A Salute In The End Times
From the Bible on up, Christian fiction has been one of the world's most popular genres. I don't have a magic access code to Nielsen BookScan, but I can confidently estimate that every book Tyndale publishes sells at least 50,000 copies within six months (possibly excepting the Bible.)

Even Random House has its own Christian imprint, WaterBrook Press. Imagine: the company Bennett Cerf started in 1927 to publish illustrated editions of Candide, the company that made it legal to publish pornography Ulysses in the United States, the company that gave away free two-volume boxed sets of gay old Marcel Proust's In Search Of Lost Time with every catalog order! And now--the company that brings you Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost Of The New Sexual Tolerance! A quote from the blurb:

Lifetime monogamy is passe. Pornography infiltrates nearly every home. Homosexuality is accepted.

Random House admits it: we are living in the end times.

But we were talking about Christian fiction. Since money dictates importance, we are thus talking about Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind series.

Have you ever been curious about the Left Behind series? I have! I tried reading one of the books once but couldn't get past I think thirty, forty pages. The only plot points I remember are: (1) everyone gets sucked up into Heaven and (2) Captain Rayford Steele sometimes has lustful thoughts about his flight attendant, which means he stays on Earth for seven years of torture.

This is what America wants to read. This is what has probably kept the publishing industry alive for the past ten years. LaHaye and Jenkins, terrified about the money train stopping, even published a sequel to Left Behind, one set in the thousand-year reign of Christ over Earth (SPOILER: Jesus wins.) Isn't the point of the thousand-year reign of Christ the absence of all conflict and narrative complexity?

Fortunately, you don't have to actually read through these books. A helpful blogger named Fred Clark has done it for you!

For the past five years, Mr. Clark has gone through the first Left Behind book page-by-page, explaining why it is stupid.

Mr. Clark has spent only two fewer years than the actual duration of the Apocalypse performing a close reading of Left Behind.

It starts here and it concludes six days ago.

Mr. Clark, we at the Fiction Circus salute you. Without readers who are willing to fixate in an unwholesome way on lies told by writers, the world of fiction would be nothing.

There are always two in fiction: hypnotist and subject. With your five years of blogging about a 450-page book that you hate, you are both.


Posted by future on Thu, 25 Sep 2008 10:34:57 -0400 -- permanent link


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