Interpreting Palahniuk’s “RANT”: Splintered Time Theory

How can you not love “Rant”? It’s about the second-hand nature of modern or postmodern life, rabies, epidemics, car crashes, sex, myths, critters, virtual reality, the future, and time travel. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t be fooled by the synopsis you may see on the back of the novel “Rant” by Chuck Palahniuk. The synopsis says something like the story is about a serial killer who becomes a leader of an urban demolition gang called “Party Crashing.” That synopsis is insipid and meant only to appeal to general “normal thinking” audiences who are virgins from Palahniuk’s violent, reckless and almost schizo way of writing.

“Rant” is the first Palahniuk book I’ve read and I must say, I was completely blown away into the theta realm. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised because “Fight Club” is also one of my most favorite films. “Fight Club” is Chuck’s most famous novel and it was made into a film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in 1999. I’m sorry, but if you haven’t seen “Fight Club,” you have lightyears to catch up with us cool people.

Now, as awesome as “Rant” is, there’s a BIG problem with the book. It is — especially if you’re a Palahniuk virgin — UTTERLY CONFUSING. Of course after reading the novel, you may have your own interpretation of the story, but once you reshuffle your thoughts and think back on the book’s events again, you’ll realize it has loose ends probably thicker than the book itself. I’ve been to a great Chuck Palahniuk fan forum on the web and even hardcore members there aren’t sure about what the F happened in the book.

In case you came here to seek enlightenment of a liminal or liminoid nature yourself, allow me to present my own interpretation of this postmodern fairy tale. BE WARNED: THIS INTERPRETATION IS SERIOUSLY LONG. However, if you want to go to great lengths to make sense of this sweet piece of fiction, be my guest (or my passenger):

The Concept of Splintered Time

If you’re a fan of the Back to the Future series like I am, you’ll remember that in Back to the Future II, where Biff became filthy rich because of an Almanac Marty got from the future detailing horse race results, Marty suggested to Doc Brown that they should go back to the future to destroy the Almanac so Biff wouldn’t be rich in the present. Doc was against this however, because if he and Marty traveled to the future, the future they’ll find is one in which Biff’s wealth and fortune still continued. They’ll never get back to the original future where Biff should be a poor and pathetic servant of the McFlys. At that point, Doc explained that as soon as the Almanac traveled to the past — the present and the future was instantly split into two: one where Biff was poor and pathetic (the original timeline) and one where Biff was filthy rich (the new timeline). In my analysis, this is the basic concept of “splintered time” in Palahniuk’s novel.

In my understanding, every time someone manages to go back in time, time is splintered into infinite number of parts.

For example, my present timeline says that I am typing on a keyboard. If I go back in time an hour before I begin typing, I instantly alter the past. One past could be me breaking a finger, so I can’t type. Another could be me sleeping on my keyboard. And another one could be me not typing on a keyboard at all. There’s an infinite number of possibilities or timelines when time gets splintered.

Like in Back to the Future II, each time a new past is made because of someone’s time travel, a new present is made, and a new future. Thus, a new timeline starts once someone goes back to the past. What’s important to remember is that the book only follows a single timeline. We are not reading about multiple timelines, but only a single timeline. That timeline is Rant’s timeline: from the day he was born to the day that he died in a burning car.

Charles Casey is Green Taylor Simms

From my reading, I was able to conclude that Green Taylor Simms IS Charles Casey — not Rant’s Dad whom we shall call “Chet Casey” — but the one who crashed into Echo’s parents and disappeared (Charles Casey was briefly mentioned. Look it up if you can’t remember.)

Now, one of the basic plots of the story is Green Taylor Simm’s quest to be powerful and immortal by seeding (or raping) his ancestors and killing his mother. Since this is Green’s motivation, we can deduce that Green wasn’t powerful before. Green didn’t always have superhuman powers like increased sense of smell or taste, increased capacity for knowledge, etc. Green started out to be a simple normal human.

So at first, Green (when Charles Casey was still his name) was born in Middleton. He had a father, a normal one, a different unnamed father who was not himself. Green was an ordinary boy. He wasn’t special.

Green went to the city where the I-SEE-U act was already in effect. He became one of the officers of the government who were testing traffic patterns by crashing cars.

By this time, “time travel” was already accidentally being done by test crashers of the government, who were colleagues of Echo’s mother. However, no one outside it still knew it can be done. Echo’s parents knew how it was done and tried to crash into a car to travel back in time to a place “where the air was clean and we’d have empty land all around us.” However, instead of them traveling back in time, they crashed into Green who was the one who accidentally traveled back in time. At this point, time was splintered.

Green, naked, lost in the past, had nowhere else to go but back to his old Middleton home. He found his house was different because it still hadn’t dawned on him that he’s in the past.

When Hattie, her great-grandmother, met Green, she had the hots for him. She wanted to have sex right away. Green didn’t seem to recognize his own great grandmother because he only learned of the date when he looked at the calendar after they had sex.

