Sunday, December 29, 2013

Name the Stupidest Part of this Story

Happy Sunday! Family get-together kept me from posting. I should be back to posting on Saturday again, pretty soon though.

So Nicky has just woken up in his coffin and given a "Bwaah-Bwaah" speech. In the real world, the personnel wouldn't be able to keep the throngs of people under control and they'd start trampling each other in order to get a closer look at their beloved leader. But in Ellanjayland, everyone files in, nice and orderly, to see Nicky.

There really isn't much more to say about the first section. Judd walks around, smirking about how he's got it all figured out. He runs into Z-Van who's going "We're not worthy!" The segment ends with Judd coming face to face with Nicky Mocho.

Meanwhile, Vicki and the American YTF are hiding in the rocky crags near their house as the GC raid the place. Darrion decides to steal a radio from one of the GC goons (don't ask me why but it's not yet the stupidest thing she does) so she and Vicki rappel down the side of the crags. And for those of you wondering, in true Ellanjay fashion, while they make a stab at trying to be suspenseful by having Darrion slip and almost fall, the experienced reader knows nothing will happen and just flips through these pages.

Darrion swipes a radio from one of their cars and they listen in. She decides to open up the trunk and see if there's any stuff they can use. As she does, the GC start coming their way. Darrion grabs Vicki and pulls her into the trunk with her.

My response, in a nutshell, is essentially a Picard-style headpalm. Seriously, what part of this sounded like a good idea?

Judd locks eyes with Nicky, wondering if Nicky can tell he's a believer. Fear not, though, nothing happens. They look at each other, Nicky talks on the phone to someone, and Z-Van and the rest of his band continue to go, "We're not worthy!" I am not making anything up.

So Vicki and Darrion are in the trunk of a GC vehicle, listening as the GC work. The GC then come, shut the trunk, and speed away with Darrion and Vicki still inside. :headdesk: I'm not sure who's stupider: Darrion for coming up with this plan, Vicki for going along with it even though a reasonably bright five-year-old could point out all the flaws in it, or the GC for not noticing that there are people stuffed in your trunk.

The rest of the YTF are wondering where Vicki and Darrion are. They watch as their home goes up in flames then go off in search of them. Again, that's all that happens. and his band forever and join the Tribbles, but Lionel tells him not to.

Next chapter begins with Vicki and Darrion getting banged around in the trunk as the GC vehicle speeds off. In the hands of a decent writer, they could milk this suspense for all it's worth, but like I said before, Ellanjay hate suspense. The rest of the YTF realize they have GTFO and leave.

Lionel is talking with Westin, aka the guy who converted in the last section. Westin wants to walk away from Z-Van and his band.

Westin sat on the bed and put his face in his hands. “I thought you’d tell me I needed to get away from these people as fast as I can.”
Lionel sat beside him. “We have a couple of friends who had a chance to work directly for Carpathia. They both took the jobs, even though they were believers. They felt God wanted them in that place.”

Clearly Lionel is referring to Our Buck and St. Rayford both of whom are bravely working for the enemy and doing everything in their power to thwart his machinations by...occasionally giving him disdainful looks and pulling stupid pranks that really don't do anything except allow Our Buck or St. Rayford to snicker for a few minutes. Albert Goering and Oskar Schindler are both giving the Picard-style headpalm.

Vicki and Darrion are struggling to open the trunk. But the fire set by the GC to destroy the YTF's home is spreading out of control so the GC abandon the vehicle, leaving Darrion and Vicki trapped inside. But since we know the characters are wearing titanium steel plot armor, we know nothing bad will happen to them, so forgive me for not gnawing my nails over them.

The fire has spread to the forest surrounding the house. The other YTF know they have to get out of there, so they steal one of the abandoned GC vehicles (not the one with Darrion and Vicki inside)and speed off. If you're wondering, there's only a brief "What about Darrion and Vicki?" among them. I'll forgive it though given that adrenaline is pumping, but once again, we should feel something, like say, their guilt about leaving Vicki and Darrion in enemy hands. But we don't.

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Alive!

The chapter begins with more people talking. Again, who would have guessed the apocalypse would be so boring? But for those of you interested, we get another example of Jerry Jenkins Ethnic McEthnic-style names: Enoch Litwala. For those of you wondering, he represents the African region of Nicky's ten region-government.

After the other guys speak, Leon comes onstage and gives his speech. And Leon might as well be twirling a moustache given how much he plays the part of the Strawman Villain who represents all that RTCs hate. I suppose I could quote large portions of his speech for you, but I won't seeing as it can be summed up as "Worship Nicholae Carpathia you fools!" with large amounts of maniacal laughter mixed in.

We then cut to Vicki even though the main action is in New Babylon with Judd and Lionel. Leon continues his "Bwaah" speech by saying this:

“It is also only fair that I offer proof of my role,” Fortunato said, “in addition to what you have already seen and heard from Nicolae Carpathia’s own image. I call on the power of my most high god to prove that he rules from heaven by burning to death with his pure fire those who would oppose me, those who would deny his deity, those who would subvert and plot and scheme to take my rightful place as his spokesman!” Leon paused dramatically. Then, “I pray he does this even as I speak!”

After he says this, fire from heaven appears and torches the three minor potentates* who had been less than enthusiastic about Nicky. Seeing as only one of them has been given a name (Enoch Litwala) and we know nothing about any of them, it's hard to feel horrified by this. Not to mention, if they hadn't been torched now, we all know that TurboJesus would have slaughtered them because the only distinguishing factor between Satan and TurboJesus is that TurboJesus's gun is bigger; therefore he wins. Might apparently does make right. The only bad thing about this scene is not the slaughter, but who's doing it: again if TurboJesus does it; that makes it good. If Satan does it; that makes it bad.

Judd and Lionel wonder what they're going to do if they have to bow to the statue of Nicky. For those wondering if they're going to do a take on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I wouldn't hold my breath. In this series, people bow and swear allegiance to Satan all the time, all the while telling themselves that they're secretly bowing/swearing allegiance to God. Like I've said before, you've gotta wonder what all the great Christian martyrs would think of this.

Annie shows up and does something smart by telling them to get out of there. But people are freaking out. The chapter ends with Nicky climbing out of his coffin.

Next chapter, Nicky starts speaking. Naturally he speaks of peace, aka the only virtue more evil than tolerance, trying to calm down the people who are freaking out. Vicki is sickened as he quotes the words of Jesus. Me, I wonder why, if Ellanjay know the words of Jesus so well, can't they see the contrast between the biblical Jesus and TurboJesus?

Vicki's section ends with her receiving a message from Natalie saying that their call has been traced and they need to get out now. Frankly, I can't help but be amazed, given that these two chapters have involved resurrections, fire from heaven, and now the possibility of a GC raid, at how bored I still am. I know I promised not to complain about boredom but I find it really amazing that how Ellanjay manage to suck the horror and suspense out of stuff. Even the hackiest of hack writers would have a hard time making the anti-Christ rising from his grave possessed by Satan not be exciting, but somehow Ellanjay pulled it off. I blame the fact that all the characters are wearing titanium steel plot armor so we know nothing bad can ever happen to them.

Word of advice to aspiring writers: make stuff happen to your heroes. You don't have to be as brutal as George RR Martin, but have something happen. An arrow almost hit, a punch to the jaw, anything. We should be worried about their physical or psychological safety. JK Rowling, while not as brutal George RR Martin, was good about this. Not only did she kill off characters but she showed time and time again that not even the trio was safe from the scars that come with being in a war. [/rant]

Meanwhile, Lionel gives the closest thing to a GTFO here, the series will allow, but Judd says he has to stay and watch this. Why? Because the writers' need a member of the YTF to witness the following events.

Nicky begins by forgiving the person or persons responsible for his death. Then, for those of you wondering, he gives this speech.

“However, individual would-be assassins aside, there are opponents to the Global Community and to my leadership. Hear me, my people: I need not and will not tolerate opposition. You need not fear because you came here to commemorate my life on the occasion of my death, and you remain to worship me as your divine leader. But to those who believe it is possible to rebel against my authority and survive, beware. I shall soon institute a program of loyalty confirmation that will prove once and for all who is with us and who is against us, and woe to the haughty insurrectionist. He will find no place to hide.

Nicky, Nicky, you know you could have used the whole assassination attempt as an excuse to further tighten your hold by imposing new laws eroding religious freedom (just pin everything on those RTCs) and people would probably start worshipping you simply BECAUSE YOU JUST ROSE FROM THE GRAVE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM!!![/ragedump] Anyone wanna give Ellanjay a one-way ticket to North Korea so they can see how a country based on a cult of personality works?

Lionel, being smart enough not to stand around like Judd, is getting the hell out of there when he runs into Westin, aka Z-Van's pilot. Westin says "You guys predicted everything! Tell me how I can become one of you!" and we walk through yet another standard conversion scene even though in the face of all they've witnessed, it feels kind of foolish that Lionel would use the standard "You're a sinner and sin separates you from God" speech.

Vicki and the American YTF are fleeing into the woods to hide from the GC. That's all that's happening on their side.

The chapter ends with Nicky giving this speech:

Carpathia invited anyone who was formerly against him to join the Global Community, then added, “In closing let me speak directly to the opposition. I have always allowed different points of view. There are those among you, however, who have referred overtly to me personally as the Antichrist and this period of history as the Tribulation.

You may take the following as my personal pledge: “If you insist on continuing with your subversive attacks on my character and on the world harmony I have worked so hard to create, the word tribulation will not begin to describe what is in store for you. If the last three and a half years are your idea of tribulation, wait until you endure the Great Tribulation.”

Standard villain "Bwaah!" speech but I've gotta wonder how much worse can Nicky make it. They've already survived all out nuclear war, several asteroid strikes, all the water becoming undrinkable, two attacks of the Lion people killer thingies, most of which were caused by Zod and not Nicky so yeah, totally not impressed here.

