Improving on Left behind?

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by mioque, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. mioque

    mioque
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    It is easy to point out flaws, it is harder to do something constructive about them.
    Imagine for a moment that you were Jenkins/La Haye at the time Left behind was conceived. What would you have done differently?

    1. I wouldn't have raptured the kids below age 12. Children make up something like 1/3 of the world's population. Realistically speaking, the impact of their disappearance would overshadow everything else throughout the first half of books so completely that talking about anything else comes across forced.
    2. More lowtech solutions to problems. At times it seems that every obstacle is solved either by a miracle, or by some piece of machinery (hotwiring it is optional).
    3. Some better research into customs of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinals are adressed as your eminence and not as your Excellency. Most of the other gaffes committed by Jenkins/La Haye are worse than this one.
    4. Some more varied and colourfull protagonists. Instead of Rayford Steele, Buck Williams, Bruce Barnes and Chloe Steele.
    A nicely decadent Italian cardinal steeped in deceit (the type who joined the priesthood to get an cosy job that doesn't involve any heavy lifting), who realizes all of the good guys amongst his colleagues have disappeared and who is envious of the new pope. That job should have been his! Everybody with any sense of Tradition knows that the last pope on earth must be Peter the Roman and not Peter the Yankee!
    A Belgian nun who has possibly something of a martyrcomplex. She was Raptured but asked to be returned to earth and got her wish. Ofcourse this bit of information is only revealed suitably late in the series.
    An inquisitive (and rather loose) moslim girl from Mali who is trying to figure out where that charming baptist missionary has gone.
    A very normal American highschool graduate who has a vacation job on a Kibbuts in Israel prior to going to college.
    As the story builds, the everyman American falls [​IMG] for the in our eyes a-typical moslim girl, who ofcourse converts to Christianity about halfway through book 3.
     
  2. chipsgirl

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    I'm sure their are plenty of ways people would improve these books and plenty of others. I didn't write it though so I just have to take what they give me and like it or not. Opinions don't really matter unless they are the authors.
     
  3. ccrobinson

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    First, a writer of fiction, and preferably somebody who had done a series, should have been the author. A writer of a series doesn't waste pages recapping previous events like Jenkins does. Tom Clancy once said, "The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense." Jenkins doesn't understand this because he's a non-fiction writer. Non-fiction and fiction are entirely different worlds. Now, on to my list.

    1. A basic understanding of technology. If an earthquake destroys everything, where is the infrastructure coming from to run a website getting billions of hits a day? Besides that, how is the Trib Force connecting to the Net without the GC knowing?

    2. The people who are left behind are not stupid. There are intelligent people who are not saved and will be left behind. Jenkins wants us to believe that the Christians are the only ones who have a functioning brain, and I just don't believe that. The people left behind may be fools, but that doesn't mean they're as dumb as a brick.

    3. This will sound strange, but a better portrayal of Satan. After the "indwelling" of book 7, Satan is portrayed as a bellowing buffoon. Ridiculous. Evil is smarmy and slimy. Satan talks to Eve in a soothing, mellifluous tone, convincing her that she needs to eat the fruit, not as the LB bully who would force the fruit down her throat. In LB, Satan blusters and bellows, and you have to wonder why anybody would follow him.

    4. A better understanding of math. According to a government census web site, the estimate world population today is over 6 billion. If you start with 6 billion, and reduce it by the Rapture, then by 1/4, then by 1/3, you don't have billions and billions accessing a website during the last half of the series.

    It's really too bad that a non-fiction writer was asked to write a series of fiction books. I'd like to have seen this series in the hands of somebody who really knew what they were doing with a fiction series.
     
  4. chipsgirl

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    If these books are so bad then why are they so popular? I can understand to some extent what you are saying but I still think these books are really good. I might not agree with every part of them but I think they are entertaining and find them enjoyable.
     
  5. mioque

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    "If these books are so bad then why are they so popular?"
    "
    Ever heard of Jerry Springer?

    "I might not agree with every part of them"
    "
    Entertain us, [​IMG] how you would change them.
     
  6. chipsgirl

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    I wouldn't change them. It's a fiction book based on what their view of the rapture is to be like. They wrote it, not me. If I changed it, it wouldn't be Left Behind now would it. I know you are just saying if you COULD change it, this is what you would have done. I just don't think of things like that unless it is something I created. Not trying to be harsh here. I'm just sticking up for the authors who worked really hard on this series and are probably very proud of their works. You could always write a book the way you would like. You just can't please them all though.
     
  7. mioque

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    ccrobinson
    I just realized something, you actually reached book number 7? I finally gave up after book 2.
     
  8. ccrobinson

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    mioque, Yeah, I read them fully through book 9, and finally had enough. I was able to set aside my criticisms of terrible dialogue, cliched characters, and poor storytelling, but finally said enough is enough. In order to finish what I started, I did skim through books 10, 11 and 12, which are worse than the first 9, if you can believe it.

    By the time Jenkins got to book 6 and beyond, the publisher had taken to using a larger font, and had bigger margins on each page, so they could stretch it out into an entire book. There just wasn't enough text to fill it up otherwise. Plus, when you consider the tricks Jenkins used to fill up the pages, there was precious little actual story being told.