When Green reached orgasm, he felt he grew unusually stronger. This is one of the crucial parts of the story. From this point, Green starts to build the theory that by seeding his ancestors, he himself becomes stronger, a superhuman, with increased senses.

From then on, Green goes back to Middleton every 13 years to rape her ancestors — Esther and Irene. Every time he raped one ancestor, he grew stronger. He also killed them when they got older.

When Green raped Irene, his “real” unnamed father from the original timeline of his life disappears. Green was now the strongest he’s ever been, but he’s still not immortal because he hasn’t killed his mother yet.

Chet Casey (Rant’s Father) Was the Only One who Failed to Save Irene

In most of the fan discussions I’ve read, there seems to be a confusion on who was that person who Irene recounted traveled back in time to try to save her from Green but failed. Some say that person was Rant fresh from his burning car crash. I disagree. That person was no other than Chet, Rant’s father.

Allow me to explain.

Chet was born the proof that Green’s experiment worked — that seeding your own ancestors made you stronger in the future, present and past. However, although Chet was somehow connected physically with Green (such that when Green’s powers grew, so did Chet’s, so his sense of smell is strong), Chet now lived in a DIFFERENT past. It was the past splintered by Green traveling back in time.

Got that?

Chet is Green and not Green at the same time because he is a product of a different timeline. This particular timeline started when Green went back in time to tap his great grandmother Hattie. Thus, Chet is someone unique though physically indistinguishable from Green and Rant.

So Chet went to the city, met Shot, Echo and Neddy (these are versions of the characters from Chet’s timeline). Chet did everything up to talking with Green and then crashing his car while burning.

Chet crashed his car in order to save his mother, Irene, from Green whom he perceived to be a lunatic.

Chet failed. He arrived about a minute too late.

Instead, Chet opted to just marry Irene to guard her just in case Green travels back again to kill her.

Rant’s Timeline

Now, the moment Chet traveled back in time to save his mother from Green, time was splintered again. Thus, a new timeline was created. This particular timeline is Rant’s timeline — the one we’re reading about in the book.

So Chet and Irene’s son, Rant (the HERO, the MAIN CHARACTER) is both Chet and Green, but at the same time, he’s not since he came from a different splintered past. (Remember the comparisons to the Holy Trinity? All are the same one but not?)

Now Rant, like Green and Chet, has superpowers (increased sense of smell and taste, etc). He lived basically the same life as Chet’s, but probably just varying in degrees. He met Shot, Echo, and Neddy (now the versions of the characters we’re currently reading about) and we followed his life through the stories of his friends and other people.

However, since Rant is an offshoot of a different splintered past, it also follows that he has a different future. This is why Chet Casey, his father, told him that when the time comes, he should hurry back and save his mother — something that he failed to do. This means that Chet realized that, unlike him, Rant has a chance of saving his mother because he has a different future.

I mean, if Rant had no chance to save his mother because as Irene recounted, that person from the past failed to save her from Green, then why did Chet bother to ask Rant to hurry back and save his mother when the time comes?

ANSWER: Chet knows that Rant has a different future because Rant was a product of a different splintered timeline. Rant has a chance to not fail like his father, so he must hurry.

Upon learning everything from Green, Rant knew that the time has come to go back in time. Thus, Rant crashes his burning car to travel back in time to save Irene like his father did. This is the car crash we’ve read. This is the car crash we followed in the story.

And Rant’s story ends with that car crash.

Was Rant Able to Save Irene?

What happened to Rant? Was he able to save his mother or not?

The answer is we don’t really know.

The story doesn’t go there. If Rant was able to do something in his future that Chet, his father, wasn’t able to do — we won’t really know (except if Wikipedia is right and there’s a sequel). The story ends with an open question: did Rant succeed or fail?

Why did Green Crash his Car like Rant?

Even though Rant had already disappeared after the car crash, as readers following his timeline, we still continue to read what happened through the testimonies of his friends and people around him.

We now turn to Green. Green realizes that if Rant succeeds in altering history, he’ll somehow be affected physically even though they are offshoots of different splintered timelines. Just as seeding his ancestor made Green and Rant and Chet stronger, Rant stopping his mother’s rape or even killing Green, would necessarily have some effect on Green’s physicality or existence. Maybe he’ll die. Maybe he’ll cease to exist. Either way, Green has to stop Rant from stopping him. So Green put some gasoline on his car, crashed and also traveled back in time.

Like Rant, we never know if Green succeeded or failed.

Proof that Chet and Rant Don’t Share Identical Histories though They are One and the Same Person

The proof that Green’s and Chet’s and Rant’s pasts are all slightly different is the fact that Chet didn’t recognize Rant’s attempts at fooling him with the inks used to color Irene’s eggs. Chet spent a lot of money testing himself for diseases because Rant would put ink on his underwear. This means that Chet had a different childhood. Had they been living the same timeline, or had they been sharing the same history, Chet would have known Rant was just pulling pranks — but he didn’t know. Rant kept fooling him with the ink and underwear prank. Therefore, Rant’s history was unique although similar to Chet’s and Green’s.

