Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Brief Bit of Good Writing

Okay so Pete and Vicki, along with Carl, Shelly, and Conrad are all riding south in Pete's truck, which, for those curious, means that the only ones currently at the school are Melinda, Charlie, and Janie, aka the unbelievers, and Lenore and baby Tolan. I admit I had no real reason for pointing all that out except to better keep track of who's where.

Like I said I had considered last week doing a three-fer snark but when I read ahead, I changed my mind. The reason I changed my mind is because we actually get some good writing here. I'm assuming this is all the ghostwriter's, Chris Fabry, doing because I can't imagine anything good coming from Ellanjay. I took the liberty of looking Chris Fabry up on Amazon and apparently he has a long list of titles attributed to him. I don't know if he was a ghostwriter on all of them, but I'm almost curious enough to check out some of his titles, even though I find most Christian fiction to be horribly derivative, just because his simple workmanlike talent almost makes parts of this novel worth reading.

Anyway, the trip causes Vicki to start thinking about a trip, she took with her family. Now those who read the post entitled "Meet Vicki Byrne" will recall that before her parents became Assholes for Christ good RTCs, they were drunk rednecks. Fabry sticks with that aspect of the background, yet manages to add some shading to their characters and we get a sense that even before they became RTCs, they did love and care about their kids even if they weren't going to win parents of the year. It is rare to see these kinds of shades of grey in Ellanjay's work, which is why I attribute all of it to the ghostwriter.

Basically, Vicki's parents borrowed an RV and took her and her sister on a long road trip to see the ocean. The trip ends up going south and they run out of money quick, but before they do go back home, Vicki's father goes out of his way in order to drive them by the beach so they can see the ocean. I really wish I could just post all of this so I can show you just how decent the writing is, but I'm trying to keep the long-ass quotes down to a minimum. Still, it is a decent description of Vicki and her sister playing along the beach and it's nice, these moments in the story when the writers ease up on the narrative gas and let the characters reflect for a moment. I will post a small sample so you can see what I've been gushing on and on about. Sorry to gush so much, but these moments of good writing are so rare that I find myself greedily treasuring each instance.

It had been such a long time since Vicki had remembered her father’s smile. The events since the disappearances had kept her so busy she didn’t think much about the past. But now, with the rumble of the diesel engine and the shaking of the truck cab, she let herself go back. She remembered little things like her dad’s stale-beer breath, the brand of cigarettes he smoked, and little Jeanni’s screams as Vicki chased her around the house. She remembered the laundry her mother used to hang on a line by the trailer. Seeing one of her shirts or a pair of pants flapping in the breeze had always embarrassed Vicki.

Pete's truck takes them by the ocean and Vicki asks if they can stop by the ocean for a bit. They do and we get more good description of the scenery. Now my inner critic is sarcastically saying, "Uh, hasn't Wormwood poisoned all the water by now so they probably really shouldn't be playing in the surf," but while I will concede my inner critic's point, again this is nice writing. Besides, eventually Ellanjay will regain consciousness and the writing will take on its usual suckitude so I should just enjoy these moments.

The chapter ends with them meeting a pair of believers, Tom Gowin and Luke, and they warn them that the GC's on to them so they better disappear.

Next chapter, we're back to Israel, which I assume means we're back to more of the bad writing I've come to expect from Ellanjay. Basically, Judd is browsing the YTF website, which is, if you're wondering, and he receives an email from Pavel, aka another character you've long since forgot about. Nada is with Judd and once again, she flirts with him, but Judd isn't interested in her.

So Judd and Pavel talk about how Pavel's father is now a Tribulation Saint. Apparently, the SuperPope and the ten kings were all bit by the demon locusts and Nicky Bonanza is planning on doing a speech with a CGI-ed locust sitting on his shoulder in an attempt to convince the people that these locusts can be tamed. Also, the Brave RTCs bravely packed tracts and pamphlets in with relief supplies, so as to spread the word or some brave martyriffic stuff like that. The Israel section ends with Pavel asking Judd to come visit him in New Babylon.

Then we cut back to America and lordy lord, is it boring. Basically they meet up with some kids and Vicki starts the conversion speech, which I'm sure we'll see more of in the next chapter. Naturally it begins with the spiel about Zod trying to get your attention by killing you horribly. Since this snark is long enough, I'll spare you.


Firedrake said...

Is a Tribulation Saint anything like a Boondock Saint? Or would that be too interesting?

I suppose that this conversion speech is at least honest. When the choice is lobotomised worshipbot or conscious torture, there's not much virtue in either path.

Apocalypse Review said...

Nada is with Judd and once again, she flirts with him, but Judd isn't interested in her.

This is about where I have to ask if Judd has a pulse.

Vicki taking a trip through memory lane that's positive, instead of being used as fodder for a ridiculous "look at meeeee, my life before I converted was SO BAD" speech like in the original series, is quite nice.