Babylon Rising: Chapter 44

Murphy and Laura are on the way to the hospital (from the police station, to which Laura magically arrived after having her windpipe crushed by Talon in the basement of the church).

Upon arrival at the hospital…

…the paramedics pulled the gurney out onto the tarmac and started barreling toward the trauma center like a bobsled team trying to gain momentum.

Oh, so torn…

Okay, I know what Dinallo means, and I can see the comparison, but still, it seems a rather cavalier way to describe a dying woman being rushed into a hospital.

Maybe it’s just me.

Murph is kept out while the doctors and nurses do their work, and bumps right into Shari, who apparently went to the hospital with Paul and has waited for news of his condition all Wednesday night and into Thursday.  And thus my opinion of Shari rises a fair amount.

Except, and not that it’s Shari’s fault, even though we have been told that Paul is “in a coma,” he is apparently being worked on in the same trauma center as Laura, and has not been moved to a room where Shari can see him.  Did they really need 12+ hours to work on Paul?

As GDwarf said in the comments, it is hard to be mad at sections like this, as LaHaye and Dinallo (especially, it appears to me, Dinallo) try to convey the feelings of helplessness experienced by family and friends when a loved one is injured.  And sometimes, it is pretty effective:

The minutes passed and then Murphy lost all sense of time and he was arguing with Laura about something and then she started laughing and his heart leaped because she was all right and then he realized he must be dreaming and woke up with a start.

That’s pretty good.  It would have been better, methinks, if Murphy’s dream had been arguing with Laura about something specific, maybe something completely pointless or something very important.  The problem is that we know so little of Laura’s personality or her relationship with Murphy.  Had they had a silly argument two days ago about how Murph always leaves DVDs in the player when he’s done watching, instead of putting them away?  Was Laura at all anxious about the book she’s been working on, or upset that she hasn’t been able to write since Murph’s been utilizing her talents for his own purposes and dragging her to other countries just as the school year has begun?

Then a character we have never heard of before, a Dr. Keller, appears with an update for both parties (Really?  The same doctor was working on Paul all night, and now is working on Laura?).  There has been no change in Paul’s condition.

Dr. Keller then throws medical terminology out the window by declaring Laura to be simultaneously “stable” and “losing ground.”  Sorry, doc, but that’s not how it works.  “Stable” means “not changing.”  One cannot be both stable and losing ground.  Grrr…

Keller shook his [Murphy’s] hand and nodded solemnly before walking back through the trauma center doors.  Unusually for him, he’d run out of words.

Well, if we knew Dr. Keller or anything about him, we might agree that it is unusual for him to run out of words.  Does Murphy know this is unusual for the doctor?  Did Dinallo mean to introduce Dr. Keller earlier, and forgot?  This makes no sense.

Murph declares that it is time to get some coffee before starting a lengthy prayer session.

And thus the chapter concludes.

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Posted on June 21, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ah yes, a popular amateur writer’s stumbling block: Treating one-scene characters as protagonists. Introducing them in the same style that the main character was introduced. Feeding us snippets of information about them so that we can build a larger picture of what they’re really like. Hinting at an interesting past and future life (He’s a trauma doctor in the ER!)…and then dropping them, never to be seen again.

    What’s really annoying is that, so often, these characters are more interesting than the actual protagonist. 😛

  2. It all feels sketched. It’s like someone’s rough notes for the scene. “Show that he’s upset, maybe he talks less than usual”. Combine with the usual LaHaye school of avoiding specifics wherever possible (as I said on Apocalypse Review, I think this is to encourage audience identification with the protagonists) and it’s not so much a book as the skeleton of a book.

    Still, I wouldn’t wish the multi-thousand-page complete version on you!

    • Considering that Left Behind seems to be the equivalent of the multi-thousand-page complete version of plot outlines LaHaye makes up for these books, I’m inclined to agree that in this case, perhaps less is better. 😛

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