Shot Dunyun, Neddy Nelson, Echo Lawrence, and the Book’s Presentation

I’ve been thinking about this and I think Palahniuk wanted to present the novel as a real piece of history that had turned into fiction because the events that transpired cannot be proven anymore. Why? Because certain characters in the book succeeded in traveling back in time, eliminating the timeline where boosted peak technology exists and I SEE U act is enforced.

Shot Dunyun succeeded to travel back in time. He altered history such that boosted peak is impossible. Neddy Nelson traveled back ensuring I SEE U act is impossible. Echo traveled back in time to make her mother’s wish come true: that people lived in a place “where the air was clean and we’d have empty land all around us.”

Echo may have also traveled back in time to prevent the accident that disfigured her from ever happening.

Thus, the book is telling us: OUR history, our reality, is a product of the successful attempts of Shot, Neddy, and Echo’s attempts at altering history. The book presents itself as “real.”

At this point, we should also take note that the book is a collection of statements by people. Who collected these statements?

My hunch: Echo.

Echo doesn’t appear on the contributors section. She doesn’t appear there because aside from altering history, she managed to be an immortal. How she did that, we won’t know because that’s not part of the book (which again, follows Rant’s timeline only). However, if my guess is right and Palahniuk wants to present the book as a real piece of history, then it follows that someone must have preserved all those testimonies of the people who existed in Rant’s timeline. Someone must have collected all those testimonies. That someone is Echo. She became a historian, someone above time, and she presented the story to us so we could read it.

According to the government, she’s dead, but she’s already above time like Waxman (a suspicious character who seems to have more significance than what’s suggested).

Who’s the girl who walked out of the car crash? That’s an immortal. She could be any girl. Someone who attained immortality through time travel. Actually, we won’t ever know the answer, but she could be Tina Something or even Echo.

So my final thesis is that, “Rant,” the book, was the work of Echo Lawrence about her former boyfriend, Rant Casey, and about a dismantled splinter of time we’ll never have a chance to see because Echo and her friends had already altered history.

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71 responses to “Interpreting Palahniuk’s “RANT”: Splintered Time Theory

  1. dk

    you should read Palahniuk’s Guts :) great way to blow away one’s mind easily.

  2. i can vouch for guts. very puke-a-licious.

  3. byrno

    So here is a thought to go off of your theory. Say Rant was successful in going back and stopping Green from raping his mother. Wouldn’t that then mean that Rant would cease to exist? Meaning making Rant immortal? Instead of doing it the traditional way the Green would have wanted (killing his mother). He would do it the more humane way of stopping the procreation. Stop the rape- Rant never exists-Rant becomes a god.

    • moonwalkerwiz

      Hi byrno. That’s an interesting idea. In fact, in the edition I read, a page before the actual novel had Rant’s quote: “Do you wish you’d never been born?” It’s true that if Rant succeeds in stopping the rape, Rant may cease to exist and probably a chain reaction — Green and Chet would also cease to exist.

      As for becoming a god though, I am quite skeptical about that. It was clearly said that to be an immortal, one must kill his father (in Green’s case, his mother because he already raped his mother). I think the emphasis is on “killing” your parents. Somehow, in this universe Palahniuk created, I believe the opposite of being immortal or a god is ceasing to exist completely. I believe Rant is after erasing his existence, not being a god. Based on Rant’s personality, he could care less about powers and being invincible. He was just after a different kind of life, not the “second-hand” life most people live. He always puts himself in life and death situations in order to live. So I think based on his philosophy, he would want to cease to exist rather than continue on living as an immortal.

      Of course, with the book’s confusing logic, we can never know for sure what may happen if Rant succeeds in stopping the rape. Maybe you are right after all, and Rant, instead of erasing his existence (along with Green and Chet), actually becomes a god.

      But according to the book only a god doesn’t exist. So maybe you are right.

      Maybe Palahniuk just wants to screw with us. LOL. :D

      • Cassie

        I personally don’t think that Rant would cease to exist if he did succeed in stopping the rape. In the novel, the theory seems to be that killing one’s parents is the way to achieve immortality. Green, although he is one in the same – but different, as you stated previously – with Rant and Chet, is still technically Rant’s father. The entire book operates outside of the Grandfather Paradox, which is the theory that killing one’s own ancestors causes one to cease to exist.

      • Cee

        Yes, this. And thanks for your thoughts on the book, I had almost the exact same theory about it and I read it 4 times! Its truly the work of a madman.

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  5. Oh my God!! I think you are so spot on! Shame that you only got 8 comments. More people should be reading your article. I just finished Rant yesterday and was reading some reviews of it this morning in hopes of understanding it fully but all I came across were some negative comments about this book. I think the problem was the reviewers just couldn’t understand the book. I so agree that normal people wouldn’t appreciate Palahniuk’s work. Good job man :)

    • moonwalkerwiz

      Thanks, man! It was so long ago that I read this book. Like you, I had a difficult time fully making sense of it. I even thought Palahniuk’s point was probably to make no sense at all and just screw with his readers minds and morals. But there must have been some logic behind it ’cause it was such a beautifully told novel. And this was what I came up with. Thanks for your appreciation. It also helped that I’m a big fan of the Back to the Future series. :D

      • Ahh… Back to the Future… another movie in my list of movies I really loved as a kid but can’t remember why because it was so long ago. Another movie in that list would be the original Terminator. I have since re-watched the 1st Back to the Future but not the 2nd and 3rd.

