Rapture is coming; it's not quite here yet, but it's coming. In the meantime, we're treated to a surrealist telling of an absurdist apocalypse in the form of daily journals kept by sixteen-year-old Jordan Dooling. While we may not have salvation yet, we do have endless zombies, ferocious creatures who seem to have been ripped straight from creepypasta, an eldritch universe bleeding its way into our own through floating "Doors," The Blues Brothers that can create entire worlds inside your own head, politics thrown out every window possible, a being that will either control you or abuse you in ways you'll really wish weren't possible, boomboxes on legs that blast dubstep and viking metal endlessly to a dying world, a large slew of gods that can't agree on anything but want to hide it the best they can, a man-sized cockroach with Jesus Christ's head, and we may or may not have the slender man, too.OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING is an apocalyptic novel written by DJay32 told through an experimental stream-of-consciousness journal style. It features young Jordan as he uses this opportunity to possibly meet his online friends for the very first time all while struggling to make heads or tails of this rather ridiculous rite of salvation slowly coming into play. The story has received fairly polarizing reception: the experimental style and the unsettling events are not everyone's cup of tea, but those who trudge their way through the fire and flames seem to really enjoy the experience. The logs are primarily a story for The Fear Mythos, but it's theoretically accessible to anyone.The epic takes place from 11:59 PM on May 20th, 2011, and it finishes on the morning of October 23rd, 2011. It spans an overture, four acts, an intermission, and an epilog.You can find the story here, and there's a really convenient table of contents here. You can now download them in a free PDF here! The Rapture Logs have complementing art by Amelia, Cadet, darkforestwarrior, Logic, Rappu, The Visitor, and Wiratomkinder. There's also a a character sheet.There is now a sequel blog called The Cockroach Metamorphosis.
So open up that notebook; let’s find out what Jordan wrote next.
— The intermission, "No Rest for the Rest of Us"
Tropes present in the story include:
Action Girl: The logs generally fixate on badass women as a result of the narrator's narrow obsessive mind.
Aerith and Bob: Among the names of eldritch creatures, we have "Tiresias," "Salmacis," "Xanadu," "The Ecclesiarchway," and.. "Cockroach Jesus."
In Act IV, we're given two legendary characters who prefer to go by the names of Vainamoinen and Bob.
Alternate History: What the world would have succumbed to had Harold Camping's May 21st 2011 Rapture prediction actually come true.
Analogy Backfire: "It’s like being assfucked by a dominant female angel. In the ears. Note to self: Figure out how it’s possible to be assfucked in the ear."
And Zoidberg: Jordan often forgets about Anna when considering important decisions. Lampshaded when Donnie gets hurt: "I need to find Fentzy and Bones. They can help. And Anna. Right. And Anna." This later comes back to haunt him.
Anti-Villain: There are arguably no villains in the logs, only victims and assholes with rational intentions.
Arc Number: Eight and five, while originally strictly a Dream Theater reference, wound up being one of the bindings of the whole story.
INDISEN. Jordan thinks he finds out what it is in "Rael's Exodus," but "The Battle of Dominiere" starts to turn that on its head. "Obfuscation" only distorts it more, and then "Topography Genera" lifts the wool over his eyes... only for Act IV to have him question the details again and again.
''Obfuscation," introduced with The Musicians in Act II, increases in significance throughout the logs.
"DRAW A STAIRWAY FOR MY GOD AND ASSEMBLE ALL MY FAITH."
The word "eldritch" comes up frequently, almost as if it has some deeper meaning.
"What did Doctor Cloud discover in the Genera?" is a question often asked by The Neonate of Act IV.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Becoming supernatural or "eldritch" and what that actually means are significant motifs in the story, especially towards the end. Doctor Cloud's experiments cause him to become a reality-breaking monster called The Anathema. Rosa Syclus becomes The Harlequin by means revealed to be The Ecclesiarchway. And at some point, Bones becomes a god named Thoth. The Neonate of Act IV spend a lot of time debating what it actually means to be a 'Fear,' and an answer isn't explicitly given.
Author Avatar: A complete author deconstruction and attempt at a reconstruction, as a matter of fact.
