missionaries in the past (especially the colonial period.) Progressive stuff which incidentally I was taught at a very conservative Bible college (and which did provide quite a contrast.) The idea of translating the Bible, not only into local languages but into the languages of very small minorities (even if those people also speak the dominant local language)–for the express purpose of showing minority cultures that God loves them in particular and does not require them to assimilate to the dominant local (often colonial-based) culture–is not an uncommon or radical idea in contemporary missionary circles. In fact the great majority of Christians I’ve met who have a clue about the missionary scene are entirely sold on the idea. The organizations actually doing this translating are also pioneering the progressive, common-sense, but surprisingly uncommon notion that children should learn first literacy in their mother-tongues rather than in a less-familiar language such as Spanish or English, as well.

    This is not to say that culturally insensitive missionaries don’t exist–boy do they, and they stand out, too. Luckily they (often, not always) tend not to last long. But I just would love it if people realized that the missionary standing behind the Ugly American missionary is wincing and grinding his teeth just as much as the rest of us!

  • ngotts

    Bushmen’s language

    Which one?

    It’s worth noting that some of those referred to as “Bushmen” consider the term insulting, although reportedly, others prefer it to any other. The basic problem is that the people so referred to had no tradition of a common identity at all.

  • christopher_y

    Which one? Bushmen/San/Basarwa (pick a name, they’re all pejorative) speak a whole family of different languages. I hope your friends used the appropriate one for the people they were visiting.

  • Amaryllis

    And in today’s “Slacktivist overlaps with what I’m reading,” I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. In which an American missionary drags his wife and daughters off to what was then the Belgian Congo, where he attempts to use some words in the local language in his sermons, but never grasps the nuances of inflection and intonation. So he never knows that the word he’s using for “precious, beloved” and applies to Jesus, also means “poisonwood,” a tree as dangerous as it sounds. Conversions are, not surprisingly, few.

    He never does learn to recognize either the beauty or the danger of Kilanga village as it is; he only sees it through his western and evangelical preconceptions. Things don’t end well.

    But then, the missionary’s private hubris is only an individual expression of the collective arrogance, ignorance and greed of the Western powers, and things ended very badly indeed.

    Interesting book.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Interesting, but wasn’t fond of the last parts of it. Seemed like kind of a shaggy dog story to me with a bit of faux-mysticism thrown in as a stinger.

  • Amaryllis

    Having stayed up far too late last night to finish it, I can kind of see what you mean. I know there are people who think that the post-1960 sections are unnecessary to the story, and object to the final chapters especially.

    But I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a shaggy-dog story. There’s a point in there.Anyway, I didn’t feel let down by the end of the book.

    Or, do you remember one of Adah’s last lines? “My colleagues accuse me of cynicism, but I am simply a victim of poetry.” I’ve been accused, here as in other places, of woolly-minded mysticalness. But I’m simply a victim of poetry, and the language in this book kept me fascinated from first to last.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Heh, I can share in that feeling. But yes, that very last page and a half where a certain someone makes an appearance again, that irritated me. It’s almost as though the whole book was set up to make the supernatural seem like an absurd concept, and then Guess who?!

    It also bothered me that Adah got “fixed.” !saw ehs yaw eht tsuj reh dekil I

  • Makabit

    I’m also not a fan of the fixing of Adah.

  • Makabit

    I didn’t mind the final words from Ruth May…it was clear from the beginning that Orleanna is speaking to someone, and it becomes clear who it is after a time. My objection is that the final section is essentially a white American woman’s romantic fantasy about marrying a hot African revolutionary, and thereby being absolved of whiteness and Americanicity. I can relate to it as a fantasy, but it’s kind of cheesy, does not match the literary quality of the rest of the book, and there are some issues around race and sex that I think are iffy.

  • Amaryllis

    Well, Adah didn’t much approve of having herself fixed, after the fact, either. So why did her author feel it necessary to fix her? Was it another step int the redemption of Leah– having Adah’s disability be due at least as much to incompetent medical care as to Leah getting more than her fair share as far back as her mother’s womb?

    As for Leah, I don’t think that she felt herself absolved of whiteness or Americanness: no matter how long she lived in Africa as the wife of a black revolutionary, she was still white and still American and still guilty by both action and association. If she finds any redemption, it’s not in the marriage in itself, I don’t think– it’s as the mother of four shades-of-black sons.

    Which, of course, has its own set of issues. Why did her author give her only sons, no daughters? Is this mother of four living, healthy sons a better mother than her own mother, the mother of four damaged daughters? Or just luckier?

    And are we to take her fantasy of redemption, if that’s what it is, as representative of her author’s views? Any more than the more obviously clueless Rachel — a more interesting character than she appears on the surface, even though she’s almost all surface– represents the author’s views?

    Anyway, interesting book.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think that perhaps they are a little over-focused on seeing as many conversions as possible in their lifetime. Proper evangelism is a long, slow process, achieved not by just yelling to anyone who will listen, but by slowly building up trust and goodwill. The preacher who goes into impoverished areas and helps the community without breathing a word of the gospel unless asked. The devout follower who befriends heathens with no expectation that they will share the faith.

    As my own testimonial in this regard, I had a few Mormon friends back in high school and community college. None of them ever tried to convert me or put any sort of spiritual pressure on me. We played Dungeons & Dragons together on weekends. One invited me to come to his church (which was coincidentally across the street from our community college) on a Friday not for any kind of witnessing but because their kitchen made free pizza on those days. The absolute most one of them ever did was ask me to take one of those little pocket Bibles off his hands because he had a set number they expected him to give away. He did not care what I did with it, just that taking it would be doing him a favor, which as his friend I was happy to do. I doubt I would have ever converted (the idea of having children squicks me on a fundamental level) but they did more to sympathize me to their faith than any amount of overt proselytization could ever do.

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    I have two Mormon friends, whom I’ve known for nearly 20 years now. We met when they were out doing door-to-door evangelizing. I was carrying groceries from my car to my second floor (no elevator) apartment, and they offered to help.

    It’s really odd, but knowing what they were from their dress made it very easy to accept their offer without any fear of something bad happening. I let them give me their speech and take me to church a couple of times. I tried to get them to play D&D or chess with me (one of them had played chess and both had played D&D) but they were at the point in the ministry that they weren’t allowed to play games.

    I didn’t convert and they didn’t pressure me, but we’ve stayed close over the intervening years. While I disagree with their faith, I can’t say anything bad about how it helps them as people.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    perhaps they are a little over-focused on seeing as many conversions as possible in their lifetime. – Fearless Son

    Almost certainly. Back during my fundamentalist teenage years, we were strongly urged to focus on “earning stars for our crown” – i.e. converting as many people as possible. The more Saved Sinners you had to your credit, the better your chances of getting into heaven.

  • flat

    My dad always tought me that we don’t have to earn our salvation, only to accept it.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    One of the things that now strikes me as very odd about the version of Christianity I was taught back then is the way that it downplayed Jesus’ role of bridging the gap between God and humanity. We seemed to be on our own in the hopeless attempt to live up to unattainably high standards. Absolutely no room for God’s grace.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Sounds like trading stamps. Get a whole book and trade for a toaster … er, heaven.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    :-)

  • flat

    that’s a good Summary what evangelism means, thank you for explaining it.

  • Hth

    I really had no idea that you even can play Dungeons & Dragons without Mountain Dew. I find this an oddly fascinating concept.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Oh, there are plenty of other carbonated and sweet caffeinated beverages one can drink while playing D&D. Yes, they sometimes drank caffeinated soda, it was not technically against their prohibitions on coffee and tea, and they were not so uptight as to make a fuss over something like that.

    At least one of them said he did not drink coffee not necessarily because of the prohibition, but because he could not stand the smell.

    Incidentally, we played 2nd Edition AD&D instead of the then-new 3rd Edition because that is how we roll (THAC0.)

  • ngotts

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t make their goal

    You can be as sure of that as you can of anything empirical, I’d say. The Sentinelese people resist any contact with outsiders, their language is unknown, and their island is treated as completely off-limits to anyone else by the Indian authorities. I guess according to some theologies, they are protecting us all from the end of the world!

  • Lori

    We know that they’re triumphal, but I was under the impression that their fans think they’re evangelical. Most of the people I’ve met, even the sort of shitty ones, don’t feel completely comfortable openly gloating about everyone else going to hell.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Mmm, have met my share of people who do openly gloat. It wouldn’t surprise me if they read these books. They all seem to be the ones who just can’t wait for judgment day so Jesus can personally tell everyone how screwed they are.

  • Lori

    Dang, I’ve known some crappy folks but most of them seem to try to limit the out & out gloating and at least pretend to feel bad about it when they do it.

    I’ve heard my share of people consoling themselves or someone else over some mistreatment or slight by saying that the Lord will take care of it (which they never seem to notice makes God sound like some knuckle breaker named Vinnie in a bad gangster movie), but the tone isn’t exactly gloating.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    One of the Internet locales I haunt is the front lines for a lot of abortion rights and marriage equality debates. People like the above tend to show up there and leave comments like “Enjoy it while it lasts. One day you’ll have to stand in front of the lord and face the consequences for your sins. And you better believe there will be consequences…”

    Triumphalism is alive and well.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    “Enjoy it while it lasts. One day you’ll have to stand in front of the lord and face the consequences for your sins. And you better believe there will be consequences…”

    They make that sound like a bad thing. I would rather live having supported those things and facing judgement than to die never having supported them out of timid fear of perdition. To quote Captain Picard, “If we’re to be damned, let’s be damned for who we really are.”

    I would rather die and be judged defiant, on the terms I choose. In that way I affirm myself as free.

  • Lorehead

    A lot of things come out in anonymous comments on the Internet.

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

    Considering the number of people who stand on corners yelling, “you are going to hell, you slut-whore!” at young women as we walk down the street, I think you have been lucky.

  • Lori

    Well, strictly speaking the yellers don’t believe everyone else is going to hell. Just the slut-whores, for very, very broad, incredibly insulting values of “slut-whore”.

