|One of our many|
|Also on our shelf:|
“”This darkness is of the Lord. Can you not feel it?
|—Chaim Rosenzweig, Glorious Appearing|
The Left Behind books are a series of apocalyptic novels written by evangelical Christian activist Timothy LaHaye and writer Jerry Jenkins. The series attempts to portray the End Times from a premillennialist dispensationalist perspective and is often lumped in with science fiction novels, though this is an inaccurate categorisation. It has become a wildly successful franchise since the launch of the first book in 1995 and has spawned a series of children's novels, prequels, sequels, movies and two rather odd computer games. However, they are among the worst novels ever written - the series has mostly served to line the authors' pockets with cash, and line the readers' minds with Rapture-based fluff.
Until Left Behind was published, the longest, most overblown, and worst "this is fiction but it REALLY ISN'T -- this is really our world on the brink!" series ever written was L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth series. However, Christian End Times ranters were appalled at the thought that they could be outdone by Scientology, and so Timothy LaHaye teamed up with an actual author, Jerry Jenkins, to churn out an even BIGGER, LONGER, MORE BORING and FAR MORE UNBELIEVABLE series that seemed to drag on forever without ending. This, of course, made the series a super best-seller. It sold millions of copies worldwide.
 The Original Series
- Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (1995)
- Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind (1996)
- Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist (1997)
- Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides (1999)
- Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed (1999)
- Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist (1999)
- The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession (2000)
- The Mark: The Beast Rules the World (2000)
- Desecration: Antichrist Takes the Throne (2001)
- The Remnant: On the Brink of Armageddon (2002)
- Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages (2003)
- Glorious Appearing: The End of Days (2004)
- The Rising: Antichrist is Born: Before They Were Left Behind (2005)
- The Regime: Evil Advances: Before They Were Left Behind #2 (2005)
- The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye: Countdown to Earth's Last Days #3 (2006)
 The Epilogue
- Kingdom Come: The Final Victory (2007)
 The Spin-Off Series
- Left Behind: Apocalypse (written by Mel Odom) -- 4 books
- Left Behind: End of State (written by Nessa Hart) -- 3 books
- Left Behind: The Kids (written by Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins and Chris Fabry) -- 40 (forty!) books
 The End -- The New End Times Series
- Edge of Apocalypse (2010)
- Thunder of Heaven (2011)
- Brink of Chaos (2012)
...talk about milking the cash cow dry!
The Left Behind series includes three films. Kirk Cameron is the lead actor in the series - which says everything you need to know, really. The entire idea behind the films was parodied in The Simpsons when Homer watched an apocalyptic movie called Left Below - you know, people will have watched that episode thinking "what a shit movie, I'm glad they don't make stuff like that in real life". Grace Hill Media was the PR firm behind the movies.
 Left Behind - The Movie
Left Behind - The Movie was released in September 2000. It was almost universally panned, with only 14% Fresh reviews at RottenTomatoes, and 15% Fresh from the Cream of the Crop. During the airplane scene—the entire flight crew is raptured: what are the odds of that? This is likely based around an urban legend that airlines won't allow Christian or evangelical pilots in case such as situation happens for real. Also, look for a corpulent, bespectacled, balding white guy - that's John Hagee in a cameo.
 Left Behind II: Tribulation Force
The second film was released direct to DVD in 2002. It was generally ignored; only 2 ratings of 6 on RottenTomatoes were Fresh. The second movie focuses on what happens after the Rapture, and the rise of a so-called antichrist, who just so happens to be head of the most hated organization in the right-wing fundie world: the United Nations.
 Left Behind: World at War
The third film was released on DVD on October 25, 2005 after being given premiers in Churches - an interesting way of avoiding the "direct-to-video" smear, at least. The movie is based on the last two chapters (50 pages or so) of the novel Tribulation Force and gets even weirder than the previous films. It was given even less attention than the second; only two reviews are listed on RottenTomatoes.
Oh, come on, you knew this was coming. This is Hollywood we're talking about here. Their real politics are all about the almighty dollar. If they see a source of money, even if that source is a bunch of fundamentalist kooks, they're gonna go for it. So of course, they've got a reboot of the Left Behind movies in the works. The star? None other than Nicolas Cage. Why? It's Nicolas effing Cage, is there any role that one would be genuinely surprised at him taking at this point?
