Left Behind fails as a novel for many, many reasons, but all of its other faults — the odious lack of empathy it holds up as a moral example, its blasphemous celebration of self-centeredness masquerading as Christianity, its perverse misogyny, its plodding pace, its wooden dialogue, it fetishistic obsession with telephones, its nonexistent characterization, its use and misuse of cliches, its irrelevant tangents, deplorable politics, confused theology, unintentional hilarities, hideous sentences, contempt for craft, factual mistakes, continuity errors … its squandering of every interesting premise and its overwhelming, relentless and mind-numbing dullness — all of these seem to be failures of the sort that one might encounter in any other Very, Very Bad book hastily foisted off onto the public without a second glance.**
Any one of those faults, on its own, would have been enough to earn Left Behind a place on the Worst Books of 1995 list. The presence of all of those faults — in a single book and in such concentrated form — is more than enough to secure its place on a list of the Worst Books of All Time.
Yet the book’s signature failure is something far simpler. Left Behind disproves the very thing it sets out to prove. It presents an inadvertent but irrefutable case for the unreality and impossibility of all of the events that Tim LaHaye claims are prophesied to occur at any moment.
Those events are not about to occur. They never will occur. They never can occur. Don’t believe me? Go read Left Behind and see for yourself.
That signature failure, Left Behind’s forceful refutation of itself, is what earns this book my vote as the Worst Book of All Time.—
Fred Clark- in the final analysis on the final chapter of the first book in the Left Behind series (via ursinechase)
I’m always pleased to see others picking up on how well Slacktivist eviscerates the bad writing, the bad theology, and complete lack of humanity in LaHaye’s “masterpiece.”
For subscribers of Tim LaHaye’s End Times innovations, though, it’s clear why the possibility of life on other planets must be rejected. I’d guess that LaHaye himself wouldn’t strongly reject the idea — he’d simply regard every other intelligent race in the universe as unsaved Space Ninevites who deserve to have their sinful worlds destroyed at the same time ours is. But if any of the thousands of speculative storytellers who have dreamed of advanced alien races are right, then we’d also have to consider this: Those aliens would never let LaHaye’s imagined apocalypse happen.
It’s their universe too, after all. So if we were to stipulate, for the sake of kicks and giggles, that anything like LaHaye’s heretical mythology were true, then every species in the universe would have an overriding interest in making sure that all of the items in his prophecy check list were prevented from occurring.— “Antichrists and aliens and the end of the universe,” via Slacktivist (Fred Clark)
Salem Kirban’s apocalypse illustrations
Via SFWeekly’s Alan Scherstuhl, “Salem Kirban’s 1970 Photos of the Apocalypse Include a Giant Christbot“—because you just can’t beat a giant Christbot—is, fittingly enough, included in the ”Studies in Crap” blog.
Kirban was a snake-oil salesmen who found his calling in Bible prophecy books. Schertstuhl ran across a paperback copy of Kirban’s novel 666, which was, in many ways, a precursor for Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series. Of course, it was just as popular among a subset of Christians as apocalypse porn—who doesn’t want to read about the testing of martyrs and the destruction of evil-doers!
Kirban died a couple of years ago, but his work lives on.
Guillotines: The preferred method of executing Christians in the End Times, according to both Salem Kirban and Tim LaHaye.