*I haven't yet mentioned this but somebody should have told Ellanjay how utterly stupid the title "potentate" is. It doesn't add to your character's villain cred if your readers giggle every time he's on stage.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ellanjay Know Nothing about Humans

Again, I thought I'd post today since I've got work tomorrow.

So for those of you worried that there hasn't been enough of Ellanjay's hard-on for communication, the chapter begins with Lionel reading an email. It's from Sam who talks about how "All is being fulfilled" and that he'll be their man in Jerusalem. Which is probably a good thing, seeing as he's actually from Jerusalem and would probably make a better witness to all that's going on than Judd or Lionel; Sam's less likely to stand out.

So Lionel goes for a walk and we get even more proof that Ellanjay Know Nothing About Humans.

The temperature was already in the high eighties, and Lionel wondered how hot it would be by noon. Street vendors set up stands as people moved closer to the funeral site. Dealers sold umbrellas, bottled water, chairs, sunscreen, and even souvenirs. Every block featured street entertainers—some with guitars, others with different musical instruments. The farther away from the hotel Lionel walked, the rowdier the entertainment became. Jugglers and clowns tried to make people laugh who didn’t want to laugh. Fortune-tellers badgered the grieving pilgrims to spend a few Nicks.

Uh, have Ellanjay ever watched the news after a beloved world leader/figure has died? Clearly they haven't because if Nicky was as beloved by all (except RTCs and soon-to-be RTCs)they'd know that funeral services for said leader/figure aren't usually filled with people trying to get a laugh out of the crowd. I'll admit I'm not questioning the presence of venders--in the face of every tragedy, are people selling tacky souvenirs--but I will question the clowns. I know this was published before Nelson Mandela died so I can't point to that as an example, but surely they'd seen other renowned peoples' services so in short, what the hell, Ellanjay?!

In America, Vicki bravely sits at the computer answering questions and experiences persecution in the form of people sending her nasty emails. Once again, someone give Ellanjay (and many others) one-way tickets to Saudi Arabia so they can experience real persecution.

She receives an email from Natalie. Apparently, Charlie and the Shairtons made it out but are now in GC custody and once again, I have to go, What the hell, Ellanjay?! You had a workmanlike albeit chilling scene with them being burned alive and now you spoil it by making it so they live. What exactly did Suspense do to you as a kid that made you hate it so? Did it run over your dog or something?

Vicki, naturally assumes that the GC couldn't possibly be pretending to be Natalie in order to entrap her (that's what would happen in a smart novel), gives the names of some of her friends and promises to help her out.

So Judd and Lionel are backstage with Z-Van at the funeral and apparently it's really sunny out. According to the book, the temperature gauge reads 106 degrees. Me, having experienced several summers in which the temperature reached triple degrees, I am watching these next few scenes closely so I can see how Ellanjay fail at this. Because they will fail; it's a given.

While sweltering in the heat, Judd and Lionel notice some GC peacekeepers with the Super Special Awesome Zod-mark and decide to seek them out. The peacekeeper, whose name is Annie Christopher, gives them water and they talk some more.

Judd pointed to the draped statue behind Carpathia’s body. “Do you know what they’re going to do with that thing?”
Annie’s radio crackled and she held up a hand. “Sector 53 contained,” she said. She put the radio back and sighed. “My boss took a close look at it this morning. They have a fire going inside the statue that was started using Bibles and other holy books. Evidently they got them from the late Pontifex Maximus’s collection.

Anyone remember that furor a few years back about some Gitmo guards flushing the Koran and the riots that ensued from the report? Well apparently Newsweek wasn't wrong to report on the Koran abuse because Muslims (along with every other religion on Earth except RTCianity)don't really care about their holy books.

“And that’s not all. They want the statue to appear alive so they’ve somehow made the thing talk.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Judd said.
Annie shook her head. “On the scaffold this morning, my boss swears he heard the thing say in Carpathia’s voice, ‘I shall shed the blood of saints and prophets.’ ”

Okay so Nicky isn't even trying to be all subtle peacey McPeace-Peace anymore: he's flat-out stating that he's Satan. How exactly does claiming to be the Prince of Darkness win you support? I can picture people going, "Well, he is the Father of all Lies but he does support a woman's right to choose so he's got my vote." Then again, that does come close to describing the mindset of some voters so I'll give Ellanjay a half-point here.

So Judd and Lionel are at the funeral, smirking the entire time.

The music faded and Leon Fortunato gave Carpathia’s personal history in a voice filled with emotion. Nicolae had been born thirty-six years earlier in Roman, Romania, and was an only child. He was athletic and interested in academics. Before the age of twelve he was elected president of the Young Humanists and was valedictorian in high school and at the university he attended.

Okay I was going to call bullshit on the "Roman, Romania" thing but apparently Ellanjay cracked open an encyclopedia because there really is a city in Romania named Roman. I still doubt they wouldn't have come up with the name Nicholae were it not for the dictator, Nicholae Ceaușescu.

Also apparently Nicky was a Humanist. I thought Atheist was the most evil "ist" there was. Or is this a case of "No One's really an Atheist; they just hate God!"

Ol' Leon does do something smart by blaming the RTCs for this. Okay he lays the blame at "anyone professing there's only one way into Heaven" which describes most religions, with the exception of Buddhism and Hinduism, but everyone knows he was really referring to RTCianity because all other religions are disingenuous.

The chapter ends with Z-Van performing a praise song to Nicky and Judd wondering what's going to happen when Nicky rises from the grave. That's where I'll leave you, given how long this snark has gotten.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snicker about how they have it all figured out

Well, I have to work Saturday again, so I thought I'd post this snark early. That said, on with the show.

Judd and Lionel discuss whether Z-Van's going to betray them to the GC, but given that they're in an airplane headed to New Babylon, there really isn't much they can do. They talk to the pilot, Westin, who mentions seeing the GT's resurrection. There's no word about Westin having the Super Special Awesome Zod-Mark but given how he talks, chances are he's either an RTC or about to become one.

Meanwhile Vicki and the American branch of the YTF are watching the news and thinking about Charlie. It's not really snarkworthy, just them watching the news and seeing people of all shapes and sizes mourn Nicky and of course, the YTF snicker at all this and talk about how they got it all figured out.

You think I'm kidding about the "talking about how they all got it figured out?" Here's an example.

A religious expert was called on to explain the phenomenon. He said that since the leaders of the Global Community and the One World Faith were dead, Carpathia and Mathews, people would try to fill that gap in many ways. The expert said that people turning to Jesus Christ was a fairly recent craze that began shortly after the vanishings.

“Dr. Ben-Judah created an uproar, particularly among Jews, when at the end of the live, globally televised airing of his views he announced that Jesus the Christ was the only person in history to fulfill all the messianic prophecies, and that the vanishings were evidence that he had already come.”

“So why doesn't this expert have the mark of the believer?” Janie said.

“This guy knows his facts, but he doesn't know God personally,” Vicki said.

“And he’s right about people looking for something to fill the hole Carpathia left in their lives. Tsion says a lot of people will still believe the truth, but many more will follow false teachers.”

Ah, the anti-intellectualism...that never gets old.

Vicki then turns to Matthew 24:21-24. For those not in the now, here's how that section goes.

21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.

Note the plural "christs" and "prophets." Can't help but think this refers to all time, not a particular seven-year time frame at some undetermined point in the future. I wish I was better educated in the Bible like Fred, but that's my interpretation: that it sounds more like "Beware of David Koresh!" than "Beware of a polyglot promising peace."

“So there are going to be people pretending to do miracles?” Janie said.

“Not pretending,” Vicki said. “They’re going to perform miracles, and a lot of people are going to think they’re from God.”

Again, I lack Fred's expertise, but how would the average laymen, unversed in Ellanjay's convoluted interpretation, be able to tell the difference between honest-to-God according to Doyle miracle and the ones Vicki is talking about? I mean, if the anti-Christ manages to regrow your amputated arm, would you really know or care?

Meanwhile, the plane is landing and Judd and Lionel are going, "Oh what do we do!" as they see GC vehicles approaching the plane. But Z-Van, continuing to be awesome, is like "You think the GC's interested in a pair of kids." He says that he's going to meet with one of Fortunado's aides at a press conference and that he's taking them with him. Lionel and Judd are aghast and are like "No, don't invite us."

But Z-Van drags them along anyway, introducing them as the guys who saved his life. Judd and Lionel receive invites to Nicky's funeral and the section ends with Judd saying to Lionel, "We've got to find some disguises."

In America, Vicki finally hears from Charlie. We then get a fairly effective scene as the GC storms the farmhouse where he lives with Ginny and Bo. The chapter ends with her hearing Ginny scream about them pouring gasoline. I have to admit, I didn't like this secondhand approach when it was Taylor and Hasina, mostly because Taylor and Hasina are so much more awesome than all the Tribbles combined, but it works here.

Second chapter, Vicki tells the others about what happened to Charlie. Apparently that's the GC's new tactic: torching the houses of believers with them still inside. I have to admit, while I think they can choose a more effective way of dealing with believers, this still is pretty effective. The fire sends a visual message to any believers that might be in the area: this could happen to you.

They then realize that they hadn't heard from Natalie in a while. They pray for her and Charlie and that's where Vicki's section ends.

Next all that happens is Judd and Lionel and Z-Van proceed pass Nicky's body. Then they receive an invite that Fortunado wants to meet with them personally and the section ends there.

Vicki hears from Natalie that she's okay but is being watched carefully. That's all.

Judd and Lionel and Z-Van are meeting with Leon Fortunado. For those wondering, Judd's disguise consists of a robe and a turban, which is only slightly better than Our Buck disguising himself with a baseball cap.

