"Now you see me, now you... nuts!"
~ Pat Robertson on Left Behind
“Where is everyone?”
Left Behind is the most popular book series ever photocopied at Kinko's. Within the first week of its publication, the charts of most popular books ever sold looked like this:
- Left Behind (Books 1-18)
- The Bible (Vol. 1-3, The Testament, The New Testament, The New-New Testament)
- Pilgrim's Progress
- Harry Potter (Vol 1-3, Harry Potter and the Thing, Harry Potter and the Other Thing, Harry Potter and the Weary Plot Device)
The Amazing God-Inspired Story of the Creation of Left Behind
Jerry and Tim, biblical literalists, decided one day that they could make an assload of money by writing a book about the end of the world. Instead they wrote a bunch of books about the end of the world. As long as people keep buying them they'll keep writing more books about the end of the world.
They're cool like that.
The Many, Many Books of the Left Behind Series
All True Christians ™ are magik'd away and it's up to those Christians Left Behind, the ones that weren't smart enough to worship the correct version of the One True God (patent pending) to mend their unpious ways. They do this by saving people or killing them. Saving people is hard so, for the most part they kill them and let God sort them out, thus readying the world for the return of a little known man named J.C.. Jesus Christ (Prince of Peace, Son of God-Men, The Big J, etc.) won't come back until all of the Jews, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists and other have either converted to Protestant fundamentalism or been killed, apparently.
In short, the books have no plot. Still, there are eighteen of them (so far), and they've sold a lot of copies, plus they're the books most commonly stolen from libraries (as the thieves don't plan on coming back), so they must be good. Things that are popular are good, right?
Individual Synopsises' of Each and Every Book in the Series
All of the books have this cover, only the title changes with each new novel. Even the text inside is the same. Righteous disappear... Anti-christ...God's loving wrath...killing most Buddhists/Atheist/etc and converting the survivors to militant Protestantism...Jesus returns. Lather, rinse, repeat.
All of these books have things called <airquotes>characters</airquotes>. While most other books use characters that interact with other characters and the environment around them, thus growing and maturing as human beings "Left Behind" uses characters as cardboard stickmen (or stickboard cardmen) to illustrate two really complex concepts, good and evil.
Those Christians that weren't Christian enough to be lifted up in the rapture fight to save others, or just fight others, are good. To keep it simple all of these people are named Steele.
Everyone else is either sitting around waiting to be converted to good, or they are evil. The evil ones are named Nicolae Carpathia. The authors got the name from the Carpathian mountains, which are a mountain range, an evil mountain range. If they were a good set of mountains they'd be the Steele mountains. Nicolae (evil!) is from Romania: the Carpathian mountain range (evil!) starts in Romania. If you understand this you'll be able to follow the black and white cookie-cutter world of the books.
Leave your brain at the door. You won't be needing it.
Book 1: Left Behind
- Israel is attacked (totally fictional as no one ever attacks Israel) but the attacks are thwarted by God, who destroys the invaders (totally true as God promised to protect the Israelites and has never, ever let bad shit happen to His chosen tribe. Except when 24 is on, that's His "me" time. God watches 24 a lot.)
- God majiks away the True Christians™
- Due to an ion storm, several of those beamed up during the Rapture become "evil Captain Kirk".
- Rayford Steele and Chloe Steele realize that the Rapture is occurring.
- Nicolae Carpathia (Saint Nick to his friends) grabs power through the U.N. (totally true as the U.N. is the lynchpin to unspeakable power) and renames it the Global Community.
- Rayford Steele converts to militant Protestantism, too late to go with the raptured. Pity. This means we're stuck with him for at least 10,000 more pages.
- Bruce Barns, a pastor, converts too, as Baptists obviously are heretics that worship a totally wrong God. He also changes his name to Steele Steele, just to fit in.
- Together the Steeles join together to form the Tribulation Saints.
- Cameron "Buck" Williams joins them for some reason. He then changes his name to Cameron "Buck" Steele.
