Soon: Chapter 14: Checking in with the Ladies

Jenkins sure wants to get a lot done in Chapter 14.  Paul’s conversion, plus seeing what Jae and Angela are up to, plus another miracle (well, two, really).  I may have almost as many posts for Chapter 14 as I did for Chapters 1 and 2, where the whole world had to be explained.

So, let’s check in with the ladies.  And by “the ladies,” I mean only Jae and Angela.  Bia, I’m sure, would not be a “lady” by Jenkins’ definition, so she will not be included. 

Well, that, and something much more interesting happens to her, so I’m giving her a post of her own.  😀

Angela, underground Christian just like her father The Dork, meets up with a couple of her co-conspirators under circumstances that are not at all unusual or suspicious: they all attend a show at the Albert Einstein Planetarium.  I take it Jenkins is a pretty big fan of the Air and Space Museum, or at least checked out their website for a few minutes, because he cites a number of the exhibits there.  (Not that I blame him, as the Air and Space Museum is gorram awesome.)

Oddly, though, he seems to make a mistake of dates, or maybe he just didn’t double-check himself.  Let me lay this out, to be sure I’m not making a mistake…the dates switched over on January 1, 2010.  2010 became 1 P3.  It is now May of 37 P3, or 2047.  Paul, we are told, was 36 at Wintermas, born during the war.  However, Jenkins now tells us:

Angela’s favorite flying machine was the scarlet Breitling Orbiter balloon, the first to fly nonstop around the world just before the turn of the century, about six years before she was born.

Problem: The Breitling Orbiter 3 completed its journey in 1999.  Which puts Angela’s birth in 2005, making her 5-6 years older than Paul, around 42.  This does not jive with Paul’s earlier statement that Angela is “around thirty,” nor do I believe for a second that Jenkins would have his hero be attracted to a woman who is both over forty, and older than him, even if by only 5-6 years.

So, either Jenkins got the date wrong, or he or an editor accidentally put in a “six” instead of a “sixteen,” which would put Angela at the proper age.

And I have digressed on that one number waaaaay too long…

Angela and her cohorts get tickets to a mid-afternoon showing at the now-quaint planetarium.  Yeah, three unrelated, non-tourist adults meeting up here, when at least one of them may be tailed.  Not suspicious at all.  (Um, don’t you people have jobs?  I know Angela does: something about the Library of Congress or somesuch…)  Then the following glorious event occurs:

A couple entered, taking seats on each side of her.  The three clasped hands and, as the powerful bass line of the soundtrack boomed, shared a silent prayer.

That cracks me up every time. 

Angela (whispering): My brother and sister, we meet today under fearful circumstances.  Our very lives may be in danger as we speak, so let us pray for the success of our righteous cause and for our safety, should God will it.

Man (whispering): After we’re done here, can we hit the gift shop?  I wanna get some space ice cream.

Woman (whispering): Sure, dear.

The Christian threesome decide to further make themselves suspicious (and to disturb everyone else who is trying to enjoy the show), by whispering the entire time.  Angela passes on Paul’s message of a possible raid, and they make plans for Angela to leave town.  Because nothing says “I’m innocent” like snatching your kids out of school and fleeing the jurisdiction for no reason whatsoever. 

And you know Angela’s desperate, because she’s fleeing to…Detroit.

*****

Meanwhile, Jae, who is apparently (gasp!) older than thirty (that’s what you get for pursuing an advanced degree, you harpy), has decided to move Paul’s sorry ass out of the den, where he has camped out since he got home weeks ago, and back into their second-floor bedroom.  She cleans up all his clothes and bedding and shit.  (If Paul hasn’t been up to the second floor yet, how has he showered?  He must be really stinky by now.)  Then…

…she also came upon a note crumpled and soft from fingering, from Angela Pass Barger.

Ewwwww!!!  Jae, put that note down and go wash!  I don’t even want to think about what Paul has been doing with it!

Speaking of…why does Paul still have the letter, and why did he leave it at home while he skipped off to Washington?  Why didn’t the blind man who is dependent on his wife destroy the letter before he came home?  It didn’t cross his mind that this might happen?  I mean, I know I’ve ragged on Paul’s intelligence in the past, but now I’m starting to get worried–this is more than mere dumbassery; he doesn’t even appear to grasp basic cause and effect.

