Posted by Fred Clark

In the first Left Behind novel, written in 1995, we’re told that peace and prosperity will come suddenly in the Middle East before the Rapture — which could happen at any moment, possibly even before you finish reading this …

… sentence. OK, it didn’t happen just then, but it could have. Any day, at any time, in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus could come back to get us before we die. (Well, not us, of course. But the real, true Christians.) The Rapture is imminent. No man knoweth the day or the hour but, back in 1995, Tim LaHaye assured us that the day and the hour weren’t far off at all.

But before the Rapture comes — at any moment — something else apparently has to happen first. Israel has to make peace with all of its neighbors (and vice versa). Writing in 1995, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins assumed this would happen quickly and easily. Back in 2003, I doubted that. Today, in 2014, I still doubt that.


 

Left Behind, pp. 8-9

Here in reality, the “road map” peace plan is stumbling and staggering and likely to fall apart. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat seem determined to undermine the plan in any way possible. Its two-state solution, and its stated goal of an independent Palestinian state in what is now the occupied West Bank by the year 2005, seems highly optimistic.

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins don’t believe in the road map peace plan. They have their own idea of what is necessary to end the perpetual conflict in the region. The problem, they say, is that Israel simply is not yet wealthy enough. Increase Israel’s GDP, they argue, and peace will bloom like a magically fertile desert.

L&J like to drop startling, audacious plot points with little fanfare. It’s a tendency that can give the reader whiplash. For instance:

The prosperity brought about by the miracle formula changed the course of history for Israel. Flush with cash and resources, Israel made peace with her neighbors. Free trade and liberal passage allowed all who loved the nation to have access to it. What they did not have access …

Wait — did you catch that second sentence? L&J fly by this remarkable development offhandedly, but it seems that in the fantastic world of Left Behind there is a firmly established peace in the Middle East.

Never had Israel enjoyed such tranquility. The walled city of Jerusalem was only a symbol now, welcoming everyone who embraced peace.

Even the thorniest question of the Middle East peace process — the status of Jerusalem — has been easily and breezily dealt with. The entirety of Jerusalem is simply accounted as a part of Israel, but everyone else is permitted to freely come and go within it. And no one in the region has any qualms about this tidy arrangement.

TempleMountRiots

Israeli police respond to riots earlier this month on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In 1995, Tim LaHaye assured us that peace in the Middle East was poised to break out at any moment. (Photo from Police Spokesperson’s Unit via The Jerusalem Post.)

How neat. How convenient, how simple and, like so much else in Left Behind, how utterly out of sync with anything resembling reality.

How this remarkable tranquility actually came about — how decades and generations of violence, hatred and mutual mistrust were swept away — L&J don’t say. They, again, don’t even seem to be interested. And it doesn’t occur to them that their readers might be interested in or curious about such a startling development.

In the real world, or in an even semi-realistic fictional world, any hint of progress toward peace in the Middle East is the stuff of Nobel prizes and banner headlines. The path toward peace is marked with the graves of brave men — Sadat, Rabin — assassinated for their willingness to pursue anything other than continuing conflict. Yet L&J see no dramatic potential in exploring such a story. They simply present a miracle formula which in turn brings about a formulaic miracle: agricultural bounty = wealth = peace and an end to all animosity.

L&J believe that “biblical prophecy” foretells the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous Greater Israel — one which includes not only the entirety of the West Bank, but everything from the Mediterranean to the freaking Euphrates. Israel, according to this strange prophecy, is like a Red Giant. It is destined to swell as it dies, swallowing up Jordan, Syria and a sizeable chunk of Iraq before ultimately going supernova at Armageddon and collapsing forever into a black hole. (L&J would not approve of this metaphor — they consider the life cycle of stars a fiction of corrupt, secular humanist evolutionary theory.)

Now, try to conceive of any possible course of events that would — in the space of a few short months or years — take us from the world we live in today to a world in which the state of Israel has expanded to such a vast extent while simultaneously making fast friends with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world.

Can you imagine any way this might happen? L&J couldn’t either. That’s why, as they often do when conveying something ridiculously implausible, they simply assert it matter-of-factly in the hopes that the reader won’t pay too much attention.