    Also, I’ve really only seen those people on TV and on the internet. We had a couple pretty regular street preachers when I was in college, but they weren’t that bad and I haven’t otherwise had a lot of contact with them. The cities I’ve lived in have had some because pretty much every city of any size has at least one, but they haven’t been places that I went regularly.

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

    They set themselves up on the sort-of quad on my college campus, which everyone with a liberal arts major or who teaches a liberal arts class must walk by multiple times a day. It’s small, so they were only about 10 feet away (if that) from anyone passing them. They also set themselves up outside the biggest government office in Tampa, so I had to get by them for jury duty. It seems to be the same group of people, and from comparing notes with others, they especially have it in for pale women with brown hair who don’t wear makeup.

    And I think it’s horrific that it’s completely legal to create a hostile working environment for students, professors, security guards, lawyers, judges, etc., all in the name of “free speech”.

  • JenL

    Would you consider those bumperstickers that say things like “you can have the car after I’m raptured” to be gloating?

  • Lori

    I’m never sure what to make of those. I think my personal very high level of snark makes it difficult for me to process them in the spirit in which they are probably intended.

    Now that I think about it, I don’t recall ever personally meeting anyone who had one of those bumper stickers. Obviously I’ve seen them, but not on the car of anyone I actually knew. Most of the Christians to whom I am closest would never have one because they don’t believe in the Rapture (it’s absolutely not Church of Christ doctrine).

  • Baby_Raptor

    When I first read the books, I hand-waved that as Rayford worrying about Nicky Everest finding him out. I drew up fanciful head-cannons involving Hattie trusting Nicky enough to tell him of the discussion, or even Nicky being jerkwad enough to stick a recording bug somewhere on Hattie’s person.

    And then Rayford would be in a lot of hot water. As would Bucky, once the connection would be drawn.

    Looking back, I realize that my brain was just trying to fill in horrible plot holes.

    Either way, yeah. I could see the broader “avoiding persecution” theme being an acceptable reason for Rayfie not witnessing to her. After all, according to the prophecies, the Antichrist is going to have several long field days murdering Christians.

    Another theory could be that they think that, since she’s sleeping with the guy, she’s “too far gone” as it were?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    When I first read the books, I hand-waved that as Rayford worrying about Nicky Everest finding him out.

    In which case Nicky might have him exterminated, making him an actual martyr for the gospel?

    Well, we certainly can’t have that, can we?

  • Persia

    She got touched by a Bad Man. She’s definitely too far gone in their eyes.

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

    She got touched by a man at all.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    She wanted to be touched. By men to whom she wasn’t married!

  • Daniel

    Have you also noticed that she’s the girlfriend of the Antichrist, yet he’s loyal to her, and in TF when Buck and Ray learn that she’s with him they are horrified “they may have already been intimate!”

    This is supposed to be the most evil man in the world, and Hatty is supposed to be a floozy. Yet it never occurs to Buck and Ray, or the writers, that she might quite happily sleep with him and that’d be that. If she sleeps with him, then she’s got to stay with him. THAT MAKES YOU HIS NOW! Even the Antichrist doesn’t have casual meaningless sex.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Another theory could be that they think that, since she’s sleeping with the guy, she’s “too far gone” as it were?
    Yeah, when I first read these books, I just figured that the lack of evangelism is because the characters they’d be evangelizing too are too close to the Antichrist.
    The problem with that theory, I now realize, is that it only shows yet again how unheroic our protagonists are. When the hero of the story discovers that their old friend is too close to the bad guy and is going to get hurt, they have the opportunity to PROVE their heroism by risking their own lives to warn their friend.
    But not Our Buck and Captain Steele. It doesn’t even occur to them to risk their lives and their spiffy job titles to save their friends. Aside from, “Well, too bad I can’t warn this person,” I don’t think they even consider the option.
    Some heroes.

  • aunursa

    What is the target audience for this crap supposed to make of the fact that first Buckaroo and then Ray-Ray have the opportunity to witness to Hattie and very carefully don’t do so?

    In Book #1 Rayford witnessed to Hattie at a dinner with Chloe and Buck present. Then she stays with the Tribbles in their safehouse during Books #4-6, so she will be targeted by multiple RTCs, including Tsion, whom Jesus (in Book #12) will identify as one of the greatest evangelists of all time.

  • SkyknightXi

    So…it’s in part Rayford not wanting to even LOOK like he’s stealing God’s thunder through pre-empting the Holy Spirit?

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

    It’s scary how perfectly the Monty Python song maps onto Rayford. Gallantly he chickened out.

  • Launcifer

    Heh. And now I’m trying to figure out which of the seven trumpets corresponds to the coming of the Vicious Chicken of Bristol.

  • Worthless Beast

    From what I vaguely remember of the books that I read of this series, they didn’t seem to do much in the ways of witnessing to Hattie because they *didn’t really want her on the team.*
    I don’t know if this really happend or if I dreamed it/am not remembering it right… but I seem to recall Hattie getting in with the Trib. Force, miscarrying Carpathia’s child (which the others didn’t know what to do with, fearing “half-antichrist”, so she had a convient miscarrage)… something about Hattie suspecting being poisoned so she’d miscarry… her becoming an RTC but everyone and Rayford especially being *annoyed* at her excitement over her salvation and her asking him questions about God and prophecy and the whole shebang.
    Even after she was “saved” she was treated as a burden an annoyance, something they regretted taking care of in any way. I think after that, Hattie was only valuable for the information she could dispense about Nicky.
    Even when I was reading the books, I *loathed* the way Hattie was treated. It reminded me too much of how people in many walks of life had treated me – the token “unpopular” or “weird” person that thefore was acceptable to abuse unless someone wanted something only I could do for them.

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

    … her becoming an RTC but everyone and Rayford especially being *annoyed* at her excitement over her salvation and her asking him questions about God and prophecy and the whole shebang.
    That is a particularly nasty passage. And slightly more nasty is the way Chloe berates Hattie, making her cry, by bringing up Hattie’s supposed past transgressions and all her alleged faults. This “conversation” happens on the phone (natch), shortly after Hattie’s conversion, of which Chloe is unaware.
    Of course, when Chloe sees Hattie’s Mark of the Believer, she says she wouldn’t have berated her so (because it’s only okay to berate nonbelievers, I guess). But Stepfordized Hattie says that Chloe has nothing to apologize for, and that she, Hattie, has been “rotten.”
    There is no point in the entire series at which I want to smack Chloe so much.

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

    And to think I thought Chloe had managed to avoid inheriting Rayford’s sense of utter self-righteous snottiness. :(

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

    I don’t think this series is meant to be the script for the evil nonbelievers, but LaHaye’s Babylon Rising series definitely is (at least the second, third, and fourth books in the series).

    Many chapters could be titled that way: How to Witness to a Father with a Rebellious Daughter, How One Teen Should Witness to Another, How to Deal with “Angry Atheists.” In most cases, the best verses are provided.

    Our “hero,” Michael Murphy, also helpfully provides the reasons why people don’t believe: they’ve had inattentive fathers or “a bad religious experience” or “some moral issues.” (All these from Book 3, The Europa Conspiracy.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Our “hero,” Michael Murphy, also helpfully provides the reasons why people don’t believe: they’ve had inattentive fathers or “a bad religious experience” or “some moral issues.” (All these from Book 3, The Europa Conspiracy.)

    Ah yes, what TvTropes calls the “Hollywood Atheist“. As one troper on its entry for Left Behind observed, those seem to be the only kind of atheists in that ‘verse if only because in that ‘verse critical thinking seems to not exist.

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

    And, if Christian Talk Radio is to be believed, they don’t think real atheists (as in, people who don’t believe in any gods) exist. Because Jesus has stamped his really real self on every human heart, you see. So anyone who “denies” him really just hates him because they just love sinning so much. Tsion Ben-Jewishguy states this outright, at one point.

  • Tofu_Killer

    A sneak early Left Behind post to make up for the late ones? I appreciate it.

  • aunursa

    Yes. My Friday will be more productive, now that I won’t be checking back here every hour.

  • aunursa

    Although, to be fair, the Antichrist of these books doesn’t seem devious and conniving enough for that to be something Rayford would have to worry about. This is disappointing. I prefer my super-villains more on the devious and cunning side.)

    It gets worse as the series progresses. Nicolae and Leon become even more overly concerned about appearances and murder subordinates for insignificant mistakes.

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

    Well, at least they’re behaving like villians, then. Still better than “teaching everyone English and building a new capital in the middle of Iraq”.

  • aunursa

    Is it too much to ask that authors to at least read the Evil Overlord’s list?

    “Did you guys ever watch the show?”

    – Guy, clearly exasperated, in Galaxy Quest

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    It seems to be an attempt to “abstain from all appearances of evil,”…

    If only they put so much effort into abstaining from actual evil. (Though in most cases, I think “evil” is too hard a word.)

  • TheDarkArtist

    “As she drifted off to a sound sleep, Leia was trying to figure a way to get back to Alderaan by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way she could make it to Obi Wan’s memorial service.”

    You magnificent bastard.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It would not surprise me if that line exists in some fanfic, somewhere.

  • Worthless Beast

    Hmm. I’ll try. I mostly write Legend of Zelda fanfic these days, though…
    “As he drifted off the sleep in the Lost Woods, young Link was trying to figure out a way to get back to Termina by Dinsday. The Moom had fallen, but, surely, there had to be some way to make it back to Mikau’s memorial service.”
    LoZ written as though it were Left Behind… NO, NO, NO, BAD BRAIN, BAD! DON’T DO THIS TO ME! *Smacks self and falls down.*

  • JustoneK

    “As she drifted off to sleep, alone in her apartment for the seven thousandth four hundredth and fifty-second time, Homura was trying to figure out a way to get back to the school campus by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way she could make it to Mami’s memorial service.”

  • Worthless Beast

    DUDE!
    Ready to go out and get some things… I put on my Kyubey shirt I got at a con.
    Care to make a contract?

  • Lectorel

    Except that in that fanfic, Alderaan probably still exists. I’ve read bad fanfic, but never on this level of anti-continuity.

  • Jamoche

    “As she drifted off to a sound sleep, Tifa was trying to figure a way to get back to Nibelheim by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way she could make it to her father’s memorial service.”

