Soon: Prologue: Subtlety and Violent Death

So they drag Andy to some deserted industrial park, because let’s not miss a cliché.  By this time, “some big shot” in a limo (no doubt solar-powered) has shown up, and directs the mean, raw-boned lady as to what to do next.  Although why the Big Shot is directing them is anyone’s guess–they’re already all set up for what they’re going to do.

Indeed, they have a 55-gallon drum just sitting there, waiting, and Andy seems to know exactly the purpose to which it will be put (he smells “acrid fumes” coming from the barrel, and prays that he will be “stoic“).  Because nothing is more important than being a Big Strong Manly Man (TM) until the end.

“Actions have consequences, An-dy,” the woman said.  (Emphasis Jenkins’.)

Okay, what’s with the weird emphasis on the first syllable of Andy’s name?  What, is the raw-boned woman six years old?  It’s not like Andy is some kind of strange and unusual name.

And even though “surrender wasn’t in his nature,” Andy can only imagine how he would fight his way to freedom, and lets himself be stuffed into the barrel, which happens to be lined with napalm.  He imagines how they would shoot him if he made a run for it.  Me, I think if I had to choose, I would take the bullets over the being burned alive, but maybe that’s just me. 

Oh, and he wants to spit in the raw-boned lady’s face, but refrains.  Andy’s a gentleman.

“Now others will get the message.  The USSA does not tolerate subversives.”


Are you serious, Jerry Jenkins?

The USSA???

Honestly, are you serious?

Holy crap, you are serious.



So Andy is imagining scenarios of torture, but they’re really just there to kill him.  Hell, they don’t even ask him a single question, which seems like a real wasted opportunity.  Surely the…oh geez…the USSA might be interested in “the compund” where Andy’s compatriots are.  I mean, they have a compound.

But no, they just kill him.  Man, the USSA is inefficient.  The guy isn’t even struggling or spitting or anything.

Now, I’m no expert in the area of being killed while stuffed into a barrel of napalm that is set on fire, but Jenkins manages to inject the scene with at least a bit of horror.  (Well, he has to, doesn’t he?  After all, this is just what eeevil atheists would do to a Christian, if only they had the chance.)

Andy willed himself to make no sound, but he failed.  He had drawn in enough air to fill his lungs just before the conflagration enveloped him with a heat so hellish he could not fathom it.  And he exhaled with a scream so piercing he could hear it above the roar of the fire.

Now, not to take anything away from Andy’s pain in the moment, but I do feel compelled to point out two things, the first of which may seem insensitive, but is related to the second point:

1.  Andy’s pain, great though it is, is over in seconds.  He has time for one scream before he dies.

2.  Speaking of hellish, this is what RTCs think will happen to atheists forever when they die.  Oh, and all those other silly Other People, too–the Muslims and Hindus and Wiccans and Buddhists. 

I want to be fair about this, I really do, so I went and checked, and found footage of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (though it is important to remember that Jenkins is the sole author of Soon) talking about the fate of nonbelievers and the existence of hell, on Beliefnet.

So if people deny Jesus, they get stuffed into a fired-up barrel of napalm…forever.  Which, okay, would suck, but someone has to explain to me how this threat would make me a) believe in him, and b) even if I did, worship him out of anything but abject fear.

So ends the Prologue.  On to Paul Apostle!


Posted on December 11, 2010, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Oh god, the USSA? What is this, the United Secure States of America? Oh wait, that book series was written by people who, while writing for young adults, wanted to portray the realities of what a totalitarian American government would look like, under the guise of a right-wing military coup to “restore order and dignity to the USA”. Jenkins would never dare read a book series like that because it’s positively subversive in today’s world.

    Jenkins probably means something ridiculous like United Socialist States of America. I’m just rolling my eyes now in disbelief.

    • Spoiler Alert! 😀

      (Not even much of a spoiler at that, as I hope to start Chapter 1 today or tomorrow.)

      It’s Seven.

      The United Seven States of America.



      • What a disappointment – I thought it’s “Union of Soviet Socialist America”… Or at least “Union of Secular Socialist America”.