Badass in a Nice Suit: Nice suits show up a lot in the story, for whatever reason. Maybe people figure the end of the world is no excuse not to look sharp.
Bears Are Bad News: The very existence of the Eldritch Bear is because of this trope: It was written into the first log as literally just a bear that was also indescribably not a bear, to make fun of this trope. Wound up being played straight as the story went on.
Berserk Button: As dysfunctional relationships and abusive people get a focus in the story, these pop up quite a bit.
Big Bad: There are multiple villains throughout the blog and its sequel, and many appear more prominent than others in certain Acts. The main one is built up to be The Beast, who manipulates things in the background from very early days.
Act I gives us The Harlequin for the first half, running the show.
Act II has The Ecclesiarchway and The Musicians, though The Musicians are more of The Dragon.
Act III revolves around the seemingly-incompetent "new Fears" of The Neonate, and the mysterious actions of The Anathema who seems to be behind their arrival.
Act IV focuses on the "new new Fears," their odd philosophies and perspectives on things, and the reasons why they're here all of a sudden. The Beast actually stops being a Big Bad here and becomes a sort of protagonist working against the Bigger Bad that is Rapture itself. And then The Ecclesiarchway just plain plays with the concept of the trope, as he wants to be a Big Bad.
Act IV: Pirkle Vainamoinen sacrifices himself to the Mire of the Drowning Mermaid so the protagonists can prevent the third Beacon from being delivered and protect Salmacis. Not even a week later, when Bob Sampo is captured by Queen Louhi, Pirkle comes to the rescue, implied having killed the Drowning Mermaid... and subsequently killing Salmacis in the process.
Anna was tortured horribly by the Fears, becoming an Axe Crazy girl with a lack of restraint. And she talks about the sweet smell of blood a lot. But whether she's truly crazy or just Obfuscating Insanity, it's hard to know.
Act IV: Pirkle Vainamoinen often says peculiar things with little context or much in terms of explanation.
Companion Cube: Tiger Stripes. As long as Jordan has his guitar, he refuses to let go of it and speaks to it often.
Darker and Edgier: The opening logs focus almost entirely on the comedy. The logs following it are also very comedic! And then the protagonists reach Blackpool, and we're treated to a few quiet and stagnant entries with some comedy thrown in. And then comes the troper meet-up, and the story just goes downhill from there.
The first half of the apocalypse in general is fairly lighthearted, with Jordan generally taking things in stride and cracking jokes. By the time he's had two and a half months of it, though, it seriously wears on him and the logs increase significantly in length and angst.
Deus ex Machina: In the opening log, Jordan is completely prepared for the end of the world at 11 PM. And then, at 11, his guitar controller falls from the sky. A literal gift from the gods in an otherwise-atheist tale.
Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: August 13th, Jordan runs into The Ecclesiarchway, controller of all the zombies, and one of the smartest and most formidable eldritch abominations the universe has ever seen. And they have a dance-off.
This is arguably one of the defining tropes of the story. At least half of the eldritch abominations depicted in the story are in, at minimum, an uneasy truce with the human protagonists with some, like Tiresias and Salmacis, in open alliance. Even those typically depicted as a real threat (the Ecclesiarchway, the Harlequin) can be quite accommodating under the right circumstances, at least to the heroes. They don't appear to be nearly so gracious to anyone other than the heroes, though.
Act IV: The Beast finally makes his menacing presence known, towering over the protagonists in ways they can't even comprehend, threatening to slaughter the whole party and regain control over the world, so naturally this leads right into... a Guitar Hero duel.
Disc One Final Dungeon: In the opening logs, Jordan's certain the world's gonna end at 6 PM. And then 6 PM comes and he remembers time zones and thinks it's gonna happen at 11. And then 11 PM comes aaaand it turns out we're not even a fraction of the way done with the story.
Down the Rabbit Hole: The Doors are outright referred to as "rabbit holes," though the story's hardly an "escape to a better world" plot. Unless you consider the interpretation that the entire story is a metaphor, in which case it becomes a deconstruction of this trope.