  6. Dude, have you ever wondered what if Green Taylor Simms/Charles Casey was a woman? What would she do to make a better version of herself? Go back in time and fuck her great grandfather? Even then, she’d have to stay behind and have the baby. And then what? Come back after 13 years and fuck her 13 year old grandfather and have his baby? And she’ll eventually be the mother of herself? Seems to me like the easier choice for a woman time traveler would be to kill her ancestor. LOL.

    • moonwalkerwiz

      Yeah, it does seem that way. I don’t know if you can call it a problem, but I think the real issue why Rant didn’t really take off is that it lacks an explainable universe. There are not too many clues given by the author and even those he left were too sketchy. This is one of those contentious bits that it seems was left there just to fuck with our heads. Haha. But it’s still a great book. :)

  7. Yup, it’s a great book. O hey, here’s another thing to consider, Irene Casey probably only had sex once in her life! Imagine that, having a grown son and acting and talking like any other normal wife but not knowing much about sex. I mean, she referred to Green Taylor Simms’ penis as “his thing”. That’s kinda fucked up.

  8. Dude, I think I may have discovered a plot hole.

    So, first of all, there are three main/known time lines, right? The first is Charles Casey’s time line who presumably lived a normal life and then crashed into Echo’s family and traveled back in time. From this point on, he disappears from his time line and creates a new one where he fucks his ancestors and spawns Chester Casey and also changes his name to Green Taylor Simms.

    Now we move on to Chester Casey’s time line and he grows up and moves to the city and meets Echo and the gang. Simms is also part of the gang and he started Party Crashing. Simms tells Chester to go back in time and kill Irene, his mother. Chester tries to save his mother instead but fails. So he ends up raising Rant.

    Now Rant grows up and the same thing happens and Rant time travels. But we don’t know what happened to him. He might have traveled into the future instead?

    Anyways, when Charles Casey crashes into Echo’s family she is 8 and he is 23, right? And he goes back to fuck 13 year old Hett Casey, and then 13 year old Esther Casey and then 13 year old Irene Casey. If he had a normal life in his original time line, then his mother would have given birth to him at a normal age, say in her 20s, right? And it would be the same for his grandma and great grandma. But because he fucks 13 year old versions of his ancestors, wouldn’t Chester and Rant Casey be born earlier than Charles Casey in his original time line?

    So how the fuck does Chester and Rant meet Echo when she is in her 20s and they are in their 20s too? Shouldn’t Chester and Rant be way older than 23 and Echo would still be 8?

    Or maybe Hett, Esther and Irene all got married at age 13 in Charles Casey’s normal time line? But that means Chester and Rant would still be 23 and Echo 8 if they were to meet.

    So, is this a plot hole?

    Oh, and why is there a Green Taylor Simms in Rant’s time line? I know after Chester went back in time he went back too. But he would be old by then. Did old man Simms go back and fucked 13 year old Hett, Esther and Irene all over again? And every time he did that he got a little younger? That raises the pedophilia meter a lot. Or is it that once a new time line is created it just stays the same, and when Chester went back in time, the time line that was created was a copy of the previous time line? Bla bla bla, does this make sense?

    And why is Echo deformed in Chester and Rant’s time line? Did Simms purposely hit her family’s car again? Then wouldn’t he disappear and time travel? Where did he go?

    And who is the girl who crawled out of the train wreck? Why was she 100++ years old? Did she travel back in time and killed her family in the train wreck thus making her immortal? Did she just appear? From the past or the future?

    Damn, I hope Chuck can really tie up these loose ends in his sequels. But I think we can all agree time travel is fucked up and confusing. Right?

  9. MoonChild

    I just want to thank you for writing this article. I’m righting a book review on Rant for school, and I just couldn’t completely understand the time travel involved. I couldn’t find anything that helped on other websites, and this cleared up any questions I still had about it. Also, you posed what might have happened to Echo, which was a big issue for me. I liked her character, and the fact that she was the only one not mentioned in the collection of names tortured me. I knew Chuck did not leave her out by accident, but I couldn’t see the reason, and it’s the biggest thing that bothered me about the book. (the only other being time travel) Your explanation explains a lot, and fills in some of the gaps left. So, thanks again.

  10. Crystal

    So, here’s another plot hole. Why does Chet exist? Rather, how? If all of the lineage is through the great grandmother, grandmother, and mother- how does Chet exist? I can see Green existing doing what he does until he ultimately gets a boy- Rant. But how does Chet come into existence? And as for the 100++ woman walking from the wreck, I think that’s Tina Something. She ends the book- enjoy your death. And in the Where are they now section- she was in a wreck with no signs of people at all. And then there’s the rabies thing. It kinda trails off after the last werewolf chapter. I know it says that they made it up but that doesn’t change the number of people who were infected with rabies and that Rant had rabies and did give it to other people before. What was the importance to the rabies?

