NRA: Counting on a miracle (2)

Deus ex machina

The miracle-or-bust approach of reckless heroes with no plans doesn’t necessarily make for a bad story. And thus the little Tsion’s Escape From Zion subplot in these chapters of “Nicolae” didn’t necessarily have to be so awful. So let’s look at some of the ingredients of a successful leap-of-faith story, so that later we can see how the lack of these ingredients accounts for the awfulness of Buck Williams’ little adventure. [Read more...]

NRA: Counting on a miracle


Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 209-214 The tale of Buck and Tsion’s thrilling escape is not hackwork. Hackwork would have been a great improvement over this. If Jerry Jenkins were merely a hack then he could have done what hacks do in situations like this, ripping off ideas from popular stories and relying on [Read More...]

NRA: Pulpit ‘humility’


Jerry Jenkins seems dimly aware that he can’t portray his author-surrogate Buck Williams as too perfect. He wants Buck to be relatable, and — like an employee filling out one of those self-evaluations and reluctant to give themselves all 5s — he worries that Buck/Jenkins may come across as arrogant if he doesn’t acknowledge that the character has some flaws. So every few chapters or so, he inserts a little something to reassure readers that Buck is only human after all. The Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time and the coolest human ever, but still human. [Read more...]

NRA: Cringe with those who cringe


“Ask the others to join us for prayer,” Tsion says to Buck, and the reader’s eyes involuntarily scan ahead to see an unbroken block of text that continues for the next two pages. Oh no. No, not that, not again. They’re going to pray and we’re going to have to watch. [Read more...]

NRA: Tsion and them that mourn

The Russians love their children too.

This is series of books in which, in the first chapter of Book 1, everyone everywhere lost all of their children. Yet since then, Tsion Ben-Judah is only the fourth person we’ve seen responding to this loss. [Read more...]

NRA: Israeli checkpoints


Tim LaHaye’s ignorance about Israel does not come from innocence or naivete — from simply not having heard or learned or paid attention. It’s an ignorance that comes from a fierce determination not to hear, learn or pay attention. LaHaye believes he already has all the truth he needs to have about Israel. It’s right there in the prophecies of the Bible. [Read more...]

NRA: Anywhere I lay my head


In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Tim LaHaye explains what this passage means: The 144,000 Tribulation Saints cryptically mentioned in the book of Revelation will have “no real bed and no pillows.” [Read more...]

Les survivants de l’Apocalypse


This is the literary mash-up I’d like to see: “Left Behind” and “The Plague.” Give me Tim LaHaye’s “Bible prophecy” scheme, but instead of Rayford Steele, Buck Williams and the rest, give me a “Tribulation Force” of Dr. Rieux, Jean Tarrou, Rambert, Grand, Cottard, Fr. Paneloux and all the others. [Read more...]