Z-Van's working on a new song which he'll sing at the funeral. Oh and Guy Blod makes an appearance in this series. Me, after what I've heard about him from other readers of the adult books, am a little disappointed. I was hoping for so much more campiness and flaming but there's barely any in this.

But fear not, Judd isn't recognized (though how Fortunado would be expected to remember one smart-aleck kid from a few years ago, is beyond me). He and Lionel are led to some penthouses to stay in.

“I feel guilty for sleeping in this kind of luxury while other people are on the street,” Lionel said.

Judd nodded. “Do you think it’s happened yet?”

It's kind of odd that Lionel would say all this, given that both Rayford and Bucky live pretty comfortably while the unbelievers outside die horribly. I don't think I've seen either the Tribbles or the YTF actually tend to the poor.

The chapter ends with Judd saying "We've gotta do whatever it takes to get home."

And that's my snark for this week.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Z-Van is rapidly becoming a favorite character.

Sorry sorry for the lateness of this post. I had to work Saturday and Sunday and my brain was kind of fried after all those straight hours of Christmas songs. Hell is retail during the Christmas season.

The beginning of this chapter is mostly exposition. Vicki talking about how Token Jew was right about everything and the other members of the YTF asking about what happens next and Vicki explaining while they watch the news. There's nothing really snarkworthy so let's get to Judd's section.

So Judd is traveling with Z-Van and given what we're told about his appearance, it's safe to assume these books are set during the Reagan administration.

This skinny guy with tattoos all over his body and wraparound sunglasses oozed power. He was used to people getting him anything he asked for. Judd had seen him listed as one of the wealthiest men in the world.

As he looked at all the rings in the man’s ears, nose, and lips, Judd felt a mix of contempt and admiration. There was no doubt Z-Van was a good showman and business operator, but he had no friends. His life was filled with drinking, partying, and concerts, but it was empty.

Did I not tell you that Z-Van's a Madonna Dahmer rip-off? Also, am I the only one thinking that Judd's got a case of sour grapes here? Given that the main tenet of RTCism is sit back and wait, he's probably secretly envious of Z-Van, who actually has a life.

Z-Van asks a few questions, which leads to this confession from Judd.

Judd took a deep breath. “Okay, I’ll shoot straight. We’re believers in Jesus Christ, followers of Tsion Ben-Judah, otherwise known as Judah-ites. That group back in Israel is made up mainly of Jewish believers who are telling the world that their only hope for peace is to follow the true God.”

The only hope for peace? Haven't the books made it clear that regardless of whether you convert, Zod's still going to pummel the Earth with back-to-back disasters? Then again, Ellanjay's theology is that Zod's response is basically, "Look at what you made me do!"

So Judd decides to walk Z-Van through RTCianity.

Judd asked Lionel to go to the section on prophecies on the kids’ Web site. “These things were written about two thousand years ago. Everything from the massive, worldwide earthquake to the one we just had in Jerusalem. The Bible even predicted that seven thousand would be killed in that quake.”

And now I'm wishing Aunursa still commented on this blog because right now, I'm going "Cite please?" Where in the Bible does it mention a specific number? Usually when it comes to numbers, the Bible gives a vague "a lot" kind of number.

Judd tries to tell Z-Van that Nicky is going to come back from the dead. Naturally Z-Van laughs at this.

“If Eli and Moishe can come back to life, why not—”

“Those two crazies at the Wailing Wall? Carpathia blew them away days ago.”

“He doesn’t know,” Lionel said.

“God raised them from the dead,” Judd said. “They went right up into the clouds.”

“Wooooo.” Z-Van laughed, moving his finger in a circle in the air. “Then why haven’t they shown that on the news?”

“I was there,” Lionel said. “The GC won’t show the replay because they know it’ll affect people.”

So wait a minute...even with the blackout, you'd think the people there would be talking about it? I'm assuming this book was written before smartphones, with their built-in cameras, became commonplace, but there were still cameras and there is this marvelous place called the Internet where people can discuss this stuff. But my biggest objection is, if Nicky could black-out news of the GT's resurrection, THEN WHY DIDN'T HE BLACK-OUT THEIR PREACHING IN THE FIRST PLACE?! IF DAVID HAYSEED IS AS GREAT A HACKER AS EVERYONE SAYS HE IS, HE SHOULD HAVE FOUND A WAY TO BROADCAST THE RESURRECTION AS WELL!

Z-Van asks Judd and Lionel the old, "If you're so good why weren't you taken?" question, and Judd responds with the age-old "Going to church doesn't make you an RTC any more than sitting in your garage makes you a car" metaphor.

Z-Van mentions his mom really believing in that stuff and naturally, given that pouring salt into emotional wounds is what Jesus would do, they try to zero in on that in order to get him to convert. But Z-Van isn't having any of this bullshit and tells Judd and Lionel to get lost.

Also, apparently I wasn't paying attention because I thought that Z-Van was taking Judd and Lionel back to America but apparently they're going to New Babylon. Why I'm not sure. Frankly it sounds like a stupid idea to go to the anti-Christ's capital city but what do I know.

Sorry for the abbreviated snark but next chapter is long and this snark is already pretty long itself. This will have to tide you over for a bit.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weaseling Out of It (Or why LB: the kids pales in comparison with other YA Literature)

So Judd rushes over to Chaim's house but it's engulfed in flames and there's nothing he can do. So he listens to a news crew report on the disaster then goes back to General Jew's house and talks about Rayford while watching the news.

Next section, surprisingly enough we're still with Lionel and Judd. Lionel is wondering if they should take Z-Van's offer so they can get back to the states. Judd, demonstrating a few brain cells, is worried about what Z-Van will do if he finds out they're RTCs.

And that's seriously all that happens at the beginning.

In America, Vicki and the others are working on the kids' version of the website and agree to take turns keeping watch so that they can watch Nicky's resurrection.

At midnight, Vicki is awakened by Darrion and they begin their watch. Since Darrion has been a little on edge lately, Vicki decides to talk to her. I thought about quoting their talk but it would be a very long quote and I don't like to take up that much room, so I'll summarize for you.

When Darrion was thirteen, she sneaked out of the house with a friend and went to a party. While at the party, which was at the house they are currently staying at, she was raped. Well, I have to be honest with you and admit that they don't actually use the word "rape;" they weasel around it though, avoiding never actually saying what happened to Darrion at the party.

“I’ve heard that something like one out of every four women will be hurt like that in their lifetime,” Vicki said.

“Yeah, well I’m one of those statistics.”

I suppose I should give Ellanjay or the ghostwriter a little credit for taking on such a loaded topic, but I'm still rather disappointed in them. YA literature, nowadays, has proven time and time again that it is capable of handling issues such as rape just as well as adult literature. In fact, given that young people aren't immune to rape, it may be even more important for YA literature to confront those issues head on. Ellanjay aren't really doing teens any favors by being all shy and weaselly about what happened to Darrion. I suppose whoever wrote this section was thinking more about the RTC adults buying these books for their teens to reinforce the catechism being taught at home, but again, they aren't really doing the teen readers any favors. After all being an RTC doesn't protect you from rape or assault either.

I will give credit where credit is due, though. The blame isn't placed on Darrion; it's placed on the perps, which is where it belongs. Too much RTC art uses rape to punish the bad girl for her misdeeds; I don't need to go into all the wrongs associated with that.

Darrion admits that she still feels like it was her fault and Vicki says,"No, it wasn't." She then wakes Shelly and Janie and has them take over their watch. Darrion protests, saying that their time isn't up, but Vicki says this:

“It’s okay,” Vicki said. She grabbed a flashlight and opened the back door. “Take me to where it happened.”

Uh, Vicki, I'm not sure it'd really be all that good for Darrion to go to the woods and point out where she was raped. I'm no expert on this, but wouldn't it be better if she decided to return to the spot, rather than be dragged along by a friend?

The section cuts out here and we're back to Judd. Basically all that happens is Judd talks to Mr. Stein about Z-Van's offer and decides to take it. Me, I question why the writer or writers decided it was a good idea to cut back to Judd, when Vicki and Darrion were in the middle of such a drama-laden, crucial moment.

Vicki and Darrion reach the spot in the woods and kneel down and pray. Gotta give whoever wrote the section some credit: there's some nice sensory detail with the description of the cold and snow in this section. It's basic stuff but it works. The chapter ends with this revelation.

Vicki took her hand. “You put yourself in a bad place by trying to get back at your parents. You were naïve. But what they did is on them. Nothing justifies that.”
Darrion dropped Vicki’s hand and stood up, eyeing her. “You seem to know an awful lot about this stuff.”
Vicki bit her lip and had to wipe away a tear. “I’m one of those statistics too, Darrion.”

Second chapter continues with Darrion and Vicki. Turns out Vicki was taken advantage of (again, they never use the word "rape" or "assault") by her uncle. When she told her mother about it, her mother blew her off, saying that her brother would never do such a thing and that she'd punish Vicki if she ever said anything like that again. Vicki admits that for a long time, she felt it was her fault until she talked with Bruce Barnes about it and he sent her to a female counselor, who really helped her.

Wow, so Bruce Barnes apparently isn't completely useless. I have to say that I don't mind this retcon in the least; it adds shading to both Vicki's and Bruce's character.

Judd and Lionel are packing to leave Israel. Sam is upset and decides to stay with Mr. Stein so he can be the YTF's man in Israel. The section ends with them taking off.

Vicki awakes to go see if there's any news about Nicky and to answer emails on the website. Vicki proves she's not completely rock-stupid by assuming that some are from the GC trying to entrap them. Neal Damosa comes on the news again and makes a speech about Nicky.

“All of the death and destruction we have seen in the last few years could not prepare us for this moment. Most of you have lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and it may feel at this moment that you have lost another family member.”
“Oh, give me a break,” Conrad muttered. “Can you imagine having Carpathia as a family member?”

