L.B.: A billion Samanthas


This could work if it were intended as over-the-top satire, but that satire would have to be front-and-center as the dominant theme. It would have to be a story about the human capacity for epic denial — a story about the way people can be so profoundly narcissistic that they could literally stroll past the burning wreckage of an airplane, side-stepping charred bodies without the slightest hesitation and tuning out the cries of the injured as though they didn’t even exist. [Read more...]

L.B.: The Missing Children


If it seems I’m being picky here, singling out their neglect of UNICEF, note that they also never explore what’s going on with parents, grandparents, schools, day-care centers, nurseries, orphanages, toy stores or Nickelodeon. Even New Hope Village Church hasn’t given any thought to what it means to have church without Sunday school. The only thought the authors give to the ramifications of this sudden childlessness is to note that abortion clinics would be out of work. [Read more...]

L.B.: CSI Atlanta


Come to think of it, an insurance investigator might have made a far more interesting protagonist in our post-Rapture setting — think Edward G. Robinson in “Double Indemnity.” Such a character would have to set about getting to the bottom of things, investigating what happened, what caused this, who or what is to blame. (The phrase “act of God” would be much discussed.) [Read more...]

L.B.: Over at the Frankenstein place

The effect here is like watching the beginning of a bad horror movie, where the honeymooners whose car has broken down are happy and relieved to spot a light up ahead in what they don’t seem to notice is an incredibly creepy looking mansion. The filmmakers seem to intend such scenes to be suspenseful, but the audience instead is usually thinking that the young couple are idiots for seeking assistance from such an obviously malevolent source. Instead of thinking “Oh no! They’re heading into danger unawares!” the audience is thinking “That does it, these morons deserve whatever happens to them in there.” [Read more...]

L.B.: Fizzbinsationalism


Billings doesn’t care about the resurrection of the dead. He’s hoping for something he thinks would be even better — not dying at all. Thus where the majority of Christians for 2,000 years read Paul as saying “We shall not all SLEEP, but we will all be CHANGED,” Billings and L&J read Paul as saying “We shall not ALL sleep, but WE will all be changed.” [Read more...]

L.B.: The Undead


The distinction between dead and dead-like is immaterial. It does not matter to Rayford and it does not matter to Irene and Raymie. But it is desperately important to LaHaye and Jenkins. It is central to the appeal of their Rapture theory. “Sinners die, but Christians fly” is the core of what they believe. [Read more...]

T.F.: Subjective miracles

Tsion Ben-Judah apparently has never seen one of these awful bumper stickers.

What are we to make of Buck’s apparent notion that the rabbi needs to be informed of the Christian belief that “Messiah has already come”? Does he imagine that Ben-Judah has never heard of this Christian belief before? I mean — Jesus Christ — the guy has surely heard the phrase “Jesus Christ.” [Read more...]

T.F.: The ever-present absence of absence


The world of this story has no children. This story takes place IN a world without children and yet it is not the story OF a world without children. That simply doesn’t work. In a world without children, no other story can be told. Jerry Jenkins tries — he tries to tell us stories of airline promotions, of secretive diplomacy and of mistaken-identity romantic blunders, but none of those stories seems possible in a world without children. None of those stories can be reconciled with the supposed setting of a world without children. [Read more...]