- Religion Wiped Out: Pastafarianism
- The Saints decide that Nicolae is the Anti-christ, as the New Testament says specifically that, "...And the Anti-Christ, Nicolae Carpathia, shall rise from Romania to grab power in the U.N.". It's there somewhere, apparently. As well as a bunch of shit about being kind and taking care of the poor (but you can ignore those parts, most do. True Christians™, vis-a-vis Protestants, get into heaven based on grace and faith, rather than grace, faith and good deeds. Which is kind of fucked up, if you think about it. Actually it's fucked up even if you don't think about it. Of course, if you've made it this far into the series you don't think at all, so just continue to do what Jerry Falwell tells you to do. He knows what God wants.)
- Nicolae misquotes rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah. The rabbi is Jewish, for some reason. Don't worry, since he has a name, he'll convert to worship the one and only version of the one true God.
- Buck Williams (ne Buck Steele) flies to the Middle East to talk to rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah about his being misquoted. Buck is so righteous that he accidentally converts the rabbi. Ex-rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah starts spreading the True Word of God™, the word consisting primarily of just how wrong the Jews are about Jesus. Then he goes to see "The Passion", because that's what good sheep do.
- Nicolae gets promoted to Supreme Potentate, the most awesome D&D level ever. He also gets to roll solid 20s on d20 almost all the freakin' time!
- He hires Rayford Steele to be his pilot, as all the pilots that aren't his nemesis got majik'd away in Book 1. Rayford is his nemesis by the way. Jesus doesn't enter the picture until Book 18.
- Nick initiates WWIII. Yes, he's that powerful! You just try and stop the friggin' anti-Christ after he's been promoted to Supreme Potentate, is wearing his Cloak of Cloaking +4 and is armed with a Mace of Sharpness!
- Religion wiped out: Mormonism
Book 3: Nicolae
- Steele Steele (ne Bruce Barns) dies.
- Nicolae visits Boston, renames it New Babylon and makes it the world capital. In a totally unexpected twist he breaks ground (and wind) on a tower there. In Babylon! A tower! He also buys the Boston (ne New Babylon) Red Sox, because he loves cheater baseball.
- The other Steeles temporarily change their names to Steele Steele, in honor of the late Steele Steele. Even Nicolae changes his name, which makes the middle third of this book extremely hard to read. The first and last third are hard to read too, but that's because they suck, rather than because of the name fiasco.
- Steele Steele steels his nerves (of steel) and steals some steel from a steelyard.
- Rayford Steele goes to Steele Steele's funeral, mourns, then returns to New Babylon, fearing that he forgot to program his Tivo to record Remington Steele.
- The sun goes dark, the moon turns blood-red, and meteors fall from the sky...yada yada yada...earthquake starts...yada yada yada.
- 25% of mankind dies.
- Chloe and Buck hook up, becoming Mr. and Mrs. Buck Steele. She, with the sanctity of marriage, promptly gets knocked up. Saucy beast...
- Global Community falls apart. Nick is fine, having rolled an 18 on his save vs Act of God.
- Religion wiped out: Agnosticism
Book 4: Soul Harvest
- Earthquake finishes.
- 25% of mankind still dead.
- New True Christians™ get a mark on their foreheads that only New True Christians™ can see. The mark says, "Best Before: Jan 2010".
- It starts hailing.
- Religion wiped out: Catholicism, Lutheranism, and other non right-wing extremist Christian faiths.
Book 5: Apollonia
- Prince's "Purple Rain" sidekick has a cameo as "Person in line at store".
- Scorpion-Locusts appear. They have human faces, which is just spooky.
- Bad mojo continues.
- Chloe has a baby. Awww. Nothing says apocalypse like new baby.
- She calls her baby Kenneth Williams Steele, after the Carry On Films star.
- Religion wiped out: Shintoism
Book 6: Assassins
- Nicolae rebuilds the world, setting the stage for him to become the head of a new world religion. Nick plans to make it a Monotheistic religion prone to schisms and one that's intolerant of other religions, which is a completely new and original idea. The other mideast based monotheistic religions wish that they had thought of it first. Which they did.
- Two assassins, Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas, try to kill Julianne Moore in this taut action-thriller.
- They accidentally kill Nicolae instead.
