I’m a few days late with this, I suppose, but I just have to share the news even if it’s not really news anymore.
For those of you who’ve never heard of Fred Clark, the Slacktivist, you clearly haven’t been reading this blog for very long. But that’s neither here nor there.
Fred has spent more than ten years reviewing the Left Behind series of fundamentalist Christian apocalyptic novels. And while outside reviewers have written individual articles about how the Left Behind novels are nothing more than a very long sadistic revenge fantasy written for an audience who would never admit to harboring such fantasies, Fred’s page-by-page attention to detail and intimate knowledge of Evangelical Christian culture gives a true understanding of “the horror and hilarity of Left Behind” that you just can’t get anywhere else.
And now, after ten years, Fred has finally collected the posts where he examines the first 200 pages of Left Behind into his own book:
For my own part, I can’t recommend The Anti-Christ Handbook enough. Fred Clark’s Left Behind posts have been some of the most valuable writing resources I’ve ever found online. Not only do they give some of the best examples in all literature of What Not To Do, but they generally follow up with advice and suggestions on how it could have been done better (spoilers: just about anything would be better). Also, since Fred is an evangelical Christian himself, he gives us outsiders an insight into the subculture (and all the literary tropes that go with it) that we otherwise would have no way of getting. All done with his trademark compassion and biting humor.
As most of you probably know – since this is how you found this place – I post links to most of my stuff on Reddit. Today, I got an interesting comment on my link to this week’s Left Behind Fridays Writing Seminar:
What’s up with this guy’s relentless vendetta against the Left Behind series? I mean, sure, it’s not great, but does it really need a weekly blog post about why it isn’t great? Jeez.
For the record, this isn’t a personal vendetta. I just think that the Left Behind series, and Fred Clark’s analysis of it, is one of the best writing resources on the net.
Still, it got me thinking. Fred focuses on the Left Behind books because, in addition to being atrocious writing, he believes they cause great social and religious harm. Since I’m focused on the writing aspect, perhaps I don’t need to limit myself to Left Behind. After all, a good chunk of today’s post was spent discussing another book series. What do you all think?
Jerry Jenkins is on record as stating that he writes twenty pages a day, which means that he cranks out a 400-odd page book of the Left Behind series in less than a month, even with the day it takes to “edit and rewrite”. This, in and of itself, is not something to boast about. Everyone writes at their own pace of course, but if you rush along at such a breakneck speed and allow so little time for revision, you might end up with continuity errors like the one discussed in NRA: Steppin’ Out With My Baby, where you destroy Chicago as part of the opening salvos of WWIII in chapter 3, and have a character planning how to get back there in time for a friend’s funeral in chapter 8. Continue reading →
The names of the two primary Jewish characters in Left Behind (at least so far) are Chaim Rosenzweig and Tsion ben-Judah. Both are perfectly legitimate Hebrew male names.
Know what would be some other examples of perfectly legitimate Hebrew male names? How about Aaron, Benjamin, Daniel, David, Isaac, Jacob and Joshua? But LaHaye and Jenkins would not use those names, because they aren’t “Jewish” enough. Continue reading →
In last week’s post, I mentioned the distorted view of human nature held by Lahaye and Jenkins, the authors of the Left Behind series. In that specific case, I was talking about their belief that everyone knows in their hearts that their brand of Christianity – Real True Christianity (RTC-anity) – is The Truth, but that they cling to their clearly-nonsensical belief systems out of stubbornness, rebellion against God, and love for their sins. Continue reading →
Two weeks ago, in my post on Designated Heroes, I mentioned that one of the two most common causes of a Designated Hero is values dissonance: the character behaves in a way that the writer believes to be admirable and heroic, but which is actually nothing of the sort. Continue reading →