    If anything, I think this book points out all of the issues and critiques today’s society. The peak boosts relating to a world of instant gratification from movies, tv, even food. The rabies having something to do with zombies. The car crashing relating to the search for highs. The daytimers and nighttimers relating to the ridiculousness of how we view people and how we separate ourselves from the “undesirables”.

    Your break down definitely cleared up a lot of my “wtf” moments while reading though. I plowed through it hoping at the end there would be a crystalizing moment of clarity, which usually happens when I finish a Chuck book; but that didn’t happen with this one. :)

  11. moonwalkerwiz

    Everyone, thanks for your comments. I’d really love to analyze this book with you again but I’m afraid it’s been so long since I read it and I’ve forgotten the details. So please forgive me if I can’t give you solid answers about this book these days ’cause my head is currently wrapped around totally different things.

    John, I think that may be a plot hole. Your questions are all good and they really raise the necessity of a sequel. I hope somewhere out there, Chuck somehow finds this blog post and reads all your questions. We need answers to them. I think the rights for a movie has also been claimed by WB. People will be scratching their heads if they show a Rant movie with all the inconsistencies and vagueness. So Chuck, please write a sequel!

    MoonChild, that’s awesome. Thank you. Hope you do well with that book review. :)

    Crystal, that is where the craziness of the loop shows. According to my analysis, Chet would have lived more or less the same life as Rant and traveled back in time to save Irene from Green. He came from the past in what seems to be a neverending loop. I’m getting dizzy just following the timelines. Maybe Chuck deliberately designed the story this way to create time loops that just brings the reader back to where he started.

    I agree with you that more than the confusing timelines and time travel stories, the book was more of a critique of society. Just like Fight Club. I think it pokes fun at this modern-day trend of people sitting in their own holes and just getting instant gratification from the media and the various gadgets available to them. Real life escapes them as they replace the sensations of life with artificial ones. Car crashing is also a metaphor for people who are doing crazier and crazier activities to cure the boredom and meaninglessness of their lives. Pretty soon, they may go for the most dangerous high just to feel gratified–which is crashing their own cars. I remember spotting numerous other metaphors in the book while reading it but I can’t remember them now. That’s why I think the novel is more symbolic and satirical than anything.

  12. Lauren

    I know you said it’s been a while since you read it, but I was hoping you’d help me understand why Chester and Green are the same person.

    When I read it last summer, I assumed Chester was Rant after he went back to save his mom, but after that their timelines changed because Chester was raised by his dad (or possibly without one) and Rant was raised by Chester. I think that makes sense. I might just be confusing myself more.

    So if Green went back and had Chester, how
    Is he the same as Rant/Chester? Was Green Irene’s original son?

    Also, two more quick things. 1. I read Guts and squirmed so much. There’s a video on YouTube of someone who recorded their friends reading it for the first time (out loud) and their reactions are sooo hilarious. 2. There’s a theory I read about Echo. There’s some random new girl character at the very end, and she’s in the back of the book while Echo isn’t. I’m sorry I can’t remember her name, it’s been awhile. Some people think she’s Echo.

  13. Phil

    You got most of it right, but there’s more to the story, I think… And the biggest mind screw is this: Shot Dunyun’s easter egg said “Green Taylor Simms”.

    Now, why would he do that? On the night that Rant left for the city, he and Chet had a long talk. We got some of the details, but obviously not all.

    Now, Rant could be warning Shot about Simms OR he could be saying that Shot IS Simms. This would make sense character age wise, and motiv wise. Shot went to college to major in boosting peaks. Now that whole story about how his dog has rabies makes sense. Who cares if the stupid dog got rabies? Unless it was a track already worn in time? If in the original time line, Shot’s dog got rabies and he’s the source of the original outbreak, and he, a artist cut off from the source of his art goes and commits suicide via flaming car accident (the sorta explosive thing a frustrated artist would do), and wham, he’s 26 years in the past (assuming he’s about 22 at the time this happens set’s him up for middle age in at least one iteration, which explains why Green Taylor Simms is hanging out with Echo Lawrence and Shot even though he’s significantly older than they are, and are neither here nor there in terms of big wigs of party Crashing).

    It would also explain why Charles Casey then goes and crashes into Echo Lawrence’s car to go back in time again! He, still frustrated, crazy, and kinda rabid, wants to kill Echo before she’s there in the time line for whatever reason (maybe she knows too much, maybe she dumped him in a first lap around the time track where he didn’t pan out as an artist, whatever). However, either way, you’ve got these iterations of Shot Dunyun running around until they become Green Taylor Sims, who then in turn hits around the track until he becomes Chester Casey who runs around the track again to become Rant Casey.

    Considering that Irene Casey at the end of the book winds up being a wealthy philanthropist and people keep finding Coins, etc. I’m guessing that somebody saves her from Green Taylor Simms BEFORE Echo, Shot, and Neddy hit the time track to stop history from becoming what it is.