Throughout the first 'week' of logs, just about all the Fears for the first half of the story make some kind of appearance. For instance, EAT/Salmacis and her Camper are in London, and The Ecclesiarchway is spotted on the day Jordan starts heading to Spain.
In mid-Act III, Jordan briefly meets a woman named Jessica. She comes back in Act IV. A lot.
Easily Forgiven: Forgiveness comes up a lot in the logs. Some characters are forgiven faster than others, though whether each case is because of specific reasons or whether it's a sign of a looming character flaw is up to the reader to decide.
Enemy Mine: The only thing the Fears fear is the coming of the Rapture, which, we're told, would be just as devastating to what remains of the human race. Many are willing to work with Jordan and company in the hopes of preventing it from happening.
The Faceless: The Beast. Does he even have a face? Only few characters know, and one of them has been driven insane. He has never been accurately described by any character besides the aforementioned Cloudcuckoolander one, and that description was basically "He doesn't look like the slender man." Whether this was reverse psychology or anything isn't seen until Act IV, which is an act filled with all kinds of faceless imagery.
Fanart: Inverted! D Jay explicitly asked artists Cadet and Logic to be the official Rapture artists when both expressed interest in drawing art related to it. As yet, there's yet to be any actual Rapture fanart.
Act I's White Jester arc got so much praise that a second one came in Act III.
Act IV: The Beast became such a well-liked badass character that, for the Grand Finale, DJay threw in a scene of him playing DragonForce while riding The Rake as it rained blood..
Fate Worse than Death: According to The Victims: “Inevitably, all fates past the twenty-first of October would be eternally worse than death."
The Federation: The Rise Against Fear organization can be considered this, with sister branches in Spain and, inevitably, other countries.
Filler: Inevitable. This story takes place over the course of five months, and every day (sans one at the start) is chronicled in often minute-by-minute logs. Technically, none of it is explicitly there to fill space, as the story is just about the apocalypse and its narrator, and every log chronicles that, but.. c'mon, it shows from time to time.
In Act III: The Anathema building something big foreshadows the coming of The Neonate.
The Ecclesiarchway calls the Neonate's plan to prevent Rapture "absolutely nothing."
In late Act III, Jordan runs into a series of stone passageways with seven doors for the Ciphers, seven doors for the Knights, and then seven doors for the Beacons.
Free-Range Children: The protagonists' parents aren't often mentioned. Fentzy's were killed, Bones' were as well, but few other characters get explanations. It's just assumed they're all dead because it's the apocalypse.
Jordan's looking for a weapon. He finds a dog. "no, that'll never work." He finds the dog again. "no, that'll never work." He looks further, finds the dog again. "Jordy, stay focused, you can't kill someone with a dog." Cut to him finding Eric again. "hey, hey eric, hey I brought a dog. 8D"
Grand Finale: Aw yeah, The Beast and The Harlequin have united to take down Rapture for once and for— wait, why is everyone dancing now? And then later on, when The Beast actually does appear to win the Final Battle, it turns out he's become a Puppet of the Indisen and is now going to deliver Rapture for once and for all.
And then subverted, as the Rapture has a Villainous Breakdown at precisely the right time and the Beast kills himself before the Indisen can regain control.
I Call It Vera: Tiger Stripes the guitar controller, Hammett and Hackett the swords, and Aniland the other guitar controller
Iconic Item: Jordan's Tiger Stripes, trilby and purple scarf.
I Have Many Names: Almost every major character has at least two names. A brief and incomplete listing:
The six (human) main characters all have their personal names and a prophetic name that the Fears use, in addition to any personal nicknames:
Jordan, Rael, the White Jester, The X
Donnie, Victoria, the Red-Capped Dresser
Fentzy, Rauri, Juliet, the Misericordia
Anna, Camilla, the Forsaken, "the girl who never existed"
Eric, Bones, John, the Blind Harlequinade, Thoth
Danny, Nicholas, the Architect
The Fears go by a number of titles, as well, usually reflecting their status as both characters within the Rapture Logs story and their part of the larger Fear Mythos shared universe of which the Rapture Logs are a spin-off:
Made of Iron: Tiger Stripes is a plastic controller, and it took months of using it as Jordan's primary weapon against even solid cars before it broke all of a sudden. Though this is called into question in a serious context, it's never explained, instead left open to interpretation.