    (Made all the more awful because there *will* be a Nibelheim when she gets there…)

  • cminus

    “As he drifted off to sleep in the monastery of Oi Dong, Lu Tze was trying to figure a way to get back to Leshp by Octeday. The island had sunk beneath the Circle Sea, but, surely, there had to be some way to make it back to Greasy Arif’s campfire of driftwood.”

  • SisterCoyote

    “As he drifted off to sleep in the TARDIS control room, the Doctor was trying to think of a way to get back to Gallifrey. Surely, there had to be some way to make it back for the Other’s funeral.”

  • Vermic

    “Hazel stretched out on his back in the burrow. He flattened his ears and stared at the ceiling. How he’d love to get a peek at the Threarah’s lettuce supply! But as he drifted off to a sound sleep, he was trying to figure a way to get back to the Sandleford warren fu Inlé. Surely there had to be some way he could make it to Toadflax’s memorial service. He was pleading his case with Frith as sleep enveloped him.”

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

    Not enough sex.

  • hidden_urchin

    As he drifted off to a sound sleep in Kirk’s arms, Spock was trying to figure a way to get back to Vulcan by Sunday…

    Did I get it right? I don’t really read fan fiction but I’ve heard the horror stories.

  • Adamlangfelder

    Personally, I would have loved to have watched the late great Christopher Hitchens go after these books. It would have been almost exactly the same and just as enjoyable as well.

  • aunursa

    Hitchens was an atheist (and wrote a book highly critical of religion and the Christian Bible.) Our host is a Christian. That makes a big difference when you’re criticizing a “Christian” book series.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Doubtful. I think Hitchens and Clark have roughly the same sense of the importance of avoiding moral and plot holes.

  • aunursa

    A critique by Hitchens would give the message, “See, another example of how religion is evil.” One theme of Clark’s critique is that LB is a distortion of what Christianity is supposed to be about.

  • JustoneK

    “Religion is poison.”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    That’s not a big difference. It is uncommon for me to see Fred explicitly promote religion in itself in the LB posts.

  • Ben English

    Fred is an Evangelical. He understands the mindset of evangelical Christians, especially American evangelicals, and the subtexts of the books in ways that a curmudgeonly old British anti-theist wouldn’t.

  • Worthless Beast

    Exactly.
    Sometimes, you can only grasp a culture if you’ve been in it (and beyond “I was five and forced to go to Sunday School when I decided that this god-stuff was bunk”). There’s also, as you say, the American culture.
    There is also, (hate to burst people’s little worlds), out and out tribalism. I read some of these books over a decade ago and am ashamed of having been a fan (though not throughouly ashamed of having read them thanks to this place – I can *remember* things in these books and enjoy the lashing in a way people who read these blogs but haven’t read the books can, I suspect. There’s the death countdowns, the sensible shoe countdowns… ) — I would not be enjoying this blog if it were an atheist blog. I can tell you straight out. Having the tears into bad literature “by one of my own” makes all the difference because I’m not worried that they’re condemming me for my core beliefs or making fun of those. I think that’s important – having someone with beliefs making fun of the poorer parts of that specific culture.
    I don’t know, it’s kind of like how a friend of mine tried to turn me onto a funny review site for video game reviews – by showing me a review the host did of a game I loved that he also liked. Then the friend showed me his take on one of the Legend of Zelda games (It was funny), but the reviewer basically made it abundantly clear that he *loathes* Zelda and all of its fans (not even in a fun ribbing way), hates the formula for those games and will never, ever give a game of that series a fair review. Personally, I am a hardcore Zelda fan… I don’t demand that everyone like it, but if someone makes clear that they hate it, I’m not going to trust their reviews of that series (even when they’re picking out some of the very same flaws I and other actual fans pick out). So, I do tend to trust more and to laugh more at the funny when it’s a *person who likes these games* ripping into one.
    __ I just wanted to give a non-religious example of how bias affects things and is imporant.
    (Not that Fred likes Left Behind, but… but you know what I mean).

  • Worthless Beast

    Apologies for the block paragraphing! OCCASIONALLY disqus actually ads breaks where I add them. Most of the time, it eats them. I hate this comment system.

  • JustoneK

    disqus formatting is poison!

  • AnonaMiss

    That… wasn’t me.

    Crap. Someone registered my name.

  • Em

    I don’t know which name you were actually posting under. I refreshed this page twice and saw two different names. Yay Disqus!

  • AnonaMiss

    Never mind – Disqus was showing JustoneK’s comment as being by “AnonaMiss” with blue text.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You just might be right.

  • flat

    I agree and that makes the difference so much more important.

  • SisterCoyote

    But… There is a difference between “religion is evil” and “this series is vile, and a pitiful example of Christianity.”

  • JustoneK

    I do think there’s a point in that this series is vile and a pitiful example of _anything_

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Agreed. I just don’t think that difference is big.

  • SisterCoyote

    See, to me, it’s just about infinite.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why? Elaborate, please.

  • ngotts

    “Supposed to be about” according to whom? The evidence that Jesus intended his message (whatever it was) for anyone but Jews is extremely thin.

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

    Hitchens was also a misogynist jerkwad who lived up his own ass.

  • aunursa

    Okay. But on the other hand, that would make him better able to understand the mindset of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. ;-)

  • Lori

    I suspect that would simply have made him totally blind to several of the levels of FAIL present in these books.

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

    Yep. He’d have simply accepted that Hattie was stupid and evil for being pretty, for instance.

  • aunursa

    I regret that my sarcasm didn’t come through.

  • Lori

    Eh, the problem was probably on the receiving end of this one. I’m working 3rd shift these days and that messes with your head.

  • Makabit

    Yeah. Also, honestly, Hitchens didn’t have the humor or generosity toward humanity that Fred’s got. These books would have just annoyed him, and he wouldn’t have understood the nuances of what’s wrong with them as well.

    I’ve actually learned a lot about Protestant practice and theology by reading this decon.

  • arcseconds

    Well, the protestant churches are even more diverse than the Roman Catholic church. :-)

    I imagine this stuff is almost completely alien to most Anglicans, for example.

  • Ben English

    Uh… are we thinking of the same Christopher Hitchens?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’m thinking of the one who supported the Iraq war.

  • Carstonio

    Seeing Hitchens shred the Ellanjay ideology might be fun at first. But then he would have likely ranted that the books prove the destructiveness of religion and god-belief.

    I haven’t encountered any non-Chtistian writers who give fundamentalism the shredding it deserves without pushing an agenda. Even Fred Clark and Rachel Held Evans, as excellent as they are, approach the subject with the assumption that this isn’t what they believe Christianity should be.

  • Persia

    When the books themselves are explicitly roadmaps for a Christian Life (and fail so utterly as literature), I’m not sure it makes sense to do anything but engage them on a theological level.

  • AnonaMiss

    The problem is that it’s easy for an outsider to slip into “This crappy roadmap shows a crappy area so the country is crappy.” Having a resident critique the map not only improves accuracy, it separates what crap is actually in the country, and what crap is added by the map.

  • Carstonio

    The books certainly claim to be roadmaps for a Christian life. Fred has said many times that they represent both Bad Writing and Bad Theology, but his judgment about the latter is informed by his belief in theology. A non-Christian critic would probably be unable to render a similar judgment. Instead, the critic could judge the morality of the books’ worldview and ideology, without tackling the question of whether these are authentically Christian.

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

    If you want some nonbeliever takes on Christian fiction, we can set you up:

    http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/

    http://mousehole-mouse.blogspot.com/

    http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/

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

    If you’d like some nonbeliever takes on Christian fiction, we can set you up:

    http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/

    http://mousehole-mouse.blogspot.com/

    http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/

    p.s. I hate you, Disqus

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    *Sings* “Disqus hates me, this I know, for the Slactivist commentors tell me so. Formatting errors to it belong, they are minor and it is wrong.”

  • Seraphiel

    Every time I see a scene with Rayford, I am reminded of the scene (much better conceived, written, and performed, fortunately) from Babylon 5, in which Gkar berates Londo for silently standing by while the emperor commits a string of atrocities. That story had redemption in store for Londo, eventually.

    But it required him to acknowledge his errors. He’d have to understand that he was wrong.

    With this in mind, it’s a weird contrast to see a rabidly homophobic anti-semite like Tim LaHaye complain about the new adaptation script for his brain poison. It has no “redemptive value,” he said.

    Strange words from a man whose self-inserted character– whose very self– is irredeemably damaged, a man who has no interest in redeeming himself for all the wrongs he can’t even admit he’s done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    In that scene, it was even acknowledged that standing by could have been, in that particular situation, the right thing to do in those conditions. (You know, the entire planet being destroyed otherwise.) But, it was still doing nothing to stop suffering when something was, however costly and however ineffective it might have been, an option.
    It didn’t even have to be immoral in order to be something for which redemption was needed… and that was good and just.
    Of course, for someone who sees God’s commands as the ultimate get-out-of-compassion-free card, that kind of reasoning wouldn’t penetrate.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Well, Rayford would have been pretty young when Joe Jackson’s ‘Stepping Out’ was released. And Hattie would have been, what? Not a little kid, older than ten anyway. So it’s not all that archaic of a phrase. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBJUHvQPFTI

  • Ben English

    Yeah, but these books are supposed to take place in the nebulous near future. We don’t have any actual birthdates for the characters.

  • aunursa

    Yes. Left Behind was written in 1995, and Nicolae in 1997, but according to the authors, the story takes place sometime during the first half of the 21st century.

  • Vermic

    Some might read “steppin’ out” and think Irving Berlin; but me, I’m going to have that damn Joe Jackson song stuck in my head all day. Thanks a lot, Left Behind Friday Morning! [shakes fist]

    “Rayford, I really need to talk to you. Nicolae … said he didn’t have a problem with my talking with you. I know you want to be appropriate and all that. It’s not a date. Let’s just have dinner somewhere where it will be obvious that we’re just old friends talking. Please?”