Fred already touched on this in his latest post but lesson learned from Left Behind: evil people spring from concentrated evilness. They do not have families or loved ones and anyone who is saddened by the loss of an evil person, even if it's just a case of them pondering what could have been, is evil.

They receive an email from the pastor in Tucson, saying that Buck's brother and his family were killed in a fire. If you're wondering, they did become RTCs before the fire killed them. The YTF notes that Chaim's house was destroyed in a fire and wonder if that's the way the GC's going to get rid of RTCs. Me, I wonder if there's a less attention-getting way of getting rid of people, like say having a secret police drag them away in the middle of the night. Although, I'll admit that the fire could serve to drive home the point to other secret RTCs that you're not safe.

They decide to try to contact Charlie. For those of you who've forgotten, Charlie was the guy who decided to stay with that hick couple, Bo and Ginny Shairton. They realize they haven't heard from Charlie in a while and start to worry that they left him in a trap.

Next section, yet another short one with Judd deciding to tell Z-Van the truth. That's seriously it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

R.I.P. Nicky [Insert Mountain Range of Choice here]

Hello and happy Saturday!

Nothing much really happens in the first section. Judd hides out in Kasim's apartment and watches Chaim Rosenzweig playfully roll his wheelchair across the stage. I'm serious: that's all that happens.

Meanwhile Lionel and Sam are looking for Mr. Stein. They dig Kasim's body out of the rubble and again, that's seriously all that happens. These sections keep getting shorter and shorter and less stuff happens.

Vicki bravely continues to bravely watch TV. Nicky Hoel comes on and makes bland pleasantries but says nothing about the event, y'know the one where Zod managed to witness to people without killing them horribly. I'm disappointed: I was looking forward to the BS Ellanjay would try to put in Nicky's mouth to explain all this. I think I have a touch of the Stockholm Syndrome thanks to this series.

So Nicky introduces Chaim and makes a bland speech. During this speech, three of the seven other potentates (can't think that word without giggling because it's so stupid) sit down and Nicky woodenly says, "Do not do this to me." Word of advice to any writers out there: the old "Foreigners don't use contractions" thing doesn't work, especially when you're writing about a polyglot like Nicky. Contractions aren't that hard to master and having your characters not use them only makes me picture them as Brent Spiner.

An explosion rocks the stage. In the confusion, Chaim drives a sword into Nicky's head. I'm going to guess the head wound is "Because Prophecy, that's why!" But I can't help but wonder if that's really an effective use of a sword. Would a sword really be able to go through someone's skull like that? But anyway, Nicky's dead though I know, he isn't really; according to the prophecy, he becomes Satan.

Judd makes his way back to General Jew's house and meets up with Kasim and Nada's parents.

Next chapter, Z-Van is still laid up at General Jew's house with casts all over him. He asks to see Judd and that's when we cut to Vicki.

Vicki and the others are discussing Token Jew's interpretation, about how right about everything he was, and about how Nicky's going to be possessed by Satan soon.

Judd talks with Z-Van, who plans on laying low and letting everyone think he's dead, only to show up again later, in hopes of boosting sales. He mentions Paul McCartney, which only goes to show just how out of touch Ellanjay are. Their audience probably thinks of Paul McCartney as "member of one of those dinosaur bands my parents listen to."

Z-Van then calls an associate and manages to get a plane, so he and Judd can get out of there.

Mr. Stein shows up and makes several headbangingly stupid statements.

Mr. Stein prayed, then said, “I believe we are in grave danger. If any of you wish to leave, now is the time.”
“Why are we in danger?” a man in a long robe said.
“With the death of Nicolae Carpathia, the Global Community will have every reason to go after their enemies. I believe they will come after followers of Tsion Ben-Judah. It could mean imprisonment or perhaps our lives.”

Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the GC already been going after followers of Token Jew? I'm fairly certain I've read about people getting imprisoned and whatnot. This feels like Revenge of the Sith where we're supposed to be shocked at how evil Anakin has become when he's still acting like the same child-murdering, whiny asshole he'd been in the previous movie.

Then they hear an announcement. Apparently St. Rayford has been accused of murdering Nicky. Judd is shocked, shocked that Rayford is being charged with a crime even though Rayford did take a shot at him.

The chapter ends with Judd noticing that Chaim's house is on fire and that's where my snark will end. I know it's a short snark, but the next chapter looked promising and I didn't want to stretch this snark out too long.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I'm back!

Hello! Well, I'm back and I'll be posting every Saturday again. I got a job--it's not much but it gives me a little spending cash--so I was able to purchase the next book I need. I'm sure all of my commentators have given me up as dead and abandoned this blog, but I'll still give it my best shot. Because as masochistic as it sounds, part of me really wants to see the For Kids! version of Left Behind to its end. I do solemnly swear to try to avoid complaining about how bored I am, but I will make no guarantees, because while the For Kids! version is better than the adults version (in the way getting kicked in the gut is better than getting shanked in the gut), many times it's very dull, lacking the creepy sexual politics that stir up such interesting discussions on the adult books.

All that out of the way, let's get to it. Here's some music to get us pumped.

So when we last left our heroes, Lionel was looking for Judd. This section starts with Judd running after Kasim, in hopes of stopping Kasim's assassination plot. And here's where I massage my temples again, because I thought Judd had already talked to Kasim and talked him out of it. The only reason this series is forty books long is avarice and padding.

Basically what happens next is we get a repeat of Lionel's scene with the GT rising from the dead and Zod witnessing to people in a way that doesn't involve trying to kill them horribly. Me, given how masochistic I am, I'm waiting for the inevitable bullshit explanation Nicky Alps cooks up to explain all this, given how little Ellanjay understands human nature. Because right now, given the circumstances in the novel, we've got an actual factual miracle that might even give Richard Dawkins pause and in normal settings, it would set off a wave of soul-searching among every religion on Earth, but given that Ellanjay's lack of understanding...yeah, I'm looking forward to Nicky.

So Judd follows after Kasim, but as he does, the earthquake hits. There's some nice bits of what would be great horror writing (like Judd finding a human hand) were it not for the fact we're supposed to see the massive loss of life as good thing. Remember Zod is supposed to be the hero of this novel and of course the plot armor all the named characters are wearing. Judd tries to help a trapped woman but she is crushed, which provokes no kind of soul-searching even though he knows she's burning in Hell for all eternity. I know I say that a lot, but trust me, if you had read this part of the novel, with the unnamed woman begging and saying, "I don't want to die," you'd understand.

Then we go back to Lionel. Lionel struggles to help a woman rescue her husband from an elevator only to discover, when he forces the elevator open, that all the occupants are dead. Again, there is no identifying information attached to this woman or her husband and this is only described in the abstract, in an attempt to keep the readers from thinking treasonous thoughts like "Hey this as far as I know, basically good human is suffering from all eternity because Zod smashed the elevator's cables." Again, you've got to wonder what kind of novel Stephen King could hash out with the PMD checklist because it has all the elements of a great horror novel: humans at the mercy of an all-powerful force. Lovecraft himself had a field day with those kinds of stories.

Lionel's section ends with the announcement that Nicky's gala will continue as scheduled. Gotta give Nicky props: that is genuinely evil, a real "Nero fiddles while Rome burns" moment.

Next we cut to Vicki and the American branch of the YTF, who are bravely watching the events unfold on television. Shelly asks if any believers will die in the quake, which is a major headdesking statement, if ever I heard one. Not to mention the whole mess of heathens unbelievers who will die.

“I’m not sure,” Vicki said. “I think these judgments are mainly to get the attention of unbelievers, but Loretta and Donny Moore and Ryan and a bunch of other believers died in the wrath of the Lamb earthquake.”

And we get another mention of Ryan! Like I said before, I really should have started a tally, because even in death, he remains the series' butt monkey.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if the members of the YTF said The Prayer, but mostly continued to live their lives (didn't read Token Jew's epistles or go to church or anything religious like that). Because given that you're going to get punted no matter what you do, worshiping Zod is pointless, since He wants to burn up the wheat and the tares. Of course, in addition to what I suggested, they could help take care of those hurt by the disasters by providing food and shelter, but that may be too much to expect from these novels.

Vicki notices Darrion sitting alone. Darrion apparently feels guilty about something but won't say what it is to Vicki. She just asks to be left alone so she can think and that's where Vicki's section ends.

Judd is forcing his way through the rubble, trying to find Kasim, and, in true Tribble fashion, not giving a damn about the others trapped. He finds Kasim dead, so we can stop worrying about him actually doing stuff to stop Nicky. But the chapter ends with Judd finding Z-Van trapped in the rubble. :massages temples: Don't tell me that the Madonna Dahmer-ripoff I know and love is going to convert.

Next chapter, we get a brief moment, a very brief moment, of introspection from Judd as he wonders why Z-Van was allowed to live while Kasim died. Naturally it doesn't last long and of course, Judd doesn't follow this train of thought to its logical extreme that if you get punted no matter what, what's the point in worshiping Zod?

Judd is unable to get Z-Van out from under the rubble, so Judd gives him a bottle of water and they talk for a few minutes. Z-Van reveals his real name is Myron. After this conversation, Judd hears a GC truck calling for volunteers and runs towards it in hopes of finding help for Z-Van. Applaud, people: Judd is showing rare compassion right now.

We cut back to Vicki's group, who is still watching television. Basically all that happens is Leon Fortunado comes on the air and says the gala will continue as scheduled and that Nicky Imeon is personally involved in the search for survivors.

Next section, Judd and Lionel are finally reunited. Woo...They pull Z-Van from the rubble and take him to General Jew's house. They watch a newscast while trying to treat Z-Van's injuries and we get an actual number on how many people have died in this latest disaster: the newscast says an estimated 7000 people are feared dead. That's twice the number of people killed in the 9/11 disaster but I doubt Ellanjay will linger long on this nor delve into the consequences of so many people dying. Ellanjay would get along well with Josef "a million deaths is a statistic" Stalin.

