Soon: Chapter 28: HOLYwood Wealth

Hey, guess what???


And Ranold, the only tolerable character in this part of the story, points it out:

“You should have seen this city before you were born, Paul.  Smog so thick you wouldn’t have been able to see the houses.  Thank technology–primarily electric-powered cars and trucks–for cleaning that up.”

Let’s just add it to the list of things cured in Atheistopia: cancer, homelessness, pollution…

Oh, Atheistopia, will you ever stop being awesome?  *swoon*

A recurrent theme rears its ugly head once again, here in L.A.: Paul’s all-c0nsuming jealousy of anyone who has more than he does.

It’s pretty fascinating to compare other works on the LaHaye and Jenkins booklist.  As we see over at the excellent Apocalypse Review, LaHaye hero Joshua Jordan just can’t live without his creature comforts.  And when I say “comfort,” I really mean it: two homes (one a Manhattan penthouse and one a mansion in the Rockies), a private jet, and a luxury hotel triplex even when he is hiding from federal agents.

Paul Stepola isn’t so lucky.  He’s a middle-class guy pulling down a government salary.  He’s plenty comfortable–owns a house and his wife can afford to stay home with the kids, and his job involves some awesome travelling all over the world, but for Paul, it’s always about what he doesn’t have.  Arthur Demetrius has a huge office.  Donny Johnson has a limo and wears custom-made suits.  And those are nothing compared with Paul’s downright obsessive jealousy of studio chief Tiny Allendo and all he has. 

It’s almost enough to make Michael Murphy seem likeable.  Sure, he’s a pompous blowhard, but I can somehow imagine Mikey being quite comfortable on an old Barcalounger, drinking cheap beer and eating chip dip with a spoon.

Here are only a few of the reasons why Paul should be jealous of Tiny: Tiny is five inches taller than Paul.  He dresses in the latest style, owns a hugemongous mansion, has a staff of dozens.

The marble-and-stucco home was the most lavish Paul had ever seen.  Everything was sleek and ultramodern…

Hey!  Just like New York City!

…and custom-made, from the furniture to the draperies and linens.

Seriously?  Paul knows enough about draperies and linens to know if they’re custom-made?  I feel like he would consider that “girl stuff.”

Paul’s private bath was as large as his living room at home.

Paul, it’s not always all about you

Tiny also has a pool, natch, and there are always hot chicks frolicking in it.  And Paul’s big first decision of this mission is whether to wear casual clothes or businesswear to the poolside lunch.

But the worst thing, the thing that really drives Paul up a wall, is the gold fountain outside Tiny’s house, that sprays water one hundred feet into the air.

More on that fountain is coming up.

And next time, what movie would you like to “interact with” in Atheistopia?

Posted on January 16, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. “But the worst thing, the thing that really drives Paul up a wall, is the gold fountain outside Tiny’s house, that sprays water one hundred feet into the air.”

    Oh, God. Can we “phallic symbol”? Gah, Jenkins, what is it with your obsessions with all things remotely Manly? (On the other hand, given his history of writing things like “a fully loaded 747” and making sure his heroes are never under 6 feet, yet considers a house full of frilly knickknacks “cozy” and can apparently identify custom-made draperies by sight . . . can we say “overcompensating”?)

    Re: movies. Oooooh, tough question! Depends on who I’m with. “Lord of the Rings” would be pretty spectacular, awesome visuals, gorgeous dress for me to wear 😀 But does it have to be a movie? ’cause right now I’m really into the TV show “Sherlock” and to be able to interact with those characters . . . *siiiiiiiiiiiigh*&

    • *gigglesnorts* I didn’t even see the… um, phallicity of the item until you mentioned it. 😛 And Jenkins overcompensating seems to be common throughout the series. At one point the Trib Force get these super-expensive, like, $5000 laptops. O.o

  2. It’s very often about the height, with Jenkins. Anyone know how tall he is?

    • A cursory glance at Google does not reveal the answer. However, I found this pic earlier, in which he looks tallish, at least to my eyes:

      Rayford is 6’4″
      Joshua is…um, I’m not sure. Pius?
      Michael Murphy is 6’3″
      Paul is 6’3″

      But sometimes the villains are tall, too. Bia Balaam is a very unfeminine height, almost as tall as Paul. And new villain Tiny Allendo is 6’8″ (DAY-umm).