    This dialogue is pretty stilted even for this book, and the way I interpret it is that this is the way Hattie knows she has to talk, because Nicolae has her every conversation tapped. Every sentence she speaks is now directed 10% at the actual listener and 90% at the team of OWG agents which she knows are screening and filtering every word. That’s why her conversations are simple, banal, and full of redundant reassurances that this is not a date and the Potentate has approved this phone call and nothing illicit or illegal is in progress.

    That’s the only good explanation I can think of for all this “not a date” talk. Because the only other answer is that LaHaye and Jenkins have this sexist assumption — and they think their audience shares it — that if a woman meets with a man it must serve a romantic function unless otherwise specified. It’s not as if Hattie’s worried about her and Rayford rekindling their romance, they never actually had one, and any vague, wan sexual sparks they might once have shared were stomped flat years ago, thanks to the whole “born-again Christian” thing.

  • christopher_y

    Some might read “steppin’ out” and think Irving Berlin; but me, I’m going to have that damn Joe Jackson song stuck in my head all day

    Nah. Memphis Slim FTW.

  • GDwarf

    The focus on apperances here is interesting, given that it’s apparently fine for our “heroes” to “appear” to endorse a genocidal dictator, so long as they think mildly-bad thoughts about him once a month or so, but doing actual good is verboten if it might give someone the wrong idea.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that this particular set of “morals” leads to maximum social and political clout for our protagonists.

  • VMink

    Rayford should be nervous about this meeting for all the same reasons that Vincent Vega had to be nervous about taking Marsellus Wallace’s wife out to dinner in Pulp Fiction.

    “WHAT does Nicolae Carpathia LOOK LIKE?!”

    Pulp Behind. It’d be typical Tarantino, but I’d watch it for the heck of it.

    Also, even though it’s archaic, I’ve used “stepping out” in the Fred Astaire sense. Dunno; I tend to pick up archaic idioms.

  • Launcifer

    I wonder if Rayford’s mind would be suitably blown by the fact that we (used to) call them “aeroplanes” in the United Kingdom?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The amazing part of Pulp Fiction is that you can make the story work in other settings. Warhammer 40,000, for example.

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

    That’s because Tarantino ripped the story off from actual cliché pulp fiction. Which is not a criticism; that was sort of the point.

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

    “A young Robert Redford?”
    “Oh, right. Thanks, totally forgotten”
    And everybody lived happily ever after….Yeah, this is why I don’t make movies.
    Alternate joke: And after Raist made that comment, they went medieval on his ass with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.

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

    “A young Robert Redford?”
    “Oh, right. Thanks, totally forgotten”
    And everybody lived happily ever after….Yeah, this is why I don’t make movies.
    Alternate joke: And after Raist made that comment, they went medieval on his ass with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.

  • GeniusLemur

    Amazing! After a lot of other unrelated stuff, Jenkins actually remembered Bruce’s writings! I was sure they’d already vanished into the horrible black void of Jenkin’s storytelling skills.

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

    First: Yay! NRA update! Thanks for keeping up the pace (and devouring more pages in the process too :) )

    Second: WAT. I MEAN WAT. JUST NO, L&J.

    The way these books so casually place Rayford, Buck, Amanda, Chloe, Nicolae and Hattie among this horrific backdrop of war and chaos after a mass disappearance of billions, and then write these people acting as though these events didn’t happen – “huge disconnect” doesn’t even begin to cover it!

    The more Fred dissects these books, the more I come to realize just how slanted they are for their intended audience – entire books full of nothing but feel-good code-words intended as shout-out after shout-out that says “Look! Our tribe is winning with every step! Laugh it up at the poor suckers who ain’t gonna make it.”

    So in the end, it doesn’t matter that there is no true logical consistency to these books. What matters, as far as L&J are concerned, is that they have enough appeal to telegraph their in-tribe status to other fundamentalists who endorse a very particular political and moral code – that of the primacy of Christianity in society and the subordination of secular interests to theological interests by means of using law to enforce morality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000950306035 J Neo Marvin

    “Stepping out” has many meanings, but it seems the authors are only aware of the sense of the phrase as sung by Fred Astaire in Easter Parade.

    I immediately thought of Paul Revere & The Raiders. (“Have you been step, step, step, step, step, step, steppin’ out on me? I got ways of findin’ OUT!”)

  • Vermic

    By “Chicago,” of course, Rayford really means the Chicago suburbs — which were miraculously unscathed by the non-radioactive nuclear bombs that fell inside the city limits and on O’Hare International Airport (killing an untold number of Rayford’s former colleagues there).

    It’s weird that the Antichrist did this, because if anyone were gonna invent a bomb that annihilates big cities but leaves the suburbs untouched, it’d be the Christian Right.

  • Seraphiel

    You seem to forget that the goals of the Christianists and their “antichrist” are the same. This is why it makes perfect sense to them that their heroes would never, ever actually try to intervene in the apocalypse.

  • Daniel

    I actually find myself both envying and pitying the authors, and by extension anyone who actually shares their beliefs. As you’ve pointed out in the dreadful cookie eating episode, these are people so concerned with the collocations of genitals that they see sex where the supposedly depraved and debauched non-believers see none. I don’t think most people seeing a woman of Hattie’s age and a man of Rayford’s would instantly assume they were a couple- surely some would assume they were father and daughter (although that would presumably wouldn’t happen in this world because he is a Marty Stu) or colleagues or- heaven forbid- that maybe she was his boss (which is actually more accurate).

    Is it odd that they haven’t mentioned this? I mean, presumably her role is something like Michelle Obama’s- if you saw a pompous middle aged guy in a pilot’s uniform (Rayford Steele definitely goes in full fig to every single social event. I bet he makes the waiter call him “Cap” like he’s a regular) at a restaurant with Michelle Obama you probably wouldn’t think “ay up, who’s that fancy Dan she’s stepping out with? No doubt some good time Charlie who’ll be trying to have his wicked way!” You’d probably be busier thinking “is that… I think that’s… Yeah! That’s DEFINITELY Michelle Obama! What’s she doing at Chick-fil-A?”

    Imagine seeing sex in everything that happens between men and women (obviously the same is not true for, you know, homosexuals). Imagine a life where every drink with a female friend or colleague is scrutinized for its propriety. Imagine imagining that no woman would socialise with you without there being an undercurrent of sexual tension.

    It almost suggests that these fundies are sexually smoldering Byronic heroes- imagine how difficult it must be to suppress your sex drive if everything from hand holding and cookie eating to dinner with your boss’s pregnant girlfriend is construed as implicitly sexual. It implies this, but in reality they seem to be mostly amply bellied, jowly white guys who still use 1940’s slang and are frightened of virtually everything.

    It’s no wonder they believe the modern world is so overrun by lust- it must be a terrible disappointment to them when they find out it’s not. Kind of like going to a safari park on a wet afternoon when all the animals are asleep under the trees.

  • Vermic

    Our authors have sex on the brain, but are simultaneously terrified of it. (Sex, I mean, though they’re probably terrified of their own brains too.) I mean, look at Nicky — he’s completely monogamous and faithful to Hattie as far as we know. He’s the supreme ruler of the world and, if he so chose, could own a harem so vast as to put the richest sultan or Chinese emperor to shame. He could even have all his concubines be drop-dead gorgeous stewardesses if that were his thing. But he has eyes for only one woman.

    Illicit sex is so unthinkable to LaHaye & Jenkins that they can’t even show the Antichrist engaging in it. Genocide’s fine, though.

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

    There is that. If I wanted to portray “immorality” in the Christian sense, I’d have Nicolae surrounded by the highest-priced escorts, male and female, from around the world.

    “Pshaw, Rayford. The world can afford it. After all, I did just seize everyone’s gold reserves with THE ONLY ARMY LEFT. MWAHAHAHAHA.”

  • Daniel

    Neil Gaiman got it right with Lucifer Morningstar- DAVID BOWIE. Where fundies wear a “wwjd” wristband, Satan wears a “wwbd” band. The answer is always right.

  • J Neo Marvin

    David Bowie would make a great Antichrist character. Picture it: when he first gains power he’s in his blond, overly-tanned Let’s Dance period; then, as his corruption is gradually revealed, he becomes the gaunt, coke-damaged Thin White Duke character; finally his full “evil” (by fundie standards) nature is revealed when he appears in full Ziggy Stardust drag.

  • Jamoche

    Have you seen his latest video?

  • mcc

    He did do Pontias Pilate…

  • AnonaMiss

    Didn’t he get her pregnant out of wedlock?! And he’s not even marrying her now! For shame!

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Are they engaged by this point in the books? I forget. Either way, I suppose it’s evil enough that they didn’t rush off to a church (or whatever Enigma Babylon calls its centers of worship) and get hitched the second they started having lustful thoughts.

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

    I’ve told this story before, but it never ceases to simultaneously sadden and amuse me: on Christian talk radio, a speaker once told his heroic tale of spurning a hotel shuttle to the airport, because he would be the only passenger in a shuttle driven by (gasp!) a woman.

    Because men can’t leave themselves open to the temptation of ANY KIND. And they have to (as Fred pointed out) avoid even the HINT of impropriety. After all, you never know what might happen if a married man is driven around by a lady shuttle bus driver. ANYTHING. Because women are all interchangeable beings who only exist to tempt and distract men from their holy purpose. And the men, sadly enough, have absolutely no control over themselves at any time.

    What a strange, awkward, and terribly fraught world it is that RTCs live in.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think it is also that “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” kind of restriction, the belief that if they have any remotely lustful thoughts about someone not their spouse then they are committing adultery of the mind and are thus sinners.

    Of course, living in such perpetual fear of sex tends to make everything have a sexual connotation thus putting it on the brain more frequently, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of shame and repentance. Either they become increasingly zealous as this repeats, or they cannot handle it any more and leave the faith, so that only the really zealous remain.

    I suspect that this is more of a feature than a bug, sadly.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    It’s been speculated that the simultaneous fear of and obsession with “illicit” sex is one reason why there are so many sex scandals involving social conservatives.

  • arcseconds

    Perhaps what is going on here is not so much that the speaker was really worried about suddenly finding himself doing the underpants charleston in a shuttle bus, but rather saw an opportunity to show how Holy! he is.