    Left Behind was actually intended to be a 6 book series, but when they saw how much money there were making, it was stretched out to 12 books. Last I knew, they were going to publish a "prequel" to the whole series.

    I actually started reading them at the insistence of a friend, who thought they were great. Fortunately, I was able to borrow her books. I would have been pretty mad if I had spent good money on them! [​IMG]
     
  9. Jeff Weaver

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    Well, I read them all. All were bad, bad, bad. Bad writing, bad science, bad theology. But hey, I'm a librarian, so didnt cost me anything but 18 hours of my life I could have spent on better things. At any rate, I read them because they were so popular and so many patrons had questions about them.

    A coherent story could have been made into a book or two, assuming you buy LaHayes theology, which, BTW, I don't.

    Hal Lindsay (whose theology I don;t buy either), did a much better job in the 70s with these subject matters.

    But it would have been better if the story were told by a story teller.

    I have written quite a bit of non-fiction on military history, and know from personal experience that I am not capable of writing decent fiction. I have had friends who have tried, and so far all have failed. Likewise, it is difficult for those who write fiction to write and honest non-fiction piece as well. It can be done, but it is the exceedingly rare author who can do it well.
     
  10. mioque

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    I'm bumping this 'cause it is sorta related to something I typed on the No wizards left behind thread.
     
  11. Brother Ian

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    I've read them all. No they are not theologically deep, but I did find them entertaining, particularly when reading them next to the pool or on the beach.
     
  12. Ed Edwards

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    I haven't read a one of the LEFT BEHIND them.

    I have 'heard' all 12.
    I listened to the dramatic audio series.
    That isn't the same as the 'audio series' where somebody
    reads the book. It is more like old fashioned radio, different
    people saying different parts, background sounds, etc.

    I listened to them while riding to work with the music man from
    another church.

    I used to like LaHaye when he was writing Christian Psyco-analyzation
    books and 'How to Study the Bible' books, even Eschatology.
    Until LEFT BEHIND series, that is. ALB (after left behind) I took
    his advise and studied Eschatology on my own [​IMG]

    What is real funny is when people accuse me of being a Darby-ite [​IMG]
    I never heard of Darby till some postie (post-tribulation only rapturist)
    told me about him - tee hee!

    Anyway, LaHaye has a weak Antichrist and his sidekick, the Beast
    from the Land. They remind me of Bud Abbot and Lou Costello [​IMG]
    Come on, Leon isn't a serious False Prophet at all.
     
  13. mioque

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    I see another BIG thing I would change in Left Behind.
    Giving the protagonists more meaningfull stuff to do.
    Tying them in more directly into the Biblical narrative instead of leaving them on the outside doing Biblestudies explaining the events.
    I would definitely make my nun into one of the 2 witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11.
    Giving us a nice bit of emotional anguish when a person who has never hurt a fly get's the power and responsibility to wreak global havoc.
     
  14. ccrobinson

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    Those are good ideas, mioque.

    I've got some myself.

    Rather than gloss over the 144,000, how about a character who is a Jew and one of them?

    How about a character who isn't a Christian witnessing the disappearances and resulting carnage? This same person would buy into everything that Carpathia is selling. Rather than just telling us how evil he is, the author could show us instead.

    I've got one word for the Antichrist: horrendous. After book 7, the Antichrist becomes a bellowing, blustering fool, which is the antithesis of what anybody would follow. Instead of huffing and puffing and blowing down the front door, doesn't Evil come slithering in through the backdoor, unseen and unheard?

    The means of controlling the world needs to be more thought out. Mass hypnosis? Did anybody else think deux ex machina, or was that just me? I suppose mass hypnosis was needed to control everybody once the antichrist became a blustering fool.

    Also, btw, if you want evidence that Jenkins dragged out the series, look to book 10. I skimmed book 10 while standing at the bookshelf at Walmart and if you made it that far, you know that Jenkins wasted the entire book on Chloe's beheading. Milking the series much?
     
  15. Phillip

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    Yep, and driving a dump truck to the bank--after they wrote several more books than they started out with. They sold so well they started dragging the stories out and draggggggggginnnnnngggggggg the stories outtttttttttt. After the first two they started getting BORING.
     
  16. mioque

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  17. ccrobinson

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    Awesome. I lost track of these columns a year ago after reading everything Clark had written up to that point. Glad to see he's back on track with the demolition.
     
  18. ccrobinson

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    I went searching for the thread and am bumping it because Mr. Clark is still demolishing the first book of the series. Even if you don't agree with some of Mr. Clark's theology, I think you'll find him to be thought-provoking.
     
  19. Karen

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    Interesting but overblown, I think.
    The June 25 entry takes a loooong time to say the authors should have given more detail about what Rayford specifically read, questions he had about it, and that reading till he fell asleep shows some sort of evangelical malaise. That a reaaaally spiritual person would not just have gone to sleep like that.
    Sure, I can agree that it is not the most profoundly written book. But deconstructionists such as this blogger are grasping a little too hard, in my opinion.

    Karen
     
  20. Magnetic Poles

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    Improve it? Yeah, use the pages to line a bird cage. :laugh:
     

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