Friday, July 19, 2002

With the Lightenings, by David Drake
Wow! A Baen book, military SF, not unlike Miles Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold. Lots of action, and fast pace. I'm looking forward to the next one. The cool thing, I downloaded this one for free from Baen in their Baen Free Library, and read it on my Palm Pilot. Wow - like how sci-fi can you get?
The Mark, by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins

Okay.. I'm up to book eight... two more and I'll be caught up.... again - read 'em fast and squint.

I can see that the books have this going for them

  • Lots of characters, a variety of types (mainly stereotypes)
  • Lots of conversions; there is an appeal in reading conversion stories, and as bad characters become good, they get to put in a number of good ones. Even characters that you never know in their bad days spill their stories
  • Fellowship; that is you experience the virtual fellowship with a large cast of believers; if you last this long in reading the stories, you must be a fellow believe of some stripe, as I am, no matter what you disagree with in the Biblical interpretations.
  • Fellowship - in the real world a LOT of people have read these books - you have a bond with them. I recall an elder gentleman who, like me is a lector at our (gasp! Catholic!) church. I was surprised when - out of the blue - he said "have you read the Left Behind books - they're really great!".

Thursday, July 18, 2002

The Indwelling, by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins

Okay, if you read these fast enough you don't question ... um, the ridiculous stuff. The magical cell phones, the ineptitude of the Global Community to realize Christians are outsmarting them left and right. This is a general rule I've found - either listen to (abridged) audio books where things move faster and have good dramatic voices telling the story, OR, read the book as fast as possible. The blur of speed reading helps you ignore the rough spots.

I think these later books are better than the earlier ones (not sure, and don't plan to re-read to find out) because they've reached a complicated enough pace, and have so MANY people to keep track of (downside of speed reading - you might have trouble tracking the details) that you read to see how it sorts out. And they've come up with a few interesting plot points (like who and how the antichrist is assassinated).

On to The Mark, then maybe a break.... oh, a good *meanwhile* thing: read the Catechism about the Church's ultimate trial.. Try it with a Bible handy so you can check out the cross references.

Oh, another Good-Book-on-tape link. has free downloads of the whole Bible (well sans deuterocanonical books) or you can order a cheap mp3 set of disks.
The New Testament, by Paul, John, Peter, Luke, Matthew, Mark, James, Jude (books on tape

Finally finished, so I can start again! I do like the narrative sections (Gospels and Acts) a lot. Using the b.o.t. of these books is such great background thinking material. I admit, listening to Revelation while reading a Left Behind book (no, not simultaneoulsy) makes one think , "oh yeah this is what they interpret/mis-interpret to mean....". (Read the CATECHISM for a better slant...)

And again - it really is refreshing to hear the words, and have them energize your thoughts. You can buy lots of different version - or listen for free: or

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Assassins, by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins

I'm easily influenced by hoopla. Another new one of the Left Behind books come out (The Remnant) and I feel obligated to look again at these books, if only to be able to intelligently discuss them with co-workers.. *sigh* So, okay, I finished Assassins, which I started as a book on tape. It isn't great - but I can see why it has a following - not good writing but it has: lots of characters, and surprises, since anyone can die (the good guys ARE going to heaven, after all). But the writing is sooo.... basic. It isn't surprising that one of Jenkins credits is that he wites a comic strip. That isn't a slam on him or comics, but it is key to how these books are written 1) episodic (like a strip) and 2) iconic - characters and things are almost symbolic, like chess pieces being moved around.

They are kind of like a weird Tom Clancy book - good guy technology always works, unless it is needed to develop plot tension. The bad guys aren't stupid, but blind to what the good guys are doing - they score on the good guys, either by chance or to advance the story and tension. On to The Indwelllng (on another book reading front, I'm enjoying an e-book of David Drake's With the Lightnings).