There really isn’t a better distraction to morning traffic

than watching a slug make it’s way across your windshield.

I noticed the slimy bugger around I35 and Johnson:

slugworth

by I35 and 75th it was well on its way to committing self-slugicide:

sluggy mcsluggerson

I’d never been had the luxury of being on the underside of a moving slug and, with the sun shining at just the right angle, I could watch the rapid undulations that propelled it along my car. And that was some neat stuff. Fare well, yon slugster. I’m sure you’re smushed on the highway somewhere around 95th and 69. May you provide a decent brunch for some brave bird.

Something that’s not so neat: the Left Behind books. I got about 1/3 into the first one and then just couldn’t take any more hackery. Besides, if I wanted to read a fictionalized account of the Ending to End All Endings, I’d read Revelations. Eschatology seems an idle pursuit.

Anyway, here’s why I bring up these vomited books:

Having read 13 of the Left Behind novels, a popular series of 15 books selling around 70 million copies since the mid-1990s, I can certainly say the books are very novel-like. On the surface they seem to embrace all the elements novels contain: characters, plots, settings. They tell stories of past, current or future events. They claim to offer much in the same fictional substance as science fiction or thriller genre fiction, and in many ways they do. But below these veneers, there are important questions we should ask ourselves: Are these fictional and novel-like Left Behind books, in fact, novels at all? Can we call them novels, in the traditional sense? Or are they pseudo-novels, a form of manipulation of the novel for other means? Does it even matter how they are defined? Does the political coloring of an individual reader determine if that person sees the books as novels or not?

There really isn’t a better distraction to morning traffic

6 thoughts on “There really isn’t a better distraction to morning traffic

  1. Balmsquad says:

    I’m personally offended by the ‘Left Behind’ series. They (and a whole lot of Christian-themed/written books) are simplistic, boring and filled with platitudes and cliches. They do more damage than good. You can evangelize to the masses without patronizing intelligence. Some great books to counter the bible-beating Christian image are ‘Blue Like Jazz’ by Donald Miller http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Like-Jazz/dp/0785263705/sr=8-1/qid=1156950338/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-8706257-3378353?ie=UTF8 and ‘Velvet Elvis’ by Rob Bell http://www.amazon.com/Velvet-Elvis-Repainting-/dp/031026345X/sr=1-1/qid=1156950384/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-8706257-3378353?ie=UTF8&s=books

    …RIP Mr. Slug

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  2. Swollen Arts says:

    I’m somewhat torn between my opinion of the Left Behind Series. I actually made it to the ninth book, and believe me, the plot does get better by the third book. But digging through the cliches and evangelic messages of the first and second book were hard. I found myself waiting to meet Satan. I wanted to know about his death and resurrection in the fourth, fifth and sixth books. I don’t think that is what the authors wanted to achieve, but when your constantly bombarded with this “You must believe” crap, it’s get a little overbearing.

    I mean, it took Hallie until the sixth book to finally believe, and you have to read about 300 pages on the subject throughout all the books to reach an anti-climatic conclusion. I only stopped reading them because they hadn’t released the rest of the books yet. And upon that reflection time, I decided that I didn’t want to pick up another Tim LaHaye book again. Besides, I know Satan doesn’t win.

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  3. thanks for the recommends, balmsquad. i’d add ‘the chronicles of narni’a and ‘a wrinkle in time’ series to your list of books that don’t patronize – even though they’re written toward a youth audience (which is more than we can say for left behind.) i’d also recommend the ‘his dark materials’ trilogy for using a christian theme/theology against itself in an agressively creative and highly readable manner.

    and, swollen arts, wouldn’t the entire series be that much more interesting, more dynamic, more literary, more everything if satan-atan-atan were to win? that’s what i want to see explored. such a situation would challenge the characters, the audience (and most of all, the writers).
    left behind, with the devil in charge.

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