Salmacis was the Greek water naiad who raped and became one with the demigod Hermaphroditus.
Tiresias was the Greek blind prophet (who happened to live once as a man and once as a woman to settle a bet between the Gods).
Xanadu was the Chinese city commonly associated with paradise. It was Charles Foster Kane's estate's name in Citizen Kane, and in Rush's "Xanadu," it was the name of a fabled lost location said to bring immortality, only to trap people within for eternity.
Dominiere is named for fake-French of "Last Domino," "domine derniere." The Last Domino is the second movement to Genesis' "Domino," and it's about vivid nightmares caused by a breakup. Much like the hallucinations of The Musicians, and the breakups happening throughout the serial.
Salmacis and Tiresias always call Jordan "Rael." Rael was the protagonist of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Genesis' surrealist prog rock opera about a kid's transformation into a better person who obsesses less over romance.
Mêlée à Trois: In Sanctuary Francisco, it was a standoff between The Ecclesiarchway, Indisen, and the protagonists in the middle. And then the Masked Massacrer showed up!
An Offer You Can't Refuse: With alarming regularity. Any time one of the Fears needs the White Jester to do some of their dirty work, they tend to threaten one of his friends with death and/or torture.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Everything that Jordan doesn't write can be considered offscreen moments of awesome; we have six protagonists and only one of them is telling the readers what's happening. Though Tiresias battling Nyarlathotep, and The Beast fighting The Musicians are two good examples in particular.
In "The Battle of Dominiere," the August 1st entry, Jordan's just chillin' around, checking out the Canadian town of Dominiere, when all of a sudden a bolt of lightning zaps from the sky to the ground directly in front of him. And then Anna emerges out of it, brushes the dust off her jeans, licks the blood off her crowbar, and then walks away. Jordan shit bricks.
Grand Finale: The Beast and The Harlequin unite to smite Rapture a new asshole with the whole world watching, only to suddenly break into song and dance as the Camper Festival crashes down onto the battlefield. The protagonists watching the fight are confused at first, but as the ramifications of what's going on sink in, they lose whatever hope they had left.
The battle with Lerna in Act IV consists entirely of one-liners based on historical quotes, such as when Lerna takes the form of Richard Nixon: “Don’t get the impression that you arouse my anger. Only get the impression that I’m about to hit you in the face.”
This sequence appears a good number of times: Jordan will end a log with something like "I don't think I'll ever get to sleep" and then begin the next one with "I slept."
The Ecclesiarchway's name was only said once in the story. Everyone else gets his name wrong. Every single time.Well, except when he murders Tiresias.
Crappypasta references, in particular "And then a skeleton popped out" and "I'll be there in 3... 2... 1..." followed by kicking a door down.
Monsters wearing "HELLO MY NAME IS insert menacing name here in lowercase" nametags.
Self-Parody: On September 30th: "The White Jester is nothing but bullshit. That’s just propaganda invented by the humanitarians to get us to convert. It may have worked in superhero comics, but this is the real world. This is where real things happen. Where the hell did this notebook even come from, anyway?"
Shout-Out: Not even counting any of the music-related shout-outs...
Jordan's weapon of choice, a guitar controller, is a shout-out to the guitar-wielding protagonist from FLCL.
Shortly after, he finds out that Marble Hornets has actually continued, despite the apocalyptic conditions. "Holy shit. The first minute is just Jay grabbing a shotgun and shooting the Operator in the face. Well, the lack of face." And later, "The Operator will be back, and in greater numbers."
The protagonists encounter a thick fog and hear things flying around them. This was one of the original suggestions for what would become EAT in The Fear Mythos.
"This book contains the secrets of the secretcity," secretcity is a puzzle-based map series for Half-Life modification Sven Co-op, and it happened to be the map series that heavily inspired a good majority of environments in the story.
Shown Their Work: The protagonists have to walk from town to town a lot, sometimes getting to drive, and these are usually without the aid of rabbit holes to speed them on their way. DJay looked into exactly how long it would take to walk and/or drive between all these places and tried to keep things as accurate as he could.