    That’s just a guess anyway.

  14. Dave

    Awesome posts! I just finished Rant on tape (which was amazing) and started trolling forums to make sure I understand everything / see other cool theories. This is the only thread I saw that has a recent post!

    1st off: This book was great for so many reasons. On the nerdy writer side, it uses a non-fiction structure of storytelling wish is amazing and makes it read so well. On the geeky side, it touches on two awesome topics without having to just be about one or the other. These being: Time-travel & basically zombies (with the advances rabies.) And finally on the political side by making social commentary via split societies, control by the elite, religion, etc.

    So I have been looking at the actions of characters and trying to figure out things be “Who benefits?”. I just finished reading the graphic novel Identity Crisis which is a DC mystery where you constantly are looking for who benefits from a murder. Also worth a read.

    Ok, so first to Phil b.c you posted recently. You are the only other person I’ve read who also sees some huge significane with Shot Dunyan. Now, I do think you may be onto something. But something that no one has mentioned is Shot Dunyan all along was slipping birth control into Echo’s drinks and food to make sure she didn’t get pregnant with Rant’s child. I thought why? And I started to think that Shot may be Rant & Echo’s child who jumped to the past to stop his own birth (making him immortal) without having to kill anyone (b.c like most characters other than GTS, he is somewhat moral).

    OR maybe you are right and Shot becomes GTS & is stopping the process from going beyond Rant for some reason. For some reason this doesn’t sit with me well. Any which way, Shot is definitely more important than someone who just may have went back to stop boost technology. He knows something he doesn’t tell us & that’s why he’s keeping Echo from having children.

    Something that seems to contradict the whole Chester is different than Rant but the same (Although I love this idea and it sits the best with me) is that at the end, Wallace Boyer (Car Salesman) Says he is available to lecture on his in flight with RANT Casy. Not Chester. There is a reason it was written as Rant. Although maybe this just means good ol Wallace doesn’t understand the Trinity aspect and just sees the same person aspect.

    But Wallace seems to know a lot too, given in his section about all the party-crashers personalities (I think Shot was auditory, Echo was touch, Netty was sight? I don’t remember & I wish I had the book and not CD’s b.c it would take me forever to find it by listening through this.) I think a theory is that Wallace is the one who compiled the information after he had that in-flight run-in with Chester. His ability to make people feel comfortable and lead them makes it possible to get this many sources.

    I only offer a different compiler (I like the idea of it being Echo), but for my tape version Echo is one of the contributors at the end. It says something like: “Echo Lawrence: night-timer, party-crasher, is missing and presumed immortal.” This may still keep her as the compiler as she would say that to brag (or lie) about her immortality.

    Also at the end, it says Chester Casey disappears AFTER GTS. So I am thinking this is a chase. GTS going to mess with something & Chester stopping him. The weird thing is that GTS contributor credit says he is a person of interest in the case of Rant’s disappearance. I don’t understand who connected them and who labeled GTS as a “person of interest”. The compiler? The police?

    Now I agree that the whole story is supposed to be real, but reads to us like fiction b.c someone stopped it. The person who poses this is Netty Nelson I believe. I loved this and laughed out loud as this was Chuck blatantly making things more badass. But I think Netty is the most important character. I think he goes back and stops everything for humanitarian reasons & gives us our world.

    A few open ends in my brain: 1 – Tina something. I think we can presume she hung with Wax and crashed into the train to go back in time. Now is this the same train crash that had the 163 (or whatever) year old naked bride girl in it? In which case, there was a body, but of someone other than Tina?

    Wax is a complete mystery. We can presume he is immortal as his parents are dead & from Tina’s testimony. But why is he here? Does he serve a bigger purpose that I am not getting? Or maybe he is just there so we can have Tina Something fill us in on immortality and time travel without her having to learn it from Rant, Echo, GTS or main characters.

    Another unexplained character is Toni Welding. The book ends on her in the contributors! Who was she and where did she come from? It hints that she denies currently organizing and running party-crashing… I read a theory that she is Echo and that explains GTS telling Echo that he runs party-crashing before disappearing in a flaming wreck. Leaving it to her to get smarter & immortal before she starts running it under another name. Also saying maybe she is the 163 year old naked person.

    So my main concerns are the 2ndary characters that seem super important like Shot. Anyway, I just finished this so I love talking and reading about it! It reminds me of when I fished watching the movie Primer, but even better.

  15. I just finished reading Rant and I am intrigued by the idea that Green is Rant.

    I can’t see how this is possible. Green’s DNA is half Irene’s half some other father (let’s call him the “original father”).

    On the other hand, both Chet and Rant have the same DNA – half Irene’s and half Green’s. The fact that Irene also has Green’s DNA – half directly from Green and the other half via Esther who also had half of Green’s DNA – means that Chet and Rant are seriously inbred. When the book suggests that Green IS Rant, I think that is because they have almost the same DNA. But they are not the same.

    Chet and Rant are the same person. Not just in DNA, but because they are part of a “loop” (albeit with separate timelines). Green is their father, grandfather and great-grandfather. There is simply no other logical conclusion.

