Thursday, May 03, 2007

Left Behind - Tim LaHaye & Jerry B Jenkins

With the recent spate of popular atheist literature doing the rounds, a friend of mine decided to try out the competition, and picked up this (second-hand) copy of bestselling Rapture thriller Left Behind. Having been assured that it wasn't full of proselytising, I had a go at reading it, trying very hard to keep an open mind. I made it up to page 50, and even that was an effort. This book stinks.

The story starts with heroically-named pilot Rayford Steele flying his plane and thinking sinful thoughts, when the Rapture happens, and half his passengers disappear, along with numerous airline staff. Of course, no-one knows it's the Rapture, just that lots of people have vanished without trace, and Rayford's first task is getting back to land and finding out whether his wife and son have also vanished. On the same plane is strangely well-paid journalist Buck, on his way back from meeting an Israeli scientist, who has to get back to New York to investigate this mysterious disaster. There's some stuff about biblical prophecies being fulfilled, and hints of a charismatic Romanian politician called Nicolae Carpathian who is probably the Antichrist. And, er, that's as far as I got.

It's true, there's no explicit preaching, or at least not in the first few chapters; that's not why I stopped reading (though the description of Rayford's super-Christian wife is pretty nauseating; apparently she would get up at the crack of dawn to keep the house nice and clean for him, decorate the place with "frilly country knick-knacks" and send him packages of home-baked cookies). It's just that the premise is ridiculous, and the writing is appalling. I mean, I'm a genre-geek fantasy reader, I'm happy to believe all sorts of nonsense for the sake of a good story, but the Rapture is such a daft idea that suspending my disbelief takes extra effort, and that's not easy when every sentence is like a kick in the face. Maybe it's got a good plot, but I couldn't find it in me to care; there are plenty of far superior books out there and I didn't want to waste my time reading this. It makes The Da Vinci Code look like Vellum.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions! The Secret Rapture soon, by my hand!
Read My Inaugural Address
My Site=

3:28 pm  
Blogger Alice said...

Dude, can you stop doing that. Your link isn't that funny and it's the second time you've posted it here. Any more of that and you get deleted as spam.

12:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm a spammer. But I do try to post only once per blog. My bad.

Quoting myself:
'You may feel this is a spoof or hoax and laugh. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not!'

Within months, if not years, by my hand, we will be in the post apocalyptic world of 'Jericho' on TV! The proof is in the pudding! Stay tuned!

4:10 pm  
Blogger Joe said...

One thing I'll disagree on: Good premise. The target audience is a Christian one and the concept of the Rapture is one that can be of interest to many, especially on the evangelical side of the line.

That said: The writing stinks. I did find the first several volumes compelling because of the premise and I was interested in how it would be executed, but it got progressively worse and preachy. The "last book" (which was promptly followed by three prequels) was little more than extended passages from the Bible. Umm...I've got the book at home, I don't need a novel version of the last chapter.

So yeah, the writing stinks.

3:25 am  
Blogger Kristycat said...

You may like this. Fred Clark goes page by page to explain why the Left Behind series just might be the Worst Books Ever Written. Insightful on both a theological and literary level, it also frequently manages to be gigglefit-inducingly hilarious.

12:01 pm  
Blogger Alice said...

Thanks! I've actually been following the Slacktivist blog for quite a few months ago, and you're right, it's brilliant. I always find myself looking forward to Left Behind Fridays... :D

2:42 pm  
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