L&J sincerely believe that we are now living in the End Times. They wrote Left Behind in the hopes of convincing others that this is so.

Yet on page after page the reader is confronted with jarring illustrations of how glaringly, insurmountably incompatible this End Times world is with the actual world we are living in. The more you read, the more this book undermines the argument that our world and the world of the End Times are the same thing.

If you accept L&J’s belief that Left Behind accurately portrays the world of the End Times as they believe it to be, then, by their own standard, you must conclude that the End is a long, long, looooong way away from here.

Posted by Big Finish Productions

In a nod to 1986's adventures, the much anticipated reunion between the Sixth Doctor and his lost companion Peri Brown takes place today - Doctor Who - The Widow's Assassin is out!
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([personal profile] twistedchick Oct. 31st, 2014 07:43 am)
Suppose you're ordinary people, not cops, not criminologists, and you want to stop rape from happening. You want to interrupt the process. This is a good article on how to cockblock rapists as a moral obligation. Pass it along.
thebonesofferalletters: "And the words are everything and nothing." ([Writing]  Words)
([personal profile] thebonesofferalletters Oct. 31st, 2014 07:39 am)
So, instead of doing anything productive, I find myself sorely tempted to fuck around with my living space. This would not be a horrible problem if not for the fact that I really don't have a whole lot of room

But still, I know I am getting a desk and hopefully also getting a bookshelf, though I have no idea where that's going to be going, as I really don't have much room for it.

Iiiii will figure it out. Somehow. Possibly getting a desk with a built in bookshelf may be my answer

no words committed yet but I am going to try and do that soon. On the other hand, I'm fiddling around with Wordpress blogs, the site that I own, and am potentially drafting up a posting schedule so that I am using it on a more regular basis.

If anyone has any suggestions that they would like to see me post on a vaguely (though not much) more professional blog, let me know. I am happy to give it a go.
Illustration for The Mothers of Voorhisville, showing Jeremy arriving to town on a hease


The things you have heard are true; we are the mothers of monsters. We would, however, like to clarify a few points.


Jodie: Over the last year, I've noticed that SFF has almost a sub-genre of stories about fantastical reproduction (The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, The Brides of Heaven by N. K Jemisin, Maul by Tricia Sullivan to name a few examples). The genre has also produced a lot of stories which imagine, or express concern about, how parents will have children in the future or in magical worlds, for example Starglass by Phoebe North, Motherlines by Suzy Mckee Charnas and God's War by Kameron Hurley all show futuristic reproduction.

The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert is one of these stories about fantastical pregnancies, babies and births. SFF has a troubled time with mothers, and the genre is well known for using dead mothers as a quick and lazy way to inject emotional pain into its stories (Guardians of the Galaxy I'm looking at you). Did you have any concerns about the way motherhood was characterised in this story, or did you feel that The Mothers of Voorhisville managed to present a complicated picture of women who were 'the mothers of monsters' without demonising mothers in typical, sexist ways?

Read more... )

You can read The Mothers of Voorhisville for free at Tor.
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([personal profile] alias_sqbr Oct. 31st, 2014 10:00 pm)
Trip: Went as well as could be expected and still HORRIBLY EXHASUSTING
Hotel (Oak on Collins): Pretty nice except for the FIVE STEPS that mean I have to use a slow, out of the way wheelchair lift that is accessed through the bar and behind a curtain and refuses to work at all if the gate at the top isn't closed properly, which is super convenient when you're at the bottom.

Went to visit a friend and her ADORABLE BABY yesterday, made self even more tired and sore and it was worth every minute. Babbbiieesss :D :D (And he is a particualrly cute one)

Today: Realised as I neared the concention centre that I had forgotten my recharger, barely made it back and spent the rest of the day lurching from power point to power point. Note to self: find somewhere better than Rehab Rentals next time.

Cam told me about a Dragon Age playtesting thing and I thought "nah", then as I toodled around the exhibition floor I found myself thinking more and more "YES".
No spoilers just some panel notes and the rest of my day )
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