  16. Sebastian

    There is no difference between Chet and Rant, they are definitely the same person, it even said so in the book with DNA tests. So Green Taylor Simms impregnated Irene, which means that all 3 are the same people. The only time it talks about in the book that Chet came to save Irene from getting raped by Green is the real timeline, the one that was being followed in the book. It shows proof because Irene describes it as someone calling her “mom.” So it had to be Rant’s timeline, because he was calling her mom, once again.

    In addition, the part of the book when Rant is dead and Chet comes to the city (which is really Rant in a loop), he kisses Shot and tells him, “did you miss me?” If you will recall, Rant did the exact thing to Shot. Also showing that they’re the same person.

    Good theory about echo being the one that “wrote” the book, as she wasn’t mentioned in the credits or whatever.

  17. Why rabies??? This is all great insight regarding time travel which is confusing. But at no point in the book did I ever really get why Rant had rabies. There has to be a point to that part of the story, but it seems like once he starts party crashing rabies takes a back seat to the story. It changes the world and ultimately divides it into day and night. But why??? It’s hard to say that Green had some master plan because even though the three are one, it seems we all agree that they existed on different timelines and do not share the same memories. So why this seemingly intentional devolpment of a virus occurs is more of a mystery to me than the splintering of time.

    • moonwalkerwiz

      Hi Brian. I haven’t been commenting on this page for a long while because it’s been such a long time since I read the book and I’ve forgotten many of the details. I’m glad a lot of readers are still discussing it here though and I encourage all to discuss the book among themselves here if they can’t find a proper forum.

      But just to put my two cents in regarding your question, it’s pretty much agreed upon by readers that “Rant” the story is as much a criticism of modern life as it is a nice time-travel science fiction. I think in many ways, “Rant” is like “Fight Club” in that Palahniuk again mercilessly attacks the ways people currently live.

      I think one common thesis in several of Palahniuk’s works is the shallowness and fragility of modern (or post-modern) commercialized human beings. In “Fight Club,” you see Tyler’s Project Mayhem wrecking the city and bringing out the inner savage beast in people through underground fight clubs. Similarly in “Rant,” Palahniuk uses rabies to draw a line separating the kind of person Rant is from the rest of ordinary characters in the story.

      Rabies allowed Rant to move away from the ordinary, boring experiences of people. We saw Rant progressing in the types of venomous creatures that bit him. This way, he was able to keep living in a “real” world that was entirely different from the world of death and sensory fraud others lived in (party crashing was like a cure for totally bored people, as well as boosting peaks). Even before Rant went out to the city, he was already known for his radical ways (e.g., the horror house where he used real meat, if I remember correctly). Everything about Rant was an anti-thesis to the modern way of life (because even though party crashing and boosting peaks are futuristic, these are clearly metaphors for today’s drugs, the hackneyed media diet of people, the Internet, basically all the things that make people into consumers of second-hand experience and basically real sissies haha).

      To me, Rant’s rabies spreading in the city was Palahniuk’s way of showing that people–despite their almost hopeless dependence on second-hand experience and temporary false pleasures–are really trying to seek what’s genuine in life. I think that’s Palahniuk saying we’re going about this the wrong way. We shouldn’t be immersing ourselves in the cliches and misinformation the media bombards us with. We shouldn’t be taking the easy roads to pleasure (like drugs, consumerism, and whatnot). On the contrary, we should “get infected” with a totally dangerous and deadly life force like Rant’s rabies. Remember Tyler Durden’s “near-life experience”? I think that’s essentially the same as Rant’s rabies plot-wise. This is Palahniuk telling his readers to go and really live their lives by doing something unheard of, something radical, something wild, something genuine.

      So I agree with you. The rabies in this story is definitely more important than the technicalities of time-travel. This whole story is a metaphor and a criticism of everyday life. It should be read that way and not just in a very literal manner.

      • Guaranteed

        Outside of metaphor the rabies also eventually destroyed the metal tubes that allowed them to boost a peak, which is why rant has to ask his best friend to boost for him during school

  18. Dave

    I am so pumped to see this thread up again. I don’t know if anyone ever responded to my crazy last post when I just finished the book and was thirsting for insane discussion. But in response to this I have 2 comments:

    First, I totally agree with Moonwalker. Palahniuk uses rabies as a metaphor and commentary on society. Great post Moon.

    Second, although it takes a back seat, it doesn’t disappear or become pointless. Rabies is the key to going back in time. This is why normal people in car accidents every day don’t get thrown back in time. The two requirements are an excellent crash and the driver has to have rabies. We can see this at the end when two of the male characters kiss in the front seat of the car (I forget who it was, it’s been a bit). But one of them, being straight, says something like, “I hope I don’t have to do that again.” He was kissing the other guy in order to get rabies, again in order to try to go back in time.