The chapter ends with the announcement that Chaim Rosenzweig (whom I'm tempted to dub "Inventor Jew") has recovered from his stroke (though is still in a wheelchair) and will be at the ceremony. Judd then reflects that soon Nicky will be possessed by Satan.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The GT are Dead!

Sorry sorry to be so late with the post. Combination of family get-together and migraines. That out of the way, let's get to work.

As predicted, Ellanjay can't even create a decent strawman for his characters to knock over. I know we're all supposed to tremble before Nicky and root for him to be slaughtered by TurboJesus, but the trouble is he doesn't come across as the least bit menacing. Nicky's essentially a stuffed shirt. It also really doesn't help that the book actually refers to him as "the meanest man on the face of the earth." I can't be the only one laughing derisively at that. It sounds like an insult someone in Elementary school would use. I suppose I should be grateful they didn't call him a "big meanie bo feanie."

Is there any explanation for why the Gruesome Twosome suddenly lose their fire-breathing mojo or is this another case of "because prophecy that's why!"

For those of you who are curious, Judd is witnessing this firsthand, as Vicki and the rest of the YTF watch on TV.

“You have plagued the world with your magic for too long,” Carpathia said to the witnesses. “You have boasted about the suffering you have caused.”
“That’s not true,” Conrad said.

Actually, Conrad, it is. I can point to several passages where the GT boast about this being the reward of those who don't fall on their knees and thank Zod for beating them into submission. I am totally on Team Nicky here simply because there are no better options.

But Nicky loses all the respect I've given him, by acting all petulant, rather than just shooting them and being done with it.

“I proclaimed this area off-limits to you two years ago! Why are you still here? You must leave or be arrested! In fact, did I not say that if you were seen in public anywhere after the meeting of the cultists that you would be executed?”

Uh, Nicky if you proclaimed this area off-limits two years ago, then why the hell did you not do anything? Like say drop a cruise missle on them as they preached. I wonder if their fire-breathing mojo would protect against that. In the very least, you could have gotten your world-wide media to stop broadcasting their rantings to the world.

Lionel bent beside Judd and whispered, “He knows.”
“What do you mean?” Judd said.
“I think Carpathia’s been studying. He knows the prophecy says he’s going to win this round.”

Again, if Nicky's been reading up on this convoluted prophecy, surely he realizes that he gets punted in the end. Of course then again, does Ellanjay ever answer whether Nicky even has free will or if he can only play the role Zod gave him, even though he'll be smited in the end for doing so.

But finally Nicky shoots the GT. And there is much rejoicing. I'm picturing it playing out like the ending to the 1973 version of Wicker Man.

But Judd is still worried about Kasim trying to assassinate Nicky for reasons I'm not quite sure. Why exactly can't Kasim have his crack at murdering Nicky given that it doesn't do anybody any good? The chapter ends with him going after him.

Second chapter, Vicki and the others are grieving the loss of the GT. But not for long; apparently the new hideout has a secret room stocked full of food and night vision goggles, so they get to work exploring, but worry not: they keep watching the news.

The only person who spoke about Peter was Carpathia himself. In an interview shortly after killing the two witnesses, Carpathia admitted that he was tired of the Enigma Babylon Faith and said it would not return. “Individual souls can find within themselves the deity necessary to conduct their lives as they wish. I esteem individual freedom over organized religion.”

So what purpose did the EBOWF plot serve? It went nowhere and did nothing and it was forgotten about pretty fast. Is there any reason why Nicky couldn't just set up worship of himself early on? Though you'd think they'd have Nicky value tolerance, the most eeevil of all virtues.

So the eeevil GC are celebrating the death of the GT by kicking the bodies and destroying effigies. Once again, I'm picturing the scene being like the ending to the Christopher Lee version of Wicker Man.

Lionel watches as two girls talk about snipping a piece of the GT's robes. But just as they are about to do so, the GT are raised.

A voice spoke so loud that people covered their ears. “COME UP HERE!”
Lionel noticed the music from a few blocks away had stopped. Everyone watched as Eli and Moishe slowly rose into the air. People fell on their knees and buried their faces. Others cried out in horror as the two disappeared into a cloud. The cloud moved higher and higher until it vanished.

Once again, we have irrefutable witness of an actual factual miracle. Now in a well-written book, this would cause world-wide soul-searching as people of all walks of faith debate the cause and nature of said event, but given what I've seen before, I have a feeling we're in for another "Freaky Event Occurs: Zod Not Involved" kind of response. I could also point out that if Zod can witness to people in a way that doesn't involve repeatedly killing them, then why not do so? Why not just make a worldwide announcement that "Tim LaHaye was totally right about everything and you should totally buy all his books."?

But shortly after the GT ascend into heaven, yet another earthquake breaks out. In a rare show of compassion among RTCs, Mr. Stein says, “We must help those who may be trapped.” But the book ends with Lionel wondering if Judd survived the quake.

And I'm afraid that's the end of my snarks for a bit. The next book is Unmasked but I still haven't found work, despite applying to just about every place imaginable, and I'm still utterly broke. I feel like an eBeggar.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Informed Attributes

First of all, a quick shoutout and thank you to Fred from Slacktivist, who managed to more concisely phrase why the Gruesome Twosome are bad at this prophet business than I ever could. Not to mention, he managed to be both funny and educational. Seriously, read his blog if you're not already doing so.

The chapter begins with Lionel and Sam passing out pamphlets, which were probably promptly balled up and thrown away or passed around and joked about, much in the way people do with Jack Chick tracts. He and Sam then go and see the Gruesome Twosome.

What follows is basically a long sermon comprised of quotes from the Bible, which makes it really hard to snark, except to say that they come across, like Fred said, as machines programmed by someone with a faulty knowledge of human behavior/conversation.

The GT preach one of my favorite passages, Matthew 23:37

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, You shall not see me from now on, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Allow me to point out that missing from this passage is the part where Jesus says "And if ye do not gather under my wings, I shall send thee to a place of ever-lasting punishment for all eternity."

The GT stop speaking. Lionel and Sam walk away with Lionel saying that they might have just heard the last words of the GT. Once again, it would be dramatic if I gave a shit but I don't. Not to mention, instead of rattling off Bible passages like poorly-programmed automatons, would they be more helpful as prophets if they said, "Hey first this disaster is going to happen then this, this, and this." Instead of just standing there saying "Woe to all you free-thinking abortionists sinners!"

Meanwhile, Vicki and the others make it to Wisconsin where they plan on crashing at Darrion's former summer home. But horrors of horrors, they can't watch the gala on the big screen TV because the solar batteries haven't charged up enough, forcing them to use the laptop! The apocalypse is truly horrible to behold.

Judd is worried about the missing weapon from General Jew's stash and goes off in search of Kasim. But he's unable to find him before the gala begins so he takes a position at the gala where he's able to watch both the stage and Kasim's apartment.

We get another appearance of Z-Van and the Four Horsemen. Those of you, like me, hoping to hear more about their music, prepare to be disappointed. The Four Horsemen are mentioned but are rushed off-screen pretty fast.

Nicky appears. Because Ellanjay realize that they've done a bad, bad job at showing Nicky's brilliance, decide to tell us instead in hopes that it will convince us through sheer repetition. Apparently his latest brilliant move is to divide up the world into ten nations. Each nation report back to him. Now I know the reason for the number has to do with "Because prophecy; that's why!" but why did he wait until now. Isn't it standard operating protocal for empires to have a series of governors all reporting back to the head of the empire?

Vicki and the others, in order to conserve the laptop's battery, are listening via radio as Nicky announces the deputy to the SuperPope, Francesca D'Angelo. We can tell this new religion is evil because it ordains women instead of shutting them in the kitchen like Zod intended.

Then there's an awkward cut to Judd watching as Nicky uses his mind-whammy powers on the two million people gathered. He wonders about other people, listening and watching the broadcast from far away and I'm wondering myself. Just how does this mind whammy work? Does it require you to both see and hear it or can you escape just by listening to it on the radio rather than watching it on TV? I have a feeling I'm not going to get answers to any of my questions.

Oh and Nicky's big announcement is that the SuperPope is dead. According to Nicky, he caught lead poisoning a highly contagious virus that warranted cremating. This again, would have impact if he'd ever appeared on screen in these books and we knew something about him. But after the announcement, Judd notices Kasim sneaking through the metal detectors and runs after him.

Next chapter, Judd catches up with Kasim. Basically all that happens is they argue, with Judd continuing to give weaksauce statements about how Kasim can't kill Nicky, and Kasim hands over the lightsaber laser sword.

Meanwhile, Vicki, following Ellanjay's lead in trying to mask what a weaksauce villain Nicky is, marvels at how he's able to speak for forty-five minutes straight and hold everyone's attention. Thankfully his speech is mostly summarized over until the end:

“Around this vast plaza you see these words on lampposts and walls and fences: ‘Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Utopia.’ I commit to you here tonight that I will do everything in my power to bring you Utopia. We will see perfection in society, in politics, and in everyday life.”
The crowd went into a frenzy and Carpathia again called for quiet. “Our goal over the last three and one half years has been to unite the world. We have done that with our currency. We have built a one-world communications system. We have even brought people of different faiths together under one banner of religious thought.
“Look behind me. ‘One World, One Truth: Individual Freedom for All’ is not just a slogan. We have made it a living, breathing reality.”

Again, given that Nicky's communications system and government manages to survive several acts of Zod back to back, he's gotta be doing something right. But then again, he's assisted by the fact that none of the main characters, not even Zod, can stop him until seven years are up.

He then ends with my favorite part of his speech.