  • Daniel

    Brains look a lot like another part of the male anatomy. Obviously women don’t have to worry, because they have neither. It says a lot for the antichrist that where God is quite happy to impregnate a virgin engaged to another man, Satan’s minion is apparently a one woman guy. Just to play devil’s advocate, so to speak…

  • Patter

    What’s she doing at Chick-fil-A?

    [[Rimshot!]]

  • P J Evans

    Yeah.
    I can see her at Costco (food samples to get stuffed on, plus a small lunch area), or In-n-Out, though.

  • Lunch Meat

    Imagine a life where every drink with a female friend or colleague is scrutinized for its propriety.

    In many RTC communities, it already is. In RTC world, men and women don’t understand each other, so how could they be friends? A woman with male friends is either trying to reject her femininity and “act like a man” or she is trying to seduce them. And a colleague? That’s even worse. Women should naturally be in the kitchen, so if a woman is a colleague of a man (and not other women, as she would be if she was a nurse or a teacher or a secretary) then she’s either rejecting her God-given role or she’s trying to seduce them.

    This is a world where men don’t promote women to high-ranking jobs because they don’t want to ever be alone with them, because they might “lose control” and have an affair. This is a world where a man can fire a woman for being too pretty and jeopardizing his marriage. This is a world where people are told that an affair could always happen to you if you aren’t careful, if you spend too much time alone with the opposite sex or if you don’t protect your marriage enough–for a woman, that means making sure you never think badly of your husband, compare him to others, or allow yourself to be dissatisfied. It also means making sure you’re helpful, kind, beautiful, obedient and always ready for sex, because if your husband has an affair, that’s also your fault (as well as the fault of the cleavage-having, skirt-wearing harlot who was alone with him).

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I find people who are raised in a social environment that tries to strictly limit their sexuality tend to be the most sexually adventurous if they ever find themselves abandoning that upbringing.

  • SkyknightXi

    And how, in turn, is the man with several female friends deemed? I doubt they consider God dim enough to make the yin and yang about as compatible as positrons and electrons…

  • Lori

    And if you are such a failure as a woman that your husband cheats on you you’re response must be to not only forgive him, but to redouble your efforts to give him honor for buying you stuff, because after all he’s a man so of course he’s going to cheat,

    Of so says that great arbiter of morality, Pat Robertson. I am not making that up.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/pat-robertson-husband-cheats-fix-wife-article-1.1347096

  • Vermic

    ‘“Males have a tendency to wander a bit, and what you want to do is make the home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander,” [Robertson] said.’

    This explains so much about Irene Steele. She’s thinking that if only the house had enough frilly knick-knacks, perhaps that would be enough to stop her Captain leering at that strumpet of a stewardess. Maybe his next flight will be the one where he stops. Maybe just two more frilly knick-knacks.

  • Daniel

    Men like meringue. That’s just a fact. It’s often commented on as the one point where evolution and Creation Science agree. If your house looks like it’s full of meringue, why would you go elsewhere?

    Either that or the filling of the place with frilly knick knacks is actually a deeply tragic cry for help- shield yourself Irene, shield yourself from the brutal reality of a husband who doesn’t care and is stringing along a woman slightly older than his daughter… just compensate with doilies. And antimacassars. You can never have too many antimacassars.

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

    Yep, you heard it here first, ladies. If your man doesn’t bring home enough bacon, doesn’t get that big promotion at work, or starts to lose his hair or develop a beer gut, it is absolutely natural for you to cheat.

    Oh, wait. It probably doesn’t work both ways with Robertson, does it?

  • P J Evans

    And these are people who are afraid that someone might come in and impose Shari-a law … which is pretty much what they’re already trying to get passed.
    The cognitive dissonance must be defining.

  • P J Evans

    pardon me, ‘deafening’. D typpeo not so good any moore.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I once believed that such people must be under constant strain due to keeping that cognitive dissonance in check. I have since come to believe that they are no longer subject to cognitive dissonance, the conflict simply does not happen.

    It is like someone handed them a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 and said, “Do you think you can make this whole ‘doublethink’ thing work?”

    And lo, they did.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Orwell didn’t invent Doublethink, he just gave it a name.

  • c2t2

    I think “defining” works too.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    This is a world where people are told that an affair could always happen to you if you aren’t careful…

    “I’m telling you, it just happened! I slipped and fell onto his penis!”

  • Daniel

    I thought it’s more “I turned around quickly and ended up inside her!” whereupon he’s forgiven and she’s rightly held to account as a harlot and possessor of internal genitals. I may have misjudged said believers though.

    Obviously it never happens between men, no matter how much we may admire the aesthetics of them carrying our heavy luggage…

  • Dogfacedboy

    It’s Hattie Durham calling. This provides Jerry Jenkins with a chance to review and rehash Hattie’s history in this chapter the same way he did Chaim and Tsion’s history in the last chapter.

    With Jenkins on record as saying he pooped out wrote 20 pages per day when working on these books, a lot of which is rehashing the “content” from previous books and inserting useless logistical information, I got inspired to do a little quick and dirty math. TW: Unfairness of life.

    65 million books sold multiplied by a guesstimated royalty rate of $1.40 per book (probably considerably low, assumes 50/50 hardcover/trade paperback) = $91 million. Divided by 2 (assume he has to give half to LaHaye for his handy outline) = $45.5 million. Divided by 16 books = $2,843,750 per book. Twenty days to complete a book (including “editing”) x 8 hours/day = 160 hours. $2,843,750 divided by 160 = $17,773 per hour. Whew! They must call him Golden Fingers.

    And none of this includes royalties from the movies, video games, kid’s series, pet’s series, etc.

    Do you suppose there’s anyone in the world that makes so much for doing so little (and doing it so badly)?

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

    Cassandra Claire.

    (Back story here. Warning: clear your day or weekend for this.)

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Oh you had to mention that steaming pile of…

    vegetables.

    (totally agree btw)

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

    AAAAAAAAAAGH NOT THE VEGETABLES. *shudders*

  • JustoneK

    okay srsly what is this reference

  • flat

    In one of the books the tribbles are eating in Israel, and they are threated with butter and vegetables as diner.

  • JustoneK

    with…butter and vegetables.

  • caryjamesbond

    There was one, possibly apocryphal story I heard about one of your business tycoons who took a job with a contract guaranteeing him a really nice golden parachute when he retired, but with no time limit in the contract. He took the job, promptly quit and collected his package without working a day.

  • P J Evans

    It might be apocryphal, but it’s believable. Especially if the corporate contract lawyers didn’t see it before the board voted. There are more than a few examples of executives to took the parachute route before they’d been on the job a year.

  • tatortotcassie

    Oh, they weren’t *threatened* with butter and vegetables as dinner. They happily ate buttered vegetables for dinner. And lunch. And possibly breakfast as well. Because after Jesus came back, everyone has been transformed into asexual vegetarians . . . who somehow still have access to butter, but with no mention of milk or cheese.

  • Dash1

    Which is really ridiculous, because if they’re living in a vegetarian world, there’s no reason they can’t be enjoying a lovely bruschetta with olive oil instead. It’s not like vegetarians don’t eat well. But LaHaye and Jenkins are not apparently familiar with Mediterranean-inspired foods (or vegetarianism), and so we are treated to the image of piles of vegetables drenched with butter as the only alternative to steaks on the grill.

  • J Neo Marvin

    Maybe it’s divine margarine.

  • J Neo Marvin

    “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Manna”.

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

    *shudder* Glorious Appearing.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    … oh no… oh no… God no!

    I just had the most horrible image pop into my head. I cannot bare this alone, you will all share my burden…

    A burlesque show, where a dancer comes out dressed as Jesus and… well… you can guess where it goes from there.

    “Glorious Appearing” indeed. o.O

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    HE IS RISEN!

  • Lori

    I’m pretty sure it’s been done.

  • AnonaMiss

    I was under the impression that Cassandra Claire, however repugnant, didn’t have any of her plaigerism published/sold?

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

    Yeah. While I approve of her story being spread everywhere, she’s just some random jerk. She has nowhere near the cultural influence of L&J, nor would she use it for spreading complete vileness as they have. She’s also far from the only unethical, and bad, writer to get rich from bad writing.

    Everyone go buy all of Pamela Dean’s books now please. She is one of my favorite authors, and because she comes up with such original stuff that are not quick beach reads, she has a tough time getting publishing contracts.

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

    Forgetting the movie coming out this year? If CC’s negotiated any kind of percentage contract she’ll never have to work again.

    So yes, I have reasons to be resentful of the way she parlayed her fanbase into $$$ and doing so with a healthy dollop of plagiarism.

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

    She’s still not L&J level. The only popular fiction writer whom I think was as vile as them, and who used his writing to cause as much harm, is L. Ron Hubbard.

  • VMink

    Once upon a time, I read Battlefield Earth, Blackout, and the Mission Earth series. To his credit, he got started as a pulp writer in the Golden Age and wow, does it show in these books. There’s only so much pulp one can take, and I think Mission Earth exceeds the RDA by several orders of magnitude.

    Then I did more research and learned how… irrational… L. Ron was. And then I read Bald-Faced Messiah, and realized that there’s something worse in the world than an irrational idealogue.

    Which is to say: I generally agree. L&J are most like Hubbard in their writing, their goals, and their audience. The main difference is, L. Ron believed jack-all of what he wrote.

  • ngotts

    He certainly started out that way. But going by Bare Faced Messiah (not “Bald-Faced” BTW, Russell Miller’s British), I think he got sucked into his own whirlpool of lies by the end. A fitting punishment, if so.

  • SisterCoyote

    That, and, perhaps less importantly, the series is just crap. It’s just… bad writing. Awful writing. Poor characterization, lots of plotholes, and just… bad.

  • Lori

    Are there any good authors who have made the jump from fanfic to non-fan publication? It seems like the only time you hear about someone who got their start in fic the books are freaking awful.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Define terms. Anne B. Walsh is good (which I am saying as her reader, not as her friend), but she hasn’t exactly hit the big time.

  • Lori

    By making the jump I mean signed by a publisher and actually selling books to at least some general readers who didn’t follow them from fanfic.

