You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days is unashamedly and firmly in the category of Christian Fiction.  

The book begins with the sudden, unexplainable disappearance of hundreds of thousands of seemingly random people across the globe.  People disappear from their beds, from their cars (moving or otherwise), from planes flying at 40,000 feet.  They leave behind only their clothes.

Everyone has a theory.  Space aliens, technological problems, nuclear accident, sun spots.  As time goes by it becomes clear that the correct answer, though most refuse to accept it, is the Rapture.  God has come and taken his people away, and everyone else has been Left Behind.

Since all of the “proper” Christians have been taken, the characters are all atheist, agnostic, or “Sunday” Christians.  During the course of the book they move through various stages of their spiritual journey – some end up accepting God into their lives and some don’t.  I won’t tell you which are which.  I felt that the non-Christian portions of their personalities could have been developed a little more.

The book is, if you can read past the blatant attempts to convert people, an entertaining read.  The Antichrist makes an appearance and the stage is set for many disasters on the world stage.

However, it is very obvious that it was written as the first in a series, rather than the series coming later when the first book was successful.  The story ends quite abruptly, leaving me with a vague sense of disquiet and a lot of loose ends.

Despite the unfinished nature of the tale, I don’t feel any great rush to read the next one.

Two sentences have caught my eye recently.  Firstly, this:

Calculators from the approved list are only permitted in the exam room.

As it is said:  I do not think it means what you think it means.  I’m particularly impressed by the way that the emphasis makes the whole sentence just that little bit more wrong.

And secondly this:

This advice must be taken.

If it must be taken, is it advice?  Or is it an instruction?

Choosing the correct word or phrase to convey what you mean is an important part of writing – not just fiction, but in general.  The two examples were taken from documents that had been written by supposedly educated professionals, and checked several times.  I take two lessons from this.

1) Proofreading is important.

2) Even if you do proofread, you won’t catch every mistake.

 

I went to see the film adaptation of The Host, by Stephanie Meyer, at the weekend.

All in all, it was a remarkably accurate adaptation, considering what the film industry normally do to books.  I did spot a few places where the action was subtly different to the way it was described in the book, but the main plot items were all there, and all in the right order.  There were no characters missing, or extra characters, as sometimes happens.

For those who don’t know, the Earth has been invaded by body-snatching alien “Souls”, who have turned it into a paradise with no war, hunger, disease, or rude people.  The down side, of course, is that you lose control of your body, causing most people to just give up and fade away.  Melanie, one of a small group of human survivors, is captured and infested, but she resists, causing her alien companion no end of problems.  And, incidentally, being involved in a complex love-polygon in which the Soul and the Host are in love with different people.

It must be tricky to make a film adaptation of something where a large portion of the action occurs inside someone’s head, but they did very well.  The person in control of Melanie’s body always speaks out loud, with the passenger doing voice over, so you can tell who is speaking.  Their arguments are some of the best things about the film.

The characterisation worked well in both book and film, although in the film the relationship between some of the humans was not as clear as it could have been, and you don’t get to know some of the supporting characters as well.  There’s only so much you can do within a sensible film time-limit, I suppose.

I enjoyed the book more than the film; whether this is because of how the action translated to the screen or because I already knew what was going to happen when I watched the film I don’t know.  However, while I would happily read the book again (in a few years time), I’m not sure that I would bother watching the film again.

 

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 101 other followers