- Nicolae is supposedly shot from the 3rd floor of the Texas Book Depository. Watch and you'll see....his head goes up, and to the left...up, and to the left....up, and to the left.
- Yada yada yada...on to the next book...
- Religion wiped out: Islam
Book 7: The Indwelling
- Nicolae, now dead, becomes a false idol for a new world religion.
- Some bratty boy with bad hair wins American Idol, angering God because he wanted the bratty girl with bad hair to win.
- Chloe kills her baby to prevent Junior's defection to the dark side. Awww. Nothing says apocalypse like killing a baby.
- More shit happens.
- The first half of the seven year tribulation ends, hurrah!
- Religion wiped out: Hinduism
Book 8: The Mark
- Nick Carpathia rises from the dead and names his new religion Carpathianism for some unknown reason. As an intolerant monotheistic religion based on paranoia and ancient tribal hatreds and ignorance, Judaism, Christianity or Islam would have been much better names. FSM, being completely made up (versus being almost entirely made up) would have been the best, but his noodly appendage was unable to touch Nicolae. Pity.
- He makes a friggin' big statue that belches flames and demands obedience (seriously!). People obey, because it's a friggin' big statue that belches flames and demands obedience!
- Followers of this false idol are branded with The Mark, unfollowers lose their heads (literally!).
- The Tribulation Saints face off against Doctor Octopus, foiling his plan to break into Nicolae's vault and steal Nick's gold.
- Religions wiped out: Buddhism and Atheism in a one-two punch
Book 9: Desecration
- Those that bear the Mark get herpes.
- Nicolae leaves New Babylon for a vacation in Jerusalem, where he declares himself to be God. God is not amused. God is rarely amused.
- Having set the tribulation in motion four years earlier God sits back and does nothing. He does nothing a lot. After all, there's 500 goddamned channels on T.V.. Do you have any idea how much of an infinite God it takes to watch 500 channels simultaneously? 24 might be on. God digs the pointy eyebrowed broad with the cleft chin, and who can blame Him? She's adorable!
- Religion wiped out: Sikhism
Book 10: The Remnant
- Believers in mid-tribulation rapture gather together to wait for Jesus to take them away, even though the rapture has already occurred. Mid-tribs aren't all that smart, apparently. Even the post-millennialists clued in when the righteous got majik'd away in book 1.
Book 11: Armageddon
- The Tribulation Force meets in Har Megiddo for a Def Leppard concert. "Armageddon'it" is the only song they are allowed to play. Still, they rock hard, what with the distractions of the end of the world and all.
- The Four Horsemen appear on Earth and do that voodoo that they do so well
- More bad shit happens. The only people left alive are those named Steele Steele. All three of them.
- Religion wiped out: Rastafarianism, as the world has now run out of pot!
Book 12ish: Bloodlust
- The first book to be added to the canon after the completion of the original series, Bloodlust is a recap of the first eleven books in the series, told with shadow-puppet pictures.
- Introduces Taahgaarxians, giant sinner-consuming winged anteaters with lobster claws that look just like anteaters. Except they eat sinners instead of ants and they're giant.
Book 12: Glorious Appearing
- Jesus comes back.
- There is a world wide election. Florida fucks up...again! Carpathia holds on to the hope that dimpled chads in Dade county will give him the win.
- The anti-Christ loses the election to Jesus, who becomes-head-of the-world and God's word on Earth.
- Jesus says something.
- The three remaining Steeles bicker about what Jesus said, what He meant by what He said and what they should do with what He said. Eventually all three Steeles have a schism, splitting into three sects.
- War breaks out between the three sects, each accusing the others of heresy and each promoting itself as the one true religion.
- Jesus weeps. Again. He packs his bags, moves as far away as He can from the bickering remnants of man, and spends the next thousand years drunk on a beach.
Book 13: Kingdom Come
- Billions of followers of TIL (The Insane Light) gather to kill Jesus. The battle is over in 0.00000000325268 of a second (we couldn't get it exactly right; Steele Steele (no, not the Steele Steele one, the other Steele Steele) was too stupid). How nice of God.