    I mean good in the fairly broad sense of “not total crap”. Not inspiring rage and/or things like this:

    Just to clarify, while I have said almost that exact thing about Those Books, but I did not write that note and that is not my hand.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, in that case I don’t know of any. Though like I said, I don’t know if McGuire and Novik were fanficcers first.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I read that Colleen Doran’s A Distant Soil started out as a fan comic. Young Colleen really liked Aquaman, so she created her main character to be his girlfriend, and the protagonist’s backstory grew into its own thing.

  • P J Evans

    Diane Duane, I think. Susan R Mathews – I know I met hers first as fanfic. Doyle and Macdonald started out that way – the earliest versions of their ‘Star Pilot’s Grave’ were fanfic. (And Star Wars fanfic, at that.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Seanan McGuire writes fanfiction. So does Naomi Novik. I don’t know if either started as a fanficcer, though.

  • Beroli

    Are there any good authors who have made the jump from fanfic to non-fan publication?

    Lois McMaster Bujold.

    One of her friends talked at some length about the Star Trek fanfiction she used to write.

  • Lori

    I had totally forgotten about that. Which makes sense since if the books are good that becomes the focus instead of how the writer got started writing.

    I feel better now. I don’t read fic (just not my thing), but on geek grounds I sort of hate it when the only attention fic gets is as the starting point for incredibly crappy books.

  • Jamoche

    The first Vorkosigan book started out that way: Cordelia was a Federation officer, Aral was a Klingon.

  • FearlessSon

    Are there any good authors who have made the jump from fanfic to non-fan publication?

    Peter David. Started out writing things like Dr. Who fanfics. Then branched out into Star Trek novels (which are honestly just licensed fanfics) and then moved into comic books and original novels like Sir Apropos of Nothing.

  • tatortotcassie

    I almost wish I didn’t know this about CC’s past because I saw her books and was curious, wanting to read them.
    Now I can’t help wondering how much of her fiction publications are plagiarized. And I’m so angry I can’t think straight. (Also, the wiki article on her says that *she* deleted her fanfiction account and I can’t update it to correct that.)

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

    I doubt her publications are plagiarized. Derivative as anything, yes, but I don’t think she or her editors would be brazen enough to outright plagiarize, knowing she’s heavily scrutinized. I would definitely recommend against reading anything she writes, though. The only decent parts in her fanfic were the plagiarized bits :P.

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

    I’ve heard she’s lifted story elements from the Draco Trilogy, so there’s an indirect chain there.

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

    Yes, but — oh gods I’m defending Cassandra Clare, wtf. I should make this clear: I hate plagiarism with the passion of 10,000 suns. I think CC’s an awful human being and showed herself to be one even without the plagiarism. Okay, that out of the way.

    The Draco Trilogy’s plot elements seem to be completely made up in Cassandra Clare’s own little brain. Which makes the shoehorning of the plagiarized parts even weirder and more obvious. And even if plot elements were copied, that’s derivative, but it’s not plagiarism so long as the words aren’t copied.

    There’s no question that CC benefits from having that huge fandom presence, and that the fandom presence benefited from plagiarism, and that therefore she is benefiting from plagiarism. But I think right now, in her published works, she’s using her own words.

  • Lori

    I have no idea if CC is still plagiarizing or not, but from what I’ve seen I don’t think that scrutiny would necessarily make her or her publisher hesitate to put out plagiarized material.

    I recall a plagiarism scandal from a few years back where an author was found to have stolen bits of pretty much every book she ever had published. The whole kerfuffle didn’t even delay the release of the book she had in the pipeline at the time the story hit, so I assume it had plagiarized bits in it too. She stole from writers with no power, some of whom were dead. I got the impression that the publisher figured that the risk of actual monetary loses was low so they didn’t give a crap.

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

    No, I was thinking of Cassie Edwards who continued to have books published even after it was proven that her idea of research was copying word for word from other people’s work.

    The entire Edwards flap left me with a really bad taste in my mouth, including killing my respect for another author whose work I had previously liked and making me really POed at at least 2 publishing houses. It was one thing for dipshit fans to make excuses and act like Edwards should be coddled and excused because she was an old lady. It’s another thing for a published author to take the side of a thief against other writers and for publishers to continue to sell the work of a thief.

    With rare exceptions publishing doesn’t give a good god damn about plagiarism as long as the result makes them money. If CC is no longer stealing from other writers it’s not because she couldn’t get published if the work she was selling wasn’t original.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I was on the sidelines during that whole mess, I read kids’ and young adult books (and reread kids’ and young adult books). And recommend kids’ and young adult books to people at my store. The whole plagiarism debacle (and the fact that my attempt to read the Draco Trilogy ended with me giving up out of boredom after a few chapters) has kept me from reading any of Cla(i)re’s mainstream fiction.

    I haven’t gotten far enough through the Bad Penny post you linked to, but does it go into Laptopgate? That’s when the laptops of Cla(i)re, her boyfriend, and her roommate, who apparently didn’t have renter’s insurance, were reportedly stolen and her fans contributed far more than the value of the laptops. I seem to recall that there was also a kerfuffle when Cla(i)re was considering what to spend the extra money on, but cannot find the reference at the moment.

    So. Yeah. Not reading Cla(i)re’s stuff.

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

    Yeah, I think it does. If not, the MsScribe story on badpenny will.

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

    She actually wanted Heidi Tandy’s signal boosting, and it was Heidi and especially her fanpoodles (mainly the vile and fascinating MsScribe) who shat all over the sick mother. I don’t know how involved CC was in that — I think she actually posted a link when asked, and sort of kept out of it.

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

    You mean Heidi ISUEYOUIFYOUUSEMYLASTNAME? :P

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

    Did she say that, even though she spread her last name about everywhere? Not surprised, considering Heidi threatened to sue everyone for everything.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Boy, fanwank is srs bizness

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

    Plagiarism is serious business. Telling a cancer patient you wish she’d fuck off and die already because she’s just so annoying wanting any attention is serious business. If you’re not a Fandom_Wank member, you can’t see that latter thread; the people defending Heidi and that whole group were vile on a level you probably can’t imagine. I’m not going to quote it, because it’s hidden for good reason.

    What happens on the internet involves real people.

  • flat

    off topic

    I just heard some bad news about my father.

    My father has Emphysema and he was send to a hospital a while back for an scan for a planned future operation which would have given him more air.

    During the scan the doctors discovered a tumor on one of his kidneys.
    The tumor hasn’t metastasized .
    But because of his Emphysema they can’t remove the tumor either because the operation would reduce his Lung volumes with 30%, and since he already has 35% lung volumes left, you can understand why the doctors don’t want to operate.

    The good news is that my father has’t had any trouble from the tumor itself, only from his lungs, and the tumor hasn’t metastasized.

    The hospital has given us six weeks to proces the bad news and after that they would discus future options.

    Could you people pray for my dad and my sisters and my mother.

    Thanking you in advace

  • GeniusLemur

    I hope your dad gets good news very soon.

  • flat

    well me too but we have to be realistic, I was prepared for something like this and it still hit me pretty hard.

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

    *Sending good wishes to you and your family*

  • X

    Courage to everyone in your family!

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Praying for all of you. I hope you get through this as well as possible.

  • SisterCoyote

    Ai, that is awful. I will be thinking of and praying for you and your family.

  • VMink

    You and your family have my very best hopes. It may become a very tough time for you. Stay strong.

  • Amaryllis

    Sending best wishes to your dad and all your family.

  • Trixie_Belden

    I’m sorry this has happened. I am sending my best wishes to you and your family.

  • Dash1

    Done. Very best wishes to you and your family and especially to your father.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    I’m praying for you all. Best wishes for your father & here’s hoping there are options available that will bring him peace.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    You and your father have my best wishes.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Praying for you and your family!

  • flat

    ps thanks Fred for posting this NRA post early, it was just what I needed.

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

    I’m used to these characters behaving monstrously, but even with that expectation, they still manage to horrify me. Consider the following:

    How he’d love to get a peek at the treasure trove of Bruce’s computer archives. But as he drifted off to a sound sleep, he was trying to figure a way to get back to Chicago by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way he could make it to Bruce’s memorial service.

    Ray wants to see Bruce’s computer archive. It’s something he’d really love to see, and as he’s falling asleep, he’s trying to think of a way to get back to Chicago… to see the computer archives! Oh, and also for Bruce’s memorial service too.

    As written, the strong implication is that Bruce’s memorial service is only significant because it’s happening in the same place that Bruce’s computer archives are.

  • JoshuaS

    Bruce’s memorial service is insignificant.

    This series is built on a denial of death. God promised them all eternal life at his feet, in exchange for their humanity.

    To that end, Rayford doesn’t really view Bruce as dead. He knows that Bruce has merely gone on ahead of him, and that they will be together again in a few years, along with Irene and Raymie and all of the others who will be lost over the course of the series. They’re not dead; they just got on an earlier flight and Rayford is just whiling away the time until God sees fit to strike him down too and carry him off to oblivion.

    So, yeah, attending the memorial service is a waste of time. Rayford knows that he will see Bruce again in, at most, four years assuming he survives the Tribulation (which 99% of the world’s population won’t).

  • aunursa

    which 99% 75% of the world’s population won’t

  • JoshuaS

    If I remember correctly, Rayford is the only human to still be alive for the Second Coming, right? Even Buck died. Who else made it to the end?

  • aunursa

    Rayford is the only one of the original four members of the TF to survive to the Second Coming. Many other Tribbles survive, including Chaim, Mac, Abdullah, Leah, Hannah, Ming, Chang…

    “The odds are, only one of the four members of the Tribulation Force will survive the next seven years.”
    Tribulation Force, p x

  • Lori

    So of course exactly one of the original four survives, because that’s totally how odds work. /sarcasm

  • aunursa

    And at the beginning of Book #11, Jerry Jenkins decided that he had to kill off two of the remaining three.