 Left Behind: Eternal Forces
On November 7, 2006, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a real-time military-simulation strategy game for PC, was released by Left Behind Games. The game received generally negative reviews, with an average rating of 45% on gamerankings.com. The general concept of the game was relatively warmly received, but the majority of the criticisms came from the execution of that concept, including numerous bugs, badly coded AI, poor graphics and the tendency of the game to want to push religious pseudoscience down your throat and sell you religiously themed products. The gameplay is solely about simply killing all unbelievers rather than trying to convert them as a valid way to win. One can play through the entire game without converting a single person and win by slaughtering men, woman and children civilians as well as peaceful, heavily-armed U.N. workers and peacekeepers who are simply trying to spread aid. Three sequels were recently released, with effectively no hype or fanfare whatsoever, and seem to be simply more of the same with the latest including full-motion video clips. The Hutaree Christian terrorist group was found to have multiple copies of the original game in their possession.
In a funny twist, the multiplayer let you play as the "Global Community" AKA The Armies of the Anti-Christ. In another funny twist, they were far and away overpowered compared to the Tribulation Force. (The unraptured Christians... what?)
 Blogging Left Behind
Slacktivist (Fred Clark), a liberal evangelical blogger, became something of a minor hero by going through the whole book, page by page, and writing an exhaustive commentary on the theology, underlying ethics, and awful writing. He is presently up to the third book, Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, and his archive is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.
 Left Behind Wiki
The 'Left Behind Wiki is the wikia-based wiki dedicated to the book and movie series, touting itself as the "Only free to edit encyclopedia on the series". It has articles on locations, plots and characters—which there are millions of.
From their main page - on May 10 2009:
“”The new year of 2009 is coming very soon, and us [sic] at the Left Behind Wiki are very excited. And not just because it's a new year! Some exciting changes are going to be happening here in the month of January and the rest of next year. For a sneak preview of what's gonna happen, click here!!
UPDATE: Two of the things on the changes list has [sic] been completed! Tell us what you think of the new logo and this new main page on Jonathan W.'s talk page.
But the contributors don't rest on their laurels - they have chosen the Featured User of October 2009... still proudly displayed on the site as of 17 February 2013. Oops.
We rest our case.
 What is going on at Left Behind Wiki?
Not a lot. However, the wiki is still active, getting a handful of edits each month.
 See also
- ↑ This ain’t science fiction, Fred Clark.
- ↑ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/left_behind/
- ↑ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/left_behind_ii_tribulation_force/
- ↑ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/left_behind_world_at_war/
- ↑ IMDb: Left Behind (2014)
- ↑ Williams, Mary Elizabeth. "Holy Rapture! Nicolas Cage gets 'Left Behind'." Salon, 22 Oct. 2012.
- ↑ Besides, he's already done one movie that's pretty much Left Behind, but with aliens instead of angels.
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/928956.asp?q=Left%20Behind
- ↑ http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/745/745956p1.html
- ↑ http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/left-behind-eternal-forces/749748p1.html
- ↑ http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/leftbehindeternalforces/review.html
- ↑ http://arstechnica.com/reviews/games/leftbehind.ars
- ↑ http://compactiongames.about.com/od/reviews/fr/leftbehind_rev.htm
- ↑ http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/commentary/games/2006/11/72071
- ↑ Wired.com review, can't be bothered to look it up at nearly 2 in the morning.
- ↑ That, or it simply encourages believers to sing in front of soldiers who are shooting at the believers,
in an attempt to kill themselvesin order to convert the soldiers (I actually played the game that far!).
- ↑ Tim LaHaye's Apocalyptic Dreams Hits Pay-dirt With the Alleged Cop-Killing Plan of Michigan Militia
- ↑ The Hutaree Militia and the 'Left Behind' Video Games
- ↑ Is the Hutaree Militia the Final Word in Lunacy–or Just the Beginning?
- ↑ There are now hundreds of these posts, organised into index pages of 50 each. These can be found at the following links: I, II, III, IV, V, VI (updated Feb '13.)