“Regardless who is proclaiming this or warning that or taking credit for all manner of attacks on this city, this area, this state … I will personally put an end to the religious terrorism perpetrated by two murderous impostors. I, for one, am tired of superstitious oppression, tired of drought, tired of bloody water. I am tired of pompous so-called prophecies, of gloom and doom, and of pie in the sky by and by!”

Again, regardless of how much Ellanjay talk about how eeeevil the anti-christ is, it doesn't change the fact that it's Zod who's the one inflicting all this massive amounts of suffering. Again, the worst Nicky could do was nuke 9 cities and that barely effected anything. Zod on the other hand...Need I list his atrocities again?

Meanwhile, Vicki and the other YTF do the all-important email check. Someone should really do the math and figure out just how much of the series is telephone porn and how much is email porn. There's really not much to snark, except that they hear from Natalie, who says she'll join up with them soon.

Judd and Mr. Stein go to the wall to meet up with the GT. Mr. Stein and the witnesses sing hymns and recite verses together and I apologize for my inability to snark all this. But there is talk about how apparently no one's interested in going to the SuperPope's funeral, not even Francesca D'Angelo, to which all I can say is "Ouch!" I almost feel sorry for the SuperPope.

The chapter ends with them reflecting that in two hours the debate between the witnesses and the anti-christ will begin and that the witnesses will die. I would get hopeful at the thought of there being a debate, except that it's been proven that Ellanjay can't even set up decent strawman for their opponents to knock over, so no doubt, I'm going to be disappointed yet again.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nicky Fails Basic Villainy

I know, I know. I need to stop talking about how bored I am because it's not funny and because y'all are probably getting sick and tired of me mentioning it, but really it's hard to avoid not mentioning it. It's just that dull. I'll do my best to snark this, but cut me a little slack, willya.

All that happens at the beginning is Vicki and the rest of the American YTF (minus Charlie, who's hanging with Bo and Ginny) hide when the GC come around looking for them. But Charlie realizes that the GC will likely come back and they might be suspicious if he's not with Bo and Ginny so Mark gives him an ultimatum: Stay with them or go with us.

Judd and Lionel are arriving in Jerusalem. They lookover the stage. There's yet another sign of Ellanjay's inability to predict future trends as Judd decides to check on Kasim by calling on the car phone. Ah, car phones... Once again, I find myself wondering when these books were published. The first one was published in 1996, but we're over twenty books in so surely by now Ellanjay could have predicted cell phones becoming commonplace.

They talk to Jamal about Kasim but he doesn't know anything and says all they can do is pray. Also, they past by the Western Wall and run into the Gruesome Twosome again.

The GC had placed massive television lights over Eli and Moishe. Satellite dishes, cables, and cameras filled the space in front of the two witnesses.
“I wonder if they have this much giz at the stage we saw on TV,” Lionel said.

First of all, I had to study the sentence several times to understand what Lionel meant by "giz." But most importantly, why the Hell is Nicky setting up all this tech, the better to broadcast his enemy's message to the world? He owns the press and the police; surely he can tell his reporters to stay away and have the police put Moist and Ellie in a gulag.

Lionel and Judd go for a walk and we see how the holy city has degenerated into a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Judd and Lionel had walked this same route in the past, but they were surprised at all the new businesses. They passed bars, massage parlors, fortune tellers, and even pagan sanctuaries.

:eyeroll: How is this worse than what you can find in any reasonably-sized city? Ellanjay must get the vapors every time they step outside their house, especially since the wife of one of them works in Washington D.C., a city that's not exactly known for its low crime rate.

In the next few paragraphs, Ellanjay, in response to my eyeroll, try to convince me how degenerate the holy city has become.

“Can you believe this?” Lionel said. “Chicago had these kinds of places, but you had to go out of your way to find them. This junk is out in the open for everybody to see.”

Lionel was right. These weren’t run-down stores in the bad part of town. Gleaming storefronts advertised everything sinful. One busy shop run by a group of witches offered to cast spells. If you purchased one, the second was free. Many shoppers bought charms guaranteed to hurt the two witnesses. A block away, a bar played music so loud Judd couldn’t believe people could go inside without losing their hearing. The lyrics of the songs were so evil, Judd took a side street to escape the noise.

So the most horrible things Ellanjay can imagine are well-maintained thriving businesses with a bunch of people casting spells and a place that serves alcohol and has loud music. I cannot roll my eyes enough because you'd think that a truly degenerate city ruled by the anti-Christ would more resemble Rwanda circa 1994 complete with sex acts that aren't the missionary and aren't done solely for the purpose of reproduction. I feel let down by Ellanjay's lack of imagination, though to be fair, these books are meant for kids so they probably couldn't be too degenerate.

Judd and Lionel approach Kasim's place and hear someone inside screaming, "So that's the way you want it? You want us to kill you?"

Charlie decides to stay on the farm with Bo and Ginny.

Judd and Lionel wait until two burly guys leave Kasim's apartment. They find Kasim lying bloodied and bruised on the floor and the chapter ends with Lionel asking if Kasim's dead.

Next chapter, they're taking care of Kasim, who isn't dead. Apparently he tried to buy some weapons on the black market and got beaten up because he couldn't pay. Judd tries to get Kasim to hand over the weapon but he refuses. Kasim still wants to go through with his plan to kill Nicky.

Judd tries to scare him by saying that he talked to someone in the GC who said they'd kill Kasim if his plan is discovered. My response is, "Well duh, it makes sense that a worldwide dictatorship would frown on someone trying to assassinate their leader," but all Kasim can say is, "They're not going to--"

“If you don’t give me the rifle, I’m telling them myself.”
Kasim stared at Judd. “You’d do that to a fellow believer? Someone who wants to rid the world of that evil man?”
“You’re not thinking clearly,” Judd said. “And if you did get away with it, they’d trace the weapon to General Zimmerman and he’d be in trouble.”

Again, I fail to see the threat, because as said before killing Nicky doesn't do anything except make him SuperEvil, so why not let Kasim get in his shot? Also, given that General Jew is an RTC like all good characters in this series, and RTCism has been declared illegal, HE'S ALREADY IN DANGER REGARDLESS IF KASIM SHOOTS NICKY OR NOT! [/ragedump]

But Judd's incredible logic gets through to Kasim, who gives Judd the weapon. He returns it to General Jew's house and sleeps peacefully.

Vicki and Charlie talk about their times together. Charlie mentions that Judd really likes her and apparently that Conrad and Shelly have been holding hands a lot. This would actually be interesting dialogue if I cared about the characters and admitedly, it's nice that they're stepping off the narrative gas for a little gossipy moment, but the trouble is I don't really care about any of these characters.

They talked about the other kids in the Young Trib Force, and Charlie grew serious. “I’ve been reading as much as I can about what’s going to happen next. It’s going to get bad, isn’t it?” Vicki nodded. “We’re in a seven-year period of trouble. The first three and a half years have been awful. The last three and a half years will be worse.”

Forgive me for not being an expert on Ellanjay's incredibly convoluted prophecy, but I fail to see how the next three and a half years can be worse that the previous given that the previous involved all the children and RTCs being slaughtered, a worldwide quake, a rock the size of the Appalachians hitting the Earth, all the water becoming undrinkable, a massive freeze, and two appearances of lion-headed snake-tailed flying people-killers. I may have left out a few disasters because I can't remember them all, but I believe I've made my point.

Oh and we get two mentions of Ryan and one mention of Bruce.

Charlie asks if they'll get to meet all the great biblical figures in Heaven. It's notable for this part.

“I’d like to meet Ruth. Her story is so sad and then romantic. And Mary, the mother of Jesus.”

That sound you hear is me guffawing because for all their talk about how important the Bible is, they clearly haven't actually read the Book of Ruth, unless they consider a woman seducing a man and having :gasp: :choke: premarital sex to be romantic. I wonder if they're the types who use Ruth 1:16-17 at weddings, not realizing that it's :gasp: a woman saying it to another woman (Ruth to Naomi, if you're wondering).

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

After their conversation, Vicki and Charlie say goodbye, then Vicki and the rest of the YTF load up the Bo and Ginny's Suburban and head north.

Meanwhile in Israel, Mr. Stein makes this statement which once again, makes me headdesk about the GC's stupidity.

“The Global Community has just announced there will be no arrests or detainments during the Gala.”

Really, Nicky?! You should be like Beijing circa the 2008 Olympics where officials used the festivities as an excuse to step up their persecution lest the rabble act up and embarrass them on the world stage.

They talk about holding a tent meeting then General Jew asks Judd if he's seen a weapon missing from his collection. Judd tells him about Kasim and how he took a rifle but Judd admits to having returned it. But something is still missing from General Jew's collection: a high-intensity laser that can be used as a sword.

Nothing really happens at the end of the chapter. Vicki's traveling. There is a rare moment of introspection where they briefly think about all the people they've lost, but it's over pretty quick and that's it for this week.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Excitement Level: 0

So the American branch of the YTF are rowing down the river and we find out that the repeated natural disasters have had some effect on the direction and course of the river. I could go into a long rant about how it should have had more of an effect, especially since Wormwood has essentially turned all the waters into the Salton Sea, but at this point my expectations for these books are below sea level, so I take what I can get.

Meanwhile, Carl is fleeing the GC, thinking that he'll hook up with one of the underground churches. As he flees, his superiors try to message him, hoping to coax him into surrendering. Naturally, he's not buying it.

Meanwhile, Vicki and the others are continuing to struggle down the river and what follows is essentially a long series of action verbs that's pretty much impossible to snark. Again, if this was another series where the characters are in actual danger, it'd be exciting, but since this is the LB-verse where bad things only happen to Butt Monkeys and the Whore of Babylon...yeah, I apologize for the poor quality of snark I'm providing.

More boring action-verby stuff happens and I nearly bash my head against my laptop in boredom, but the chapter ends with the YTF ashore just as a guy in a Chicago Cubs hat threatens them with a shotgun.