    Holly—Jerry, since none of the main 3 characters died in The Remnant, I’m wondering if you have feelings towards these characters and also hate to find them dead?
    Jerry Jenkins: I’d hate to find any of them dead, but soon two of them will be.
    hattielover: are buck and chloe going to make it all the way to the glorious appering?
    Jerry Jenkins: Only one of the original Trib Force members (Bruce, Rayford, Buck, Chloe) will survive till the GA. And one of them is already gone
    kgreen20: I don’t want Rayford, Chloe, or Buck to die! Couldn’t they all survive to see Jesus return?
    Jerry Jenkins: They could but it wouldn’t. Wouldn’t be realistic… Fiction, ironically, has to be believable.

  • Lori

    I’d hate to find any of them dead, but soon two of them will be.

    Again with the stupid crap about finding characters dead.

    Fiction, ironically, has to be believable.

    The man has truly amazing powers. He’s able to say something true and still so totally miss the point that it becomes just another giant FAIL.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Fiction, ironically, has to be believable.

    How the hell would you know, Jerry?

  • Jamoche

    This would be the computer archives that got printed out, of course. If only there were some way to move things between computers!

  • J Neo Marvin

    Well, in all fairness, one should assume that Nick would be monitoring all e-mail correspondence, so a file transfer might not be safe. But seeing as how he’s probably bogged down right now reading the entire Internet in alphabetical order, it might be a risk worth taking.

  • J Neo Marvin

    How fortunate that nuclear explosions have no effect whatsoever on a hard drive.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, it occurs to me that this point in the series the authors are trying to shift gears from the “globe-trotting intrigue” genre to the Roland Emmerich style epic disaster film genre. This is their Independence Day, their Day After Tomorrow, their 2012. The scale of destruction is so vast that it just kind of blurs into a background spectacle, and the characters we are introduced to are the only emotional anchor we have to the work.

    Of course, it helps when the characters we are emotionally anchored to are actually likable, which is kind of a critical detail that L&J overlook.

  • VMink

    Which just makes me think of the “That’s Armageddon!” sketch from Kentucky Fried Movie.

    Samuel L. Bronkowitz presents…. LEFT! BEHIND!

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think that L&J really need to get on their knees and repent this writing.

  • Worthless Beast

    The Son of God could do a lot worse than Optimus Prime. XD

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Yes, sadly, he could do a lot worse

  • SkyknightXi

    That one really IS on positron*electron levels of compatibility.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon
  • Jamoche

    ” Buck — as usual — was on the move. He didn’t know what he thought about this Verna Zee threatening the security”

    Here we have two stock formulations: “– as usual–” and “this [person’s name] (nothing against stock phrases, they’re the nuts and bolts of writing) that are meant to highlight things about the characters but end up saying things the author didn’t mean to reveal.

    “Buck – as usual – was on the move”: if Buck really were a reporter constantly on the lookout for the next big scoop, the “as usual” would draw attention to it. Here it just reminds us that this story tells us things about Buck that the overall narrative doesn’t back up.

    “this Verna Zee”: the sentence would read just as well without “this”, but adding it makes the difference between talking about a character and dehumanizing her. She’s not a person, she’s “this potential traitor”. That’s the intention, anyway. The reality is it makes him sound like a dismissive jerk – she’s just “this woman”.

  • Vermic

    I suppose the point of writing “this Verna Zee” is to remind us that this is a person Rayford doesn’t know (he’s only heard of her, through Buck). At least, I don’t think Verna and Rayford have met; if they have, then yeah, it’s a lot more dehumanizing.

    Either way, it’s irritating that our characters are pouring out all their suspicions onto poor Verna, as though she’s this big security threat, when it’s obvious to the reader that there’s nothing dangerous about her, other than not currently being on The Team ™. You go, Rayford! Defend those tribal borders!

  • JoshuaS

    What’s funny is that Verna never actually hurts anyone if I remember correctly. She’s nerdy and snarky and socially awkward, sure but I think she was just lonely and wanted to have friends, which is why she stayed with Loretta’s evangelism for so long and went along with everything Buck or Chloe or Loretta asked her. The tough guy thing she tried was all a facade; if you actually look at what she did in the story, she was basically a big old softy.

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

    Who nevertheless managed to keep her newspaper running, despite getting zero credit or thanks. I respect her even more now.

  • tatortotcassie

    Yes, but she’s a woman. We all know that women aren’t really *people* unless they have a Manly Ellenjay Hero to fawn over.

    (Besides, Verna isn’t just a woman — she’s a sensible shoe-wearing, closeted lesbian who refuses to cut Buck a break or giggle when he insults her. The horrors!)

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

    And Verna wouldn’t be a threat at all if the Tribbers didn’t take actions that are (literally) suicidally stupid, such as…oh…I don’t know…(Spoiler Alert)…bringing Tsion Ben-Judah to Bruce’s memorial service. And letting him speak at it.

  • Lectorel

    Time for more antichrist Hattie. Can anyone tell me why Hattie wanted to meet with Rayford? I haven’t read the books, and I’d prefer avoiding that fate a while longer.

  • aunursa

    She’s lost that lovin’ feeling for the most powerful man in the world. And she feelsl that Rayford, who two years earlier had strung her along and then rejected her, is the only person she can trust to tell her problems.

  • Lectorel

    Perfect. Antichrist Hattie can work with that. One virtuoso-level playing of Raygun’s ego coming right up.

  • JoshuaS

    She doesn’t exactly have a wide circle of friends. If she’s having problems in her life, she can either tell Nicolae, tell Rayford, or…

    …yeah, that’s it. In fact, all of the main characters of this series have a curiously limited web of interpersonal relationships. They all know each other, and apparently only know each other and a handful of people who hang out with them at work.

    Rayford doesn’t appear to have a family beyond Chloe. Buck has a few relatives that he was estranged from and never thinks about. Chloe doesn’t seem to have any friends from college or friends in the old neighborhood. Bruce ignored 98% of his parishioners, which is going to make his funeral awkward since most of the people who could theoretically attend probably couldn’t even pick him out of a police lineup, much less say something about him as a person or a pastor.

    That’s why these books have always felt somewhat claustrophobic to me. Each named character knows (and *only* knows) each other.

  • arcseconds

    When you put it like that, it’s actually more than merely claustrophobic — it’s downright creepy!

    I mean, there are certainly people who have very few friends or relations (that they’re on speaking terms with). But it’s unusual enough to warrant at least a mention, although probably some kind of justification if they’re your main characters.

    It’s perhaps not difficult to imagine Rayford being a bit of a loner. Maybe his late wife did the socializing, and he’s realised with her death that they were really her friends, not his.

    But Chloe was very recently a college student, living away from home if memory serves. She’s apparently bright, and personable, and attractive. It’s quite difficult for that to all be true and for her to have no friends!

    It’s also difficult to believe that a hot-shot reporter like Buck doesn’t have friendly rivals in other news agencies that he sees after big press conferences, or sources he’s friendly with, or former interviewees that he struck up a post-interview rapport with, or at least old drinking buddies from hack school who now may have families but might be happy to gas about old times with.

    So what is going on here?

    – this is what L&J’s social life is like, and they think everyone’s is like this? That’s hard to believe, given that they’re rich and kind of movers and shakers in their community.

    – this is what L&J think (maybe know?) that their reader’s social life is like.

    – What’s actually going on here is that Rayford , Buck and Chloe are vulnerable, lonely people who have joined a cult (hence why they only know each other) and most of the story is just complete delusion.

    – They’re actually living in a low-budget Truman show that can’t afford enough actors, or a resource-starved Matrix that can only simulate a handful of fleshed-out characters.
    Any moment now they’ll notice that receptionists and other bit parts are using a small number of stock phrases, and if you play your cards right you can loop back to the beginning of the conversation

    I think it’s most likely, though, that this is yet further proof of the authors’ inability to do decent world creation, and also their almost solipsistic outlook where the only people of any worth in the world are their main characters.

  • Jamoche

    Their social life could be like that, though – they’re so self-absorbed that all those people they meet through business and social activities just don’t register as anything beyond background noise.

  • Lori

    In fairness, this is really common in fiction. It’s not good, but it’s a problem shared by plenty of better writers than Jerry Jenkins*. It can be difficult to say, or even imply, that the main characters have relationships with people who aren’t also significant characters in the story. If you’re not careful you either end up with a cast of thousands feel or you create confusion because readers expect that person you just mentioned to be important later and then they aren’t (sort of a Chekov’s Gun effect, for characters instead of things).

    *I see it all the time in romance novels. There are a couple versions that make me especially irritated. First there’s the family saga/series where those who “marry in” have no friends or relations of their own so that they can be conveniently totally absorbed by the focused-on family. The other is the story where there’s some Big Misunderstanding because either or both halves of the couple does something totally stupid because they don’t have any friends to talk to. Many a very bad book could have been cut in half by the addition of a Get A Grip Friend.

  • GeniusLemur

    Oh, come on! That’s not how Jenkins wanted it to come across! That would be ridiculous! I mean, that would be like if the POTUS wanted to vent, so he called a member of the press into his room and… never mind.

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

    Don’t dress up? Because the only reason women dress up is to get the attention of men sexually, of course. What a maroon.

    The tiny-circle-is-all-that-matters thing is why I have problems playing Family Sims in Sims 2. Luckily, with the secondary aspirations introduced in Free Time, they’re a bit less selfish and claustrophobia-inducing. Rayford… has no secondary aspirations. Actually, I’m trying to figure out his primary aspiration and failing. What drives Rayford? I can’t tell.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon
  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I trust EA as far as I can throw their corporate offices.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    “Cautious optimism” is warranted, I will grant… but given how big an assbite they got from their recent screw ups, they might just make it a little better.

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

    I’m generally happier when I have no hope for something and turn out to be pleasantly surprised by it not being as bad as I thought it would be. Especially when it comes to games, and especially when it comes to EA. The only big gaming company I trust to always produce quality is Atlus. Not gonna let any other game company break my heart again (looking at you, Bioware and Squaresoft).