And now, let us rejoice in the fact that Jae is allowed a moment of anger.  Sure, this is it, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts:

How could her blind, seemingly helpless, definitely depressed husband have met a new woman, corresponded with her, and made a secret plan to meet her in Washington?  And right under the nose of Jae’s father?

No wonder Paul wanted Straight to go with him.  He must have been Paul’s accomplice all along.  Who else could have read him the note?  It amazed Jae that she had been so naive and accepting–waiting on Paul hand and foot, enduring his mood swings and angry outbursts, defending his temper to the children.  All the while she had hoped he was coming to terms with his blindness, he had been trolling the waters of a different future.

It was the same old story, Paul and his other women.  And he always acted like her jealousy was crazy.

I’m pretty sure that the reader is supposed to think, “Hey!  She is totally wrong about Straight!  Good Christian Straight doesn’t condone what Paul is doing!”  And he doesn’t.  Still, Jae is not entirely wrong (not that she’ll be vindicated, mind you).  After all, Straight cheerfully went to lunch with Paul and Angela, never dropping so much as a hint that this wasn’t on the up-and-up.  Which is pretty unfair both to Jae and to Angela, who still is in the dark about Paul’s relationship.  In fact, one of the oddities about this love triangle is the way that no one–not Paul, not Straight, not the author–has said a word about the situation being so lousy for Angela.

And this is all Jae gets.  The poll of Paul’s asshattery will be just as bad, IMHO, for the next bunch of chapters, even if he is now-a-Christian Paul.   

But I’ll let you all be the judge.  😉

*****

Housekeeping:

1.  The winner of the Paul-asshattery Poll #1 is…

“Why can’t you handle simple electronics?…Grown woman and you can’t even–…Are you crying again?”

But, as Vermic pointed out, every quote is a winner!

2.  Did no one want the Riven CDs?  I’m so hurt!  (Not really.  :D)  If you did, please say so!

Next up: a new miracle.

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Posted on May 15, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Absolutely agree with you on the age thing, particularly how young Angela seemed to be written (I guess that’s the helplessness of good RTC women).

    She is of course interested in a proper womanly flying machine, not one of those loud or fast ones that are men’s province. (Anyone here old enough to remember Mary Shafer on USENET?)

    There’s a reason spies and conspirators try not to meet in person…

    Paul, of course, simply didn’t care whether Jae caught him cheating. What was she going to do, leave him? HAW HAW HAW. Once he was blinded, he went instantly into Poor Me mode without stopping to clear up his mess.

  2. Is it possible that the secularists of the future have even fixed up Detroit? If so, then this society doesn’t even need miracles.

    And this space stuff makes me wonder whether among its other triumphs, Atheistopia has managed to establish any offworld colonies, and whether they’ll be exempt from the tribulation on Earth. The oceans turning to blood aren’t going to be a problem for the guy who runs the Arby’s at the Lagrange-1 waystation.

    The three clasped hands and, as the powerful bass line of the soundtrack boomed, shared a silent prayer.

    Are they at a planetarium or a Rush concert?

    • Making a space colony truly independent of Earth in the long term is very hard work. Even then you’d probably need lunar mining or something of that sort to replace resources.

      (Not much in the Revelation about the moon – it becomes “as blood” (6:12) and a third of it is smitten/darkened (8:12).)

      • Calling it right now: moon colonies being wiped out in bloody cataclysms will be a major plot event in evangelical end-times fiction in two hundred years or so.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        The Moon becoming as blood and darkened sounds like a poetic description of a lunar eclipse. Just as the Sun going black sounds like a solar eclipse. Possibly John was using images of Cosmic Catastrophe to make his point, and even in the Early Roman Empire anyone with any education knew that Solar and Lunar eclipses never occur together. So having them happen simultaneously would mean something supernatural. And since Sun and Moon were often worshipped as gods in their own right, a Jew writing this would imply that YHVH was greater than the gods of the sun and moon. (Similar to Genesis 1, where everything mentioned as created by God was worshipped as gods by the surrounding peoples.)

  3. Inquisitive Raven

    Wait, wait, “just before the turn of the century”? Does Jenkins even remember that he set up a new calendar? Or are the Christians pointedly using the old calendar amongst themselves? If the latter, why doesn’t he specify that?