Next chapter, well, the fact there's a man with a gun, raises the excitement level just a little, but not much. Basically he asks them a few questions about a missing GC vehicle then inexplicably decides to take them home to his wife, who has the Zod-mark. :massages temples: My futile hope that something would happen just died.

Carl talks with Natalie.

Apparently the farm couple is Bo and Ginny Shairton once again demonstrating Ellanjay's tin ear when it comes to naming characters. Could those names be more hickish? Still, I should be grateful they're not ethnic names otherwise they'd be much more grating.

So Ginny cheerfully serves Zod after he cheerfully murdered raptured her adopted daughter, Amelia. They check Token Jew's website and receive a message from Carl saying that he's trying to get to South Carolina to hide with believers there and to lay low.

Bo and Ginny offer to let the YTF stay as long as they like and even lend them their car so they can escape if they want. Those who were just panting with anticipation for another conversion scene, there's one as Bo finally kneels before Zod and gets his mark. If you're wondering, it is the same exact prayer.

Carl makes it to South Carolina and meets up with believers Tom and Luke Gowin.

Now I thought I'd supply another chapter since so far, nothing has happened and the snark's a little skimpy.

We cut back to Lionel in Israel. I'm starting to think in addition to all my other tags, I should start a "Where's Lionel?" tag because he disappears for chapters at a time with no explanation except that Ellanjay do a piss-poor job of keeping track of their characters. It's almost enough to make me wish for the Lionel of earlier books: yeah, he was a total jerk-ass but at least he demonstrated personality.

So he and Judd ride in General Jew's car to Tel Aviv so they can go to Nicky's gala. And to a previous commenter who wondered why anyone would want to celebrate after all the death and destruction, we get a little acknowledgement of that fact.

The trip to Tel Aviv went quickly, but Lionel couldn’t help noticing signs of devastation. The GC had done a good job of cleaning up dead bodies slain by the horsemen. But those who were still alive looked like walking shells. They had lost husbands, wives, children, and friends. And now, Nicolae Carpathia was throwing a party. Lionel shook his head.

They meet up with Mac and we get some tech porn as he talks about his plane but mostly we get more exposition about stuff that's going on in the adult books. Apparently, Nicky and Leon have had it with the SuperPope (aka Peter Matthews) so something tells me we're getting close to the part of the series where he bites it. If I'm wrong, aunursa will correct me.

Oh and Hattie's being held by the GC.

After Mac gives his long spiel, Judd asks him for some advice regarding Kasim.

When Judd was through, Mac took a deep breath. “We know the big guy is going down at some point. Tsion believes it’s going to be by a sword of some sort, but there’s no way to know what that means for sure. If this Kasim is anything like his sister, he’ll follow through with his plans. With all the security, he’s committing suicide if he walks in with a weapon. The GC will probably execute him for even trying to kill Carpathia.”
“What should we do?”
“Stop him,” Mac said.

Uh, yeah, not seeing the threat here? Don't St. Rayford and Chaim try to kill him and it only makes him SuperEvil? So how would things be affected even more if Kasim tries as well and possibly dies in the process? Or is this another case of the super-delicate continuity possibly being screwed up?

Vicki and the others talk when they see a GC peacekeeper vehicle coming.

Judd talks with Lionel. He'd seen Kasim with a tourist group and is worried that he might have placed a bomb on Nicky's plane, endangering not only Nicky but everyone else aboard the plane. Me, I'm not concerned. I mean, suppose he did place a bomb and it reduced Nicky to charred remains. Couldn't that possibly be a good thing seeing as Nicky would be cinders and ashes. Or can Satan revive a pile of cinders and ashes?

I thought about throwin in another chapter but I'm bored enough for now, so it'll be just a three-chapter snark this week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

And if that ain't love what is

Happy Sunday everybody! Sorry to be late with the post but I was traveling and thought it'd be easier to post when I was back home. That out of the way, let's get down to business.

The chapter beginning, if we were in a better book like say the Harry Potter series which allowed bad shit to happen to their characters, would be dramatic but given that we're in the LB-verse, it's just a boring collection of quotes, so forgive me for all the summarizing.

Mark is all "Get in the truck!" and I can't believe even with the GC storming their base that they're going to make their escape in a stolen GC vehicle. My five-year-old child advisor can point out all the flaws in that plan.

But Vicki and Charlie are trapped! Apparently one of the GC trucks collapsed the tunnel.

Vicki and Charlie struggle to dig their way through the tunnel and while doing so, they have a conversation. For those of you who can't hold onto the names of the characters along with their single distinguishing characteristic, Charlie is considered slow.

“One of the happiest days of my life was when I saw you had the mark of the true believer.”
“Me too. But I still don’t understand. If I’m, you know, damaged in the head, wouldn’t God have taken me with the other people?”
Vicki kept digging. “God knows everybody’s heart. You knew right from wrong. You were able to make choices just like everybody else.”


So I'm this Ellanjay's answer to my repeated question "What about the profoundly retarded who are unable to make a decision for Christ? Maybe this works in degrees in Ellanjay-land. The profoundly retarded might escape but if you're like Forest Gump aka a little slow, you're screwed. I really wish I could do a better job of taking this apart.

Charlie then asks why the locusts didn't sting him and Vicki gives the weaksauce answer that he was close to making a decision for Christ. He then asks what about Janie and Melinda and Vicki gives this infuriating answer.

“Well, I wonder if it didn’t take those stings to kind of jar Melinda and Janie. Maybe it helped convince them of the truth.”

Again lesson learned from Ellanjay: if someone you know is having a hard time understanding what you're trying to tell them, beat them harder and harder until they do because that's totally within the character of a god of love and charity. Or the Gospel according to Bobby Bare

Conrad shows up and starts trying to help them dig out. But just as the hole gets big enough, a morale monitor shows up! Dun-Dun-Dun!

Those of you hoping something dramatic might happen, keep hoping because the next chapter reveals that the morale monitor is a believer named Natalie Bishop. Because remember, nothing happens in these books. They come up with a plan to lead the GC away using their dog Phoenix, whom I'm sure you've forgotten existed. The plan works and they sprint out of there.

Judd is still hanging out at General Jew's house watching television. He's watching a speech by Leon Fortunado who :gasp: acts like all these disasters are a bad thing and promises that Nicky will stop them by dealing with the gruesome twosome. Out of curiosity, how much does Leon know about all these prophecies and whatnot? But then again, maybe I shouldn't ask that question since the book can't be consistent about whether Nicky knows he's screwed in the end or if he's capable of choosing to follow this convoluted scheme.

Vicki and the others make it to the river and start rowing down it, but the water is choppy and they don't know how much longer Natalie can stall the GC. The chapter ends with Carl wondering how much longer until he's figured out.

Sorry for the skimpy snark but quite a bit happens in the next chapter so this will have to do.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

There's a Light

Oh and I know y'all are pretty sick of me going on about Z-Van, but I found yet another RTC comic with which to model him after or in other words, as far as I'm concerned, Z-Van looks totally like Madonna Dahmer.

But anyway, the American YTF are worried because now they know that Marjorie spilled the beans about everything, probably even the secret handshakes, which wouldn't have happened if they'd abandoned her when she was unconscious like I suggested, but they're still working on plans to hack the next broadcast rationalizing it as,

Vicki nodded. “The reports from around the country and a couple of sites overseas tell us we’ve had incredible results. The truth is changing these pro-Carpathia kids. We estimate there were one to two hundred decisions made at each site.”

“That means there are thousands who are now believers,” Charlie said.

Uh, yeah, am I the only one who wonders if all these decisions mean about as much as all those revivals Fred's always talking about where the preacher calls and calls until everyone's at the altar that way he can say that his church caused X number of decisions for Christ? I am seriously skeptical of the success of Vicki's outreach.

They talk some more about how this is going to get Carl in serious trouble and whether it's worth it (they decide it is), when the baby starts fussing.

Lenore picked him up, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I’d like to say something.” She handed Tolan to Shelly. “You kids saved my life. Literally. And you saved my son’s life. But that’s not the best thing you did for me. You gave me a reason to go on. You showed me how I could know God. For that, I’ll be forever thankful.
“I knew this day would come. I didn’t want it to, but I figured eventually the GC would find this place and you’d have to run. My house is not big, but I’m willing to open it up to any of you who want to stay with me.”

Uh, Lenore, what about your husband? Y'know your loving husband who froze to death when he went out during God's Big Freeze to get food for you and your son. A few thoughts for him? Especially now that he's no longer frozen but burning in hell for eternity without end! :mad:

I know I keep saying these things over and over again, but damn do they bear repeating.

Lenore then leaves, taking Tolan with her, and we cut to Israel.

Basically all that happens is someone mentions Chaim. Apparently his speech sounds slurred, not sure why, and they of course still wish with all their hearts that he stop being all inscrutable and Jewish and become a good RTC before he gets tossed into the fires of Hell where he'll burn for all eternity. Okay they don't mention that last part but I felt I had to. It bears repeating.

Janie's keeping watch as they know the GC is looking for them. While doing so, Vicki comes up to talk to her. Janie confesses that she's done a lot of bad stuff and is worried that she'll keep doing bad stuff, which gives us this conversation from Vicki.

Vicki sat back and smiled. “God’s working on you.” “What?” “I know you think I’m some kind of saint, but the truth is, I was pretty messed up myself. I did bad stuff and didn’t care, because it was fun. After I came to know God, I wondered if I’d ever go back.”
“Did you?”
Vicki shook her head. “I’m not perfect, by any stretch. But after I understood how much God loves me, I didn’t want to do any of that. It’s like God opened a door. When I saw what was on the other side, I didn’t need the booze or hooch or anything else to make me happy.”