- A Kingdom comes.
- People cry.
- Fortunately, Satan is illiterate. If he could read, and read these books, he'd figure out what NOT to do to get cast into the Lake of Fire. He also doesn't get the "Inspiration Channel" in Hell, preventing him from learning about it from Kirk Cameron and his classic series of movies.
- Also, while "...even the devil can quote scripture", apparently he doesn't actually understand scripture. Which makes him just like the rest of us. Except for the pitchfork.
Spinoffs and Related Products
- Left Behind: The Prequel Trilogy, a series of books that sets up the series of books that sets up the end of the world.
- Left Behind: The Video Game
- Apocalypso, music inspired by the novels
- Apocalopoly, the official board game
- Left Behind: A Rock Opera, a musical opening soon in a red state near you
- Left Behind-Oh's, a breakfast cereal
- The Amazing Pop-up Left Behind, a child friendly version of the books where the sex, suffering and violence are replaced by violence, suffering and violence
- Steele Steele Jimmy-Jams, footy pajamas
- Left Behind Special Edition Bibles. In order to fit it all into a mere 15,000 pages most of the New Testament had to be cut (only the last book survived). Heresy and bad taste rolled into one big, big book. Marketed as, "Suitable for use beating the sin out of your kids!"
- Left Behind: The Rapturing, a collectible card game
- Tribulation Snax, a food-like petroleum byproduct
- Events described in the Left Behind books depict actual events.
- Movies based on the Left Behind series are used as the main educational material at the Jesus Camp. Oh, and they star Kirk Cameron, cause he's in like....every single religious movie ever made.
- ^ ...for Jesus.
- ^ ...until the Rapture, that is.
- ^ This is one of the few times that God steps in to lend a hand in wiping out most of his favorite creation. Not only does He use some of His valuable infiniteness to sort out sinner from
sinnersaint in Heaven, but He has enough time left over to send plagues of baddy-badness down to Earth. This badness culls the human herd, as it were, and these dead go up to Heaven to get sorted before being sent to Hell. He's bureaucrat, judge, jury, and executioner. Also He's executioner, executioner and executioner, which must be tough as He's so just and loving. It has been said that He cries Himself to sleep every night, He does.
- ^ But they're still better than Tom Clancy.
- ^ Protestants are the only ones who interpret the Bible correctly, obviously, but the editors on this so-called encyclopedia have the nerve to call it "f*cked up"! Can you believe it? Must be Catholic. Pricks.
- ^ Rather than Hebrews being members of a religion that predates Christianity, and of a culture with its own language and history, "Left Behind" tells us that Jews are just Christians that haven't found Christ yet. Much simpler. The world is so much easier when everything is black or white, don't you think?
- ^ Oddly no one seems to notice that, according to the Old Testament, the messiah should be named Immanuel (Isa 7:14), rather than Jesus Christ. Odd, that. It must've been a translation error, otherwise it means that either the Old Testament or the New Testament are <gasp> fiction!
- ^ That'll teach them for making up a fictional book about the return of Jesus!
- ^ Next time around maybe they'll have the balls to make a decision...
- ^ Who doesn't believe in God now?
- ^ The bad mark from Nicolae, not the good one from the Anti-Anti-Christ, who has yet to make an appearance.
- ^ If you want to keep track of these things the last book in the Bible is an excellent, inerrant and easy to read resource. In fact it's the only resource. So, to catch up, 25% of mankind is killed by Death and Hell (Rev 6:8) (the Horseman Death, not the regular kind of death. The regular kind is fatal too, but not mounted). 200 million fire breathing horseman kill 33% of the remaining sinners (Rev 9:15-18). In total these 200,000,002 horsemen wipe out half of the earth's population, meaning each one kills about 16 people. If that isn't an example of a just and loving God, then what good is the Bible, anyway?
- ^ ...and they have wings and lobster claws, just like they did in an early, yet-unearthed copy of the Bible.
- ^ Like the Star Wars prequels these books really suck. Unlike Star Wars, however, the postquels aren't any better.
- Reasons not to be a devout Christian
- Reasons to become an atheist
- His dark materials