      • “Forty-three, square shouldered, athletic, and dressed in an expensive Italian suit” – our first intro to Josh Jordan.

        Doesn’t say how tall he is but I’d be floored to find out he’s less than 6 feet tall.

        • I’d be astonished if he was under 6’3″. That seems like the LaJenkinsian standard. (Rayford gets to be even taller because he is bestest.)

          Also, I picture Abby as a taller woman, but I admit I have no basis for that other than my own imagination. Seems like the gold-standard LaJenkinsian woman is a petite blonde (Chloe, Hattie, Angela) and the next-best is tall and statuesque (Jae, Amanda (I think), Abby-in-my-mind).

  3. An interactive art film would be hilarious. I vote for Derek Jarman’s “Blue” (

  4. I was going to suggest “My Dinner with Andre”, but I may have to bow to “Blue” as the superior choice.

  5. I’m sorry but “marble-and-stucco” and “sleek and ultramodern” just do not go together. I mean yes I’m sure it’s possible to make a sleek stucco exterior but the images that those two phrases SHOULD be short hand for do not work.

    I’m reminded on Nicky being classy and understated in his pinstripe suit, diamond rings and gold chains.

  6. I’m afraid I haven’t seen many movies– well, besides kids’ ones. My parents have brought home every kids’ movie ever made. The Lion King would be a great Atheistopian interactive movie, though, because I doubt Jenkins has noticed the Christian motifs.

    Also, while I was thinking about movies I decided this whole book has been Straight’s experience with a highly customizable interactive adventure set in an Inception-esque universe, one where people can share dreams and use them to steal information from someone’s brain, or plant it there.The world hasn’t actually outlawed religion by the time interactive movie technology’s available– this particular game just fulfills that persecution fantasy RTCs are so attatched to. As far as Straight knows, Paul’s just the NPC whose dreams his character has to sneak into. And, being an RTC playing a game for RTCs, he plants RTC-ianity into the NPC’s brain and makes him think he came up with it himself. And, because this game was made by and for RTCs, of course it’s a (near-)perfect allegory for the story of that other Paul (near because what, you want the developers to actually look in the Bible and make sure things match up?) And of course everyone thinks in Christianese.

    Thing is, the real world that contains Straight and the game has a lot in common with the Tron universe and the Inkheart one; the characters aren’t quite as under the writers’ control as the players have been led to believe, and the world of the game has its own opinions on things….

    (So that was what I thought about in band class today. It’d have to be a more interesting story than Left Behind, at any rate.)

  7. So the guy named Tiny is rather tall. I wonder what does it tell us about Straight…

  8. The thing is, we already have interactive movies. They’re called “video games.” You interact with the movie world and guide the character through their adventures, able to determine which of a set of possible endings the story has.

    Or is it supposed to be like touch-o-vision or something or something where you experience the movie with more than just your eyes and ears? Wouldn’t they have to matrix the movie into your head for that to work? And if they have direct-to-brain movies, why not use brain-internet instead of skull phones? What tech level are we at here?

    And I’m with Grammar police, I want to interact with Sherlock. And steal his virtual coat out of the “interactive movie” and WEAR IT.

    • The kind of video games you mention in the first paragraph sounds like visual novels, which are basically animated choose-your-own-adventure books. In the fine tradition of such literature, they include endings of horrible failure. The thought of a movie where you could get the protagonist blown up if such amused you has a certain charm.

  9. But of course Paul knows all about drapes and linens. If he didn’t, he’d have no way of telling which were most expensive and therefore a sign of superiority.

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