  • SisterCoyote

    Hmmm. Even if Paul was advocating to avoid even the appearance of sin, Jesus never really seemed to care much about such appearances; rather the opposite, IIRC. And I’ll take Jesus’s advice over Paul’s any day of the week.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    I take the point about confusing good behavior and its appearance, but Rayford’s reaction of not wanting to appear to be doing wrong is actually something I’ve encountered in real life. A former colleague of mine was an observant Jew and big basketball fan. We worked in an area of Tel Aviv that has many fine restaurants and hangout joins, almost none of which are kosher, and one of them used to set up big screens during basketball championships (or whatever the word is) so customers could sit and watch. When it was suggested to him that he could sit there and watch the game and only order a bottled drink (which isn’t affected by the restaurant’s non-kashrut) he refused, because even though he would know that he wasn’t doing wrong, he would appear to be, and thus would be adding his own small portion of encouragement to others’ wrongdoing. While I agree that appearing to do good isn’t as important as doing good, I do think there’s a corollary that sometimes appearing to do good is necessary in addition to doing good, which, it feels to me, is being referenced here. Poorly and in conjunction with the continued slut-shaming of Hattie, but still.

  • MaryKaye

    I agree. My teenaged son will pick up a piece of trash to fiddle with, then drop it on the ground. He argues that he isn’t adding any litter, and if it’s not morally obligatory for him to clean up others’ trash, then it doesn’t magically become obligatory just because he touched it.

    The practice annoys me, and one of the reasons is that it makes him look like a litterer, which I fear will encourage others to litter.

    On the other hand, this is a very weak principle and to my tastes certainly does not stand up to the use it’s being put to here. Billy Graham’s “don’t be with a woman alone” does far more harm than it could ever do good (to start with, it promotes the evil idea that men can’t be trusted and that the fair response is to restrict women–and that is much more important than Billy Graham’s reputation).

    I think the danger of “don’t be seen to do evil” is that it has legitimate uses which map to “don’t encourage others to do evil” but it more frequently maps onto “don’t damage your own reputation.” Having a good reputation, Jesus showed, is not a moral virtue in itself–if doing good gives you a bad name, you are still supposed to do good. (In my son’s example he is not doing good, he’s doing a petty bad thing made *worse* by setting a bad example.) And reputation-building can rapidly slide into deception–as long as I seem good I don’t have to *be* good….

  • arcseconds

    Ah, but by picking it up, he is making it his. No-one wanted it, and now he’s claimed it. He could take it home and pin it up on his wall if he wanted to (well, if you’d let him).

    But the way he decides to dispose of what is his once he doesn’t want it any more, is to throw it on the ground.

    ergo, he is a litterer :-)

  • Chase

    People are actually more likely to litter where there’s already litter, and a no-littering sign with litter near it attracts more litter than just ground with litter but no sign. This might be because when people see the sign has already been disobeyed, it subconsiously gives them licence to disobey as well. Social norms are powerful. Your son might also have a similar effect- by dropping things on the ground, he provides a taboo-breaking model for other people to follow.

    ht tp://www.psmag.com/culture/do-not-litter-signs-can-be-counterproductive-36427/

    It would be an interesting experiment to do.

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

    Another thing. One thing I’ve noticed about instructions is that sometimes being told not to do something makes someone want to do it anyway.

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

    Littering was considered an absolute taboo among my cohorts in Michigan. You just Did Not Do It — it wasn’t risky or roguish, it was fucking vile. It was pretty rare to see litter in parks, and it wasn’t even common along the road.

    Then I move to Florida, and litter is everywhere. Teenagers throw things off the trail at parks. I believe this is due to two things: 1) where I live in Florida, there is no sense of community. I’m not talking about wanting some Mayberry thing — there is literally no sense of community whatsoever. I don’t know how to describe it, it is very, very strange. 2) Littering in Michigan = $500 fine. Littering in Florida = $50 fine which is obviously never enforced.

    There is something similar going on with drunk driving. People drove drunk in Michigan, no question: but they didn’t admit it. They made excuses. In Florida, I have heard multiple conversations between people griping about how dare a cop pull me over when I was driving drunk, and how do you escape the penalties for drinking and driving. This just was not something one admitted to in Michigan, at least not where I lived.

    I don’t know why this part of Florida is like this, but I think someone should study it, because we need to know why it happens.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Ugh, Florida sounds horrible. More reasons to never go there, I guess (beyond the climate, the craziness, and the alligators). If it wasn’t for NASA and the manatees, I’d write the state off completely.

    On the subject of litter, I just got back from Tokyo, which has very, very few public trashbins. I hate littering, so I’d be carrying an empty bottle or can for 15-20 minutes before I found a trash can to dispose of it in. Despite this, the city has almost no litter in it. Here in LA, you’ll find litter only a few feet away from a trash can. People just can’t be bothered to walk a few feet.

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

    Something’s been bugging me all morning…

    Surely there had to be some way he could make it to Bruce’s memorial service. He was pleading his case with God as sleep enveloped him.

    Why?

    I mean, I understand that it is important to Rayford that he attend Bruce’s memorial service. But what I don’t understand is why it’s important. This is yet another chapter in the “how L&J fail to tell a story”, but it’s illustrative.

    Lots of stories have characters wanting thins or thinking things are really important. Sometimes the story makes the thing important. (“You must take the One Ring into the fire, or the world will perish!”) Sometimes, the role that the character fills makes the thing important, (“Why do you want to rule the world?” “Because I’m the villain!”) and we accept the handwaving because it’s necessary to the plot.

    But usually, when something is important to a character, it’s importance tells us something about that character. Why is it important that Ray go the the memorial?

    Option 1
    Ray prayed he could find a way to return to the remains of Chicago. The memorial service provided cover for meeting with his resistance cell. He had eavesdropped on the leaders of the nations and the Antichrist for hours, and had vital information that had to be spread among the cells. But would the memorial of a Christian preacher go un-monitored by the Global Community?

    Problems: Well, Rayford doesn’t think of his friends as part of an insurgency or resistance cell, they’re just his friends. And he’s never shown the slightest interest in passing on what he’s heard from the AC. And if there is a larger network for the resistance, it’s never been brought up before now.

    Option 2
    Ray prayed he could attend Bruce’s memorial service. When Raymie and his wife vanished, there was no funeral, and Rayford ached knowing that he never got to say good-bye to them. He knew that they would return at the end of the Tribulation, but that loss, so sudden and unexpected, was an open wound on his heart, and would remain so until the glorious return. Bruce Barnes had died while Rayford was just minutes away, stuck in traffic, and Rayford was denied a chance to say goodbye to him. A small, dark voice inside Rayford wondered how many more loved ones would be taken from him without the chance to say goodbye; getting to attend Bruce’s farewell would go a long ways towards silencing that voice.

    Problems: The Mare-Sue is rampant here; there’s simply no way that our powerful, manly protagonist can be shown as scared or weak or unable to get what they want. It also butts squarely up against the “fear of death/going to heaven without dying” weirdness of the Rapture. Yes, Bruce is dead… for now. But he’ll get better in a few years. If everyone at New Hope is a believer, then they all know he’s not “out of the game”, he’s just been “benched” until the 4th quarter.

    Option 3

    Bruce prayed he could return to New Hope, to speak to the assembled congregation of New Hope at the memorial service. Too much of Bruce’s teachings had been withheld, too little of the knowledge of the Tribulation disseminated, and this would likely be the very last time these folks would come together like this. Buck was overseas with an uncertain return, and while Chloe and Loretta and Amanda were spiritual pillars of strength, the congregation knew that only men could preach. Ray was the leading figure of the church now, the only one who could speak from the pulpit earnestly, with authority, and reveal the greater truth.

    Problems: Well, this makes Bruce look like a secretive ass denying life-saving information to his congregation. It insults Chloe, Loretta, and Amanda by denying them agency and paints the congregation as sexist. It makes Raymond seem pompous and arrogant, implying that after less than three years, he’s the most important member of congregation.

    So guess which directions the authors go in?

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Ooh! Ooh! I bet I know!!

    They find something even worse than Option 3. Something that not only insults all the “good” characters, but gives Nicky Poconos a chance to be a good guy…let’s see, when RayRay wakes up next morning he finds a message directly from the AC himself pointing out that Ray must be concerned about his friends and family in the Chicago area, so why doesn’t he take a few weeks off – full pay, of course, oh, and take Global Community 1, Nicky can manage without it – to go home and make sure everything’s all right. Or something like that. (In any halfway competent suspense story, a message like that from the Big Bad would be intensely sinister and lead to all sorts of horrors, but here? You know Ellenjay could be trusted play it completely straight.)

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

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 195 pages

  • Nick

    “That’s not merely a continuity error. That’s a rejection of the entire principle of continuity.”

    On the contrary, I’d say it’s one of the few times these books have displayed any real sense of continuity. It’s been well-established by now that nuclear bombs in the LB-verse do not actually destroy cities, or apparently much of anything else.

  • Mrs Grimble

    Never mind the archaic use of “stepping put” – what made me boggle was the line “Rayford disrobed to his boxers”.

    First of all, why keep his underpants on when he’s relaxing in his own bedroom in a hot, sticky climate? And why not simply say “Rayford stripped off his clothes” without any mention of underwear?

    OK, maybe there’s a genuine worry that the use of the ‘s’ word might bring to mind the other kind of stripper; but ‘disrobed’ seems a very poor substitute. It make me, at least, think that Rayford is slipping out of a…well, a robe. And is now posing coyly in his undies.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Maybe the target audience would be deeply, deeply shocked by the possibility of CallMeCaptain sitting around with his naughty bits out, and LaJenkins needed to make it absolutely totally crystal clear that he would never do such a thing?

  • themunck

    Maybe Ray is just more comftable in his boxers than naked? I know I am, almost no matter how warm and humid it gets.

    Gaaah! I just defending this piece of trash!
    I feel dirty :(

  • FearlessSon

    For my part, I feel more comfortable in hot climates wearing something light but covering, like some pajama pants and a short-sleeved shirt. The discomfort for me comes mainly from my sweaty limbs rubbing against one another while I try to relax, and it makes sleeping difficult. If I keep my limbs out of rubbing contact, I am more comfortable despite the slight additional insulation the sleeping cloths provide.

  • Lori

    Maybe Rayford is a Never Nude

  • Jamoche

    But ‘disrobed’ is more Biblical! Or more King James English, anyway.

  • Simon

    Destroy the city, but leave the suburbs… do the authors have something against cities or inner cities?

  • Lori

    That’s a rhetorical question, right?