  4. Redwood Rhiadra

    he or an editor accidentally put in a “six” instead of a “sixteen,”

    That would have to be Jenkins – it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have an editor.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      CELEBRITY Authors don’t need editors. Any editor who dares to edit the CELEBRITY Author ends up looking for another job. It’s the specific application of CELEBRITIES being only able to tolerate Yes-Men around them. Whether that CELEBRITY is from Entertainment, Business, Politics, or Religion.

  5. Is it just me, or is anyone else getting the feeling that Jae is not long for this world?That Straight doesn’t have to bother to say anything to Angela about Paul’s marriage because his author knows that Paul isn’t going to be married much longer? That atheist, angry, suspicious Jae will soon be conveniently removed, making way for sweet Christian Angela?

    I could be wrong, of course, But I don’t like the look of things.

    • Don’t worry. Jae is NOT going to die in any part of the trilogy.

      • Indeed. Although I had the very same suspicions the first time I heard the books.

        • Oh good. She’s the only halfway likeable character in this whole mess.

          So I suppose she’ll just get Stepfordized, then? No, don’t tell me, let me think she’ll dump Paul, take the kids, and get a good job in the atheistopian establishment. Or run off to Paris or Katmandu or someplace where no one will whine at her.

          • Replying to myself, but I always have post-Post thoughts..since Jenkins is so hung up about names, what kind of name is “Jae” supposed to be? One of the baby-name sites says it’s a Korean name meaning “respect,” but surely that can’t be it? Neither the Korean part nor the respect part sounds like our Jerry.

            Short for “Jade”? In which case, I bet it’s jade as in “a disreputable or nagging woman,” not the precious stone. (Or even “a broke-down, vicious horse”? Oh dear. Poor Jae.)

          • Probably supposed to be a “future” iteration of Jaye. Although I do keep thinking of her as being half-Korean. {wishes he could remember if her mother was named, and if so, what her name was}

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            Remember, this is Jerry Jenkins, GCAAT. His talent for naming characters is already infamous.

  6. Please please please tell me that Paul gets his conversion vision of Jesus during the in-flight movie.

    That while everybody else sees, I dunno, Julia Roberts in the bubble bath with Richard Gere, Paul is hearing “Why do you persecute Me?”

    Because that would be frakkin’ AWESOME.

    • Or even better, giant fighting robots. Because there’s not much that can’t be improved (even a Divine Vision*) with giant fighting robots.

      *this, in fact, is my chief objection to the SHOWINGS of Julian of Norwich. Insufficient car chases and explosions.

    • “We’re going to dim the lights now, folks. Tonight’s movie is The Pretender.”

  7. Sort of OT, but I found something of interest to Soon readers:

    http://www.carpsplace.com/spire/022.%20Paul.pdf

    Yes, it’s the story of Paul the Apostle, set in a near-future-type (for the 1970s) world… by Al Hartley of Archie Christian Comics fame. Jenkins: originality FAIL.

    • Hey, on the bottom of page 7, that’s — Mr. Weatherbee, no! Don’t join up with the evil dictatorship! Even though they paid for your LASIK surgery, it’s not worth it!

    • Ah… might have been worth mentioning, for those of us with not-quite-so-quick Internet connections, that it’s a 28M(i)B file. Just so y’all know.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Funny thing is, retelling the story of St Paul in a different setting (contemporary or future) is a legit premise. Like Lewis parallelling the Gospels and Revelation in Narnia, you can tell the story from a fresh POV, without the “watchful dragons” of the baggage the original Bible has built up over the years and in the reader’s experience. (Like Narnia, and this famous work called Cotton Patch Gospel that retells the Life of Christ in a rural Georgia setting contemporary with the time of writing.) So the premise is valid; it’s the execution of that premise that is badly wanting.

  8. 2010 became 1 P3. It is now May of 37 P3, or 2047.

    Actually, this is a surprisingly common basic math error. If 2010 became the new Year 0, new 37 would equal 2047, as you say. But the difference between old and new isn’t the old equivalent of new Year 1; it’s the difference between that year, and 1, i.e. 2009. So, 37 P3 would be 2046.

    Not that one year makes any difference to your actual point, of course.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Yeah, three unrelated, non-tourist adults meeting up here, when at least one of them may be tailed. Not suspicious at all.

    The Tribulation Force (TM) got away with shit like this all the time. Nothing like script immunity…

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