Booze? Hooch? What kind of teenager talks like that? Maybe these novels are actually set during the twenties. Also once again, apparently there's no such thing as being chemically addicted: if God doesn't miraculously cure you of your alcoholism, you have weak faith, not a chemical dependency.

But it's time for Neal Damosa's speech and apparently he also has Nicky's mind whammy the way he's described. Or maybe he's got Saruman's gift of the gab. :shudders: I feel so dirty comparing Lord of the Rings and Left Behind: the Kids.

“But first, the real reason we are here. We have been talking about your responsibility as citizens of the Global Community. In order to live in peace, you must help us work for peace.” Damosa’s speech slowed. The camera focused on the man’s eyes, and Vicki felt uneasy. He spoke softly, as if he wanted to put his audience into a trance.
“This is getting weird,” Shelly said. “You think he can do what Carpathia did?”
“You mean put people under some kind of spell?” Mark said.
“I wouldn’t put it past him to try,” Vicki said. “How much time?”
“Two minutes,” Conrad said. “We need to start now. Is there any way to call Carl?”

Carl watched Dr. Damosa and sensed a change in the room. People behind him stopped talking. Damosa’s voice was mellow, inviting, and evil.

Vicki comes in over the frequency and starts to explain about Zod using Janie as an example, but Darrion interrupts to say that the GC are coming up the driveway. Dun-Dun-Dun

This would be dramatic if I didn't know that the YTF wears titanium steel plot armor and that the GC weren't more incompetent than the Keystone Kops. Using my incredible powers of Ellanjay plot deduction, I predict nothing will happen.

Next chapter, Vicki gives her speech, a standard altar call. Judd watches and is all "Atta girl!" and we find out how much time has passed in the LB-verse: three years, since it says that Vicki is seventeen and she was fourteen at the beginning.

The YTF minus Vicki and Charlie escapes by going down this old Civil War tunnel, but horrors of horrors, they forgot the laptop so now they can't communicate with the other branches of the YTF. Gasp! The apocalypse is more horrible than I imagined! In a rare display of sense, they decide to leave the laptop behind and keep moving rather than embark on some stupid plan to go back for it.

But just as they reach the outside, they realize that Conrad isn't with them. Don't tell me...he probably went back for the laptop.

Meanwhile, Carl is watching all this and reflecting on how he came to Christ (John converted him). He also reflects that he probably doesn't have much longer in his career as a double agent.

Vicki and Charlie struggle but find the tunnel. But as they are escaping, there's a rumble and a GC truck sinks up to its axle. The last section ends with Carl as he and his men search and find the stuff Vicki used to get on the air.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

We're Gonna Rock Rock Rock with the Rock

Judd and the other YTF members in Israel have been mostly hanging out at General Jew's house preaching and studying the word. He's been hoping that Kasim has given up on his plans to assasinate Nicky but no luck there. Kasim shows up at General Jew's house, helps himself to a weapon from General Jew's collection, and leaves. And that's all that's happening on the Israeli front.

On the American front, the YTF are struggling with their plan to hack the satellite system. That's all that happens on the American side before we cut back to Israel.

Judd and Lionel and Sam are walking around the gala, taking in all the eeevil sights and sounds. Dr. Neal Damosa is there, introducing all the paratroopers as they enter, but after the paratroopers, it's time for The Four Horsemen.

Lionel shook his head as the most popular band in the world launched into their wild and frenzied music. They had risen to fame a few months earlier with their song “Hoofbeats.” They bashed Tsion Ben-Judah, Christianity, Jesus, and anything to do with the underground church. Lionel wasn’t surprised that the Global Community embraced the group, but to link them with the satellite schools was a stroke of genius on their part.

And we got our obligatory eevils of rock music in here. For the sake of funny, I'm going to assume the eeevil GC-loving rock'n'roll band is the same one from this Jack Chick tract. And yes, their big hit is "We're gonna rock rock rock with the rock."

Kids clapped, screamed, and sang along with lead singer Z-Van. He wore wraparound sunglasses and a skintight outfit that made Lionel wonder how he could possibly dance around the edge of the stage without falling off. GC security allowed kids to stream onto the infield and surround the huge dove.

Ah, gotta love it whenever Ellanjay tries to predict pop culture. Because judging by their description of Z-Van with his wraparound sunglasses and skintight outfit, these novels are set during the Reagan years.

I know there's much I haven't criticized like as soon as the smoke machine started up, there should have been mass panic from the audience. Remember, they've survived disaster after disaster so chances are, they're all suffering massively from PTSD, so the sight of smoke would likely make them more than just a little panicky. But frankly I'm just in love with this whole eeevil rock band thing that I'm willing to overlook it for a bit. Though really, they couldn't hammer together some eeevil lyrics for The Four Horsemen to sing? Mouse is disappointed.

But in America, our brave YTF are still having trouble hacking the satellite. But we do hear more about The Four Horsemen, which makes me a little happy.

horse costume. As he sang, flames shot into the air. Shelly put a hand on Vicki’s shoulder. “Their music is bad, but you have to admit they’re kind of cute.”

Vicki shook her head. “All of their songs are just twisted lyrics from Dr. Ben-Judah’s e-mail messages. I can’t get past that.”

So we hear a little bit about their lyrics, which only makes me want to know more. Twisted lyrics from Dr. Ben-Judah's email messages? First of all, how are they hacking his email and if they are, how come they can't bring him in, and by twisted lyrics, does this mean that they're laying into the RTCs by using their own words against them? Because that'd be kind of awesome if they did.

But just as Z-Van's song ends, they manage to get through. I'm wondering if they're going to call this one a miracle or if the kids just finally worked out how to hack the system or something.

Next chapter, Vicki starts to speak her message to the world. At first it's rather dull with her pretending to be an ambassador and introducing herself, but we find out more about The Four Horsemen's lyrics.

“A good place to start tonight is Z-Van’s lyrics. The latest Four Horsemen recording is ‘Praying to Air.’ I don’t know all the words, but in the chorus Z-Van sings, ‘You’re praying to air, you’re talking to sky, your mind’s full of mush, ’cause you’re willing to die … for a book.’

I am seriously fangirling The Four Horsemen right now, so much so that I wish one of my readers had a DeviantArt account or something with which to make a poster for this group, because their summation of the RTCs is sadly accurate. Except Z-Van could point out that they're willing to kill for a book because that is true. History is riddled with bloody acts of violence whose motivations can be summed up as "They believe slightly different things about our invisible Sky-Daddy! Let's kill them!"

Vicki then reaches for a bible and begins reading verses. Those of you who are groaning in anticipation of yet another sermon, relax. Ellanjay can't be bothered to quote the verses she's reading. Vicki does say, "Hey the RTCs have been right about every disaster so far so maybe we should listen," before letting the feed get cut out.

But the eeevil GC are trying to track them so in order to get their message out, they cut in during Dr. Damosa's speech. For those of you dreading a long sermon, now you can groan because that's what we get.

Vicki stood and leaned against a table. Mark zoomed in tight on Vicki’s face. “But many of you know the stuff the Global Community is throwing at you is hollow. You don’t have peace with God. Every time something terrible happens—an earthquake, stinging locusts, meteors, whatever—you’re scared. You’re afraid you might be the next one whose name shows up on the death list.
“I want you to know you don’t have to be scared. You don’t have to be afraid that God’s going to zap you. You can have real peace with him today.

Forgive me, I know there's so much to take apart here but I've taken it apart so many times that it can probably be summed up with one line: He loved Big Brother.

I thought as an added bonus and because the snark felt a little skimpy, I'd throw in another chapter.

Vicki is feeling all triumphant after her big speech. The others asked how she kept her nerves under control and while I was expecting her answer to be God or Jesus, we actually get the first mention of Ryan Daley for the first time in a long time. I really should have started a tally to keep track of how many times the YTF mentions or thinks about Ryan since sticking him in the ground because it really isn't much. Poor Ryan, even in death he's the series' Butt Monkey.

Vicki wiped sweat from her forehead. “I was really nervous when I thought of all those people watching. Then I remembered my speech teacher. She said I should focus on one person and talk to him. So I pictured somebody sitting there by the camera.”
“Who?” Lenore said.
“You don’t know him. His name was Ryan Daley. He was one of the original members of the Young Trib Force who died in the wrath of the Lamb earthquake.”

After savoring their triumph, Vicki sits down and reads Token Jew's latest epistle and we get more of an attempt at an Author's Saving Throw.

If you watch the GC newscasts, you know how bad things have become. Crime and sin are beyond control. The food and supplies we need to live on are in short supply because many workers who make and distribute them have died. Life is cheap, and our neighbors die every day at the hand of criminals who steal things from them. Many Peacekeepers have died, and the ones left are either overwhelmed with their jobs or are crooks themselves.

Of course though since all this crime and evil takes place off-screen, you'll understand if I'm rolling my eyes here. Again, the world should be worse than Haiti post-earthquake yet this sounds barely worse than everyday life in our world.

I urge you to prepare for the day when it is illegal not just to read this Web site or call yourself a believer. One day you will be required to take the terrible mark of the beast on your forehead or your hand in order to buy or sell anything. Don’t make the fatal mistake of thinking you can take that mark and privately believe in Christ. Jesus has made it plain that those who deny him before men, he will deny before God. I will talk more later about why anyone who takes the mark of the beast will not be able to change their minds.

Uh, yeah, aunursa probably knows better than me, but don't the RTCs working for the anti-Christ repeatedly say that Carpathia is God, while telling themselves that in their hearts, they love Jesus. Hypocrisy thy name is anti anti-Christianity.

The chapter ending is told from Carl's perspective. I know, you're thinking "Who the Hell is that?" but don't trouble yourselves too much with character names given that all the characters are pretty much interchangable in this series. Basically he receives a message that the GC are redoubling their efforts to track down Vicki and her cohorts and that they know she's in Illinois. Dun-Dun-Dun!