      • Inquisitive Raven

        Boy, Jenkins really is stunted in the imagination department isn’t. You’d think he could come up with something that would sound threatening to RTCs but would be presumably be reassuring to the atheists living in that country. Redcrow’s second suggestion would work much better, while still retaining the call back to the former USSR, especially since RTCs don’t really seem to have a handle on what the words “secular” and “socialist” mean or how non-RTCs think. Anything employing the word “soviet” would certainly be scary to these guys, but I seriously cannot picture a successor nation to the US using a Russian word as part of its name. IIRC from Russian class, it means something like “council’ or “committee” (redcrow, corrections? clarifications?) and in the context of the USSR referred to the governing bodies of the member states.

        Also, the kind of backstage murder he’s describing hardly makes a good way to deliver a message to subversives especially if either a) they’re jamming the guy’s skullphone or b) as appears to be the case, the dork’s too stupid to call for help/send a warning. It’s not like these guys aren’t supposed to be something like the secret police. Seriously, this man lived through the McCarthy hearings (okay, he was a kid, but still). It requires no imagination to have publicly staged show trials, and fake confessions given that background. Also, wasn’t a hallmark of the HUAC demanding that suspects rat out their associates? Geeze, that’s witchhunt/oppressive government 101. Heck, it’s even police procedure 101.

      • …”Seven” States?

        Let me guess. As in the seven heads of the First Beast.

      • Seven?

        The United Seven States of America?

        Can it be? Could it possibly, perhaps, be?

        The USSA!


  2. Yeah, this just isn’t hanging together for me. Sure, historical dictatorships have had torture and murder squads. But this killing in the middle of nowhere… what does it achieve? Killing someone in a gratuitously nasty way where all his friends and family can see his agony, sure. Torturing someone to death in your secret police basement (because you’re naif enough to think that torturing people will actually get you reliable information, or just for fun), and then dumping the body, sure. But this… it’s nasty, but it’s quick, and there’s no audience.

    Given that Jenkins seems to like the idea of living in an ideologically-driven dictatorship – as long as he’s the one with his hands on the napalm barrels – I suppose I should be grateful that he fails even at writing one of those. But somehow I’m not.

    As for the praying that he’ll be stoic… who’s going to care? Not the secret police. Not God – once saved always saved. And he’s going on to a better place. So why not weep a bit? What’s the harm?

    • As for the praying that he’ll be stoic… who’s going to care? Not the secret police. Not God – once saved always saved. And he’s going on to a better place. So why not weep a bit? What’s the harm?

      I’m pretty sure that the harm would be that it would make you Less Of A Man. In the RTC midset, weeping because you love Jesus might be one thing, but weeping because you’re frightened or about to leave your loved ones behind is another thing entirely.

      • This. An-dy is clearly a Manly Man. Manly Male RTCs do not weep!

        I can sort of see the reasoning behind using such an odd and borderline ersatz execution method. If it’s some kind of standard punishment for a particular crime of being a dominionist asshole — I mean, a subversive religionist in the USSA (TSAN!*) then maybe seeing the napalm’d body would indeed be a message.

        But, seriously… wow, napalm-lined barrels. A part of me just went to a weird place. There’s something sickly ironic about killing RTCs like that, in a sort of brief and very intense version of Hell. It’s creepy, unwholesome… and thinking about it, a little terrifying. I am starting to get the idea that shoving atheists and non-RTCs into napalm barrels is what these people have planned for everyone else. It’s… rather chilling. It’s making me rather scared of the Oath Keepers and Promise Keepers and dominionists.

        I don’t want to be put into a napalm barrel. At least for the time being, LaHaye, Jenkins, and others of their ilk seem willing to wait for TurboJesus to do it for them. I hope.

        * – They Stopped At Nothing! (Clearly the Seven need better brakes.)

  3. Just how is this killing supposed to deliver a message?
    There’s no mention of a camera, nobody tells him to say his name, or confess or anything. So it’s clearly not being recorded. All that’s left is a body burned beyond recognition. Where exactly is the message in that?
    And it would be no problem to write such a scenario; just copy the Mafia, who *know* how to deliver a message. A tortured corpse, nailed to a cross and with Bible pages stuffed in its mouth, that would be message enough to any Christians around….

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