    I think story-wise, at the end of the story we are supposed to know that all the main characters we have been following around have all went back in time. Each for a purpose they describe at the end. I forget who, but one of them basically goes back to make all of this reality not exist… to give us the world we have. This book, the “oral history,” compiled by one of the characters (or by a 3rd party, up for debate) is a relic of a different reality that no longer exists. This also is right along with Chuck’s imagery and metaphors. It is almost a warning of where society could head or a criticism of where our ideals and lifestyles could lead us in a different reality. In the book world, that reality actually happened, but was changed by one character.

    Ok. I should be working. This is all for now!

    - Dave

  19. nardwuar

    i need a clearup on some things in the book. i couldnt completely wrap my head around all this crazyness. i think, but im not so sure. that to go back in time you needed to enter a liminal/(liminoid?) time, you had to crash your cars. the pulse is what they called it when it slowed down time. but to reach a liminal time did you need the rabies to fuck with your head to get there?

    they said to reach time travel they party crashed and reached a a calm state of mind (theta?), but did you also needed to be infected with the rabies virus aswell right? thats why nelson wanted to get infected near the end of the book when shot kissed him. or maybe not–it doesnt make much sense, because the engineers who first discoverd time travel accidently were never exposed to rabies? they were argueing maybe people like jesus were some loser who time travelled back in time…but i thought rant casey was the first to get everyone infected with rabies.. and bring it among people to experience “flashback”. other then GTS, chett and rant i dont know how anyone could of had flashback without getting the disease, and its making me mad how the engineers who accidently discoverd it were not exposed to the rabies virus.

    i was also confused with the eggs. i was confused because i thought there was one egg. one egg with an important message that was not supposed to be read until he died. but there was it least 2 :S first it was one egg that he wrote invisible ink with one of his best childhood friends am i right? when he moved to the city, who property owner talks about how there was nothing in his room to steal except an egg on the middle of his pillow. i figured this is the same egg, and it probably was, but it seems to me there was more then one. it least 2. one read “GTS” on it (which someone above as said is a mystery of itself) and another that said “fuck you”. it doesnt seem the egg message is nearly as important as i thought it was because theres it least 2 and possibly more. can someone explain this part? did i missread something and there really was only one egg?

    this is where my understanding is most hazzy so please pardon anything wrong with it:but most importantly i dont understand GTS motive. if you are trying to reach an immortal status would you not try and prevent others from reaching it? to stay powerful? if everyone reaches immortality and inherits a lot of money you dont seem so powerful anymore. he was stoking himself into a better him, but he never reached immortality because he didnt kill his parents. i thought he wanted to be the strongest, wealthiest person on earth. why is he telling rant he can reach immortality? i know he wants rant to murder irene but why couldnt he do it himself? it seems the choice of time to murder them is kind of radom aswell.

  20. jon

    i pretty much agree with everything that the forum creator had to say about the book. however, i do have this one bit to add…

    he mentions that we don’t know if rant succeeded or failed in saving his mother from murder.

    here are our options.
    rant goes back in time and dies: memory of rant is preserved, gts becomes immortal. irene is dead. (this does not happen because irene is a live contributor at the end)

    rant goes back in time and lives: he SUCCEEDS in saving her from murder – irene lives, gts does not become fully immortal.

    Or he FAILS in saving her from murder – irene dies, gts becomes immortal, rant does not become immortal (his father [gts] is still alive, both parents’ deaths are necessary for immortality) i.e. rant’s memory is preserved. (this DOES NOT happen because we the memory of gts is still alive and he is a contributor) [waxman is immortal, there is no record of his existence, and he is not a contributor]

    NOW – going back to him succeeding.

    succeeds in saving her from murder but fails in stopping the rape. rant is born, the story continues as is. and everytime gts tries to have a spawn kill irene, an endless loop of “rants” can be created for gts to attain immortality. (this is the MOST LIKELY ENDING. as for where rant and chet are…rant could be in middleton protecting irene. and chet could be attempting to foil any plans gts has) [or chet protecting and rant foiling] MEMORY OF RANT IN THE FUTURE IS PRESERVED.

    succeeds in saving her from murder and succeeds in stopping the rape. gts does not become immortal. rant is never born. rant does not become immortal. everything that happened in the book never occurred. another “rant” is not created. the cycle ends. (this DOES NOT happen because there is still memory of rant in the future.)

    now my only unanswered question is bodie carlyle at the end of the book when shot, neddy, and echo hear him and irene. he can be another “rant” that gts creates because rant foiled him.

    • jon

      oh and in the scenario where rant succeeds in saving irene but fails in stopping the rape it is obvious that gts does not become immortal and rant, too, does not become immortal. and ALL VERSIONS OF GTS (chet and rant) are still preserved physically, and in memory.

      also, i disagree with the fact that echo went back in time and stopped her parents from dying. if she stopped her parents from dying it can have one of two effects….
      1. charles casey (THE ORIGINAL GTS) would never have gotten in a car accident with them and all other characters would cease to exist. (unless gts found another way to go back in time)

      2. charles could have still gotten in a car accident but maybe to save her parents future echo pulled 8 year old echo out of the backseat early or something. (this would save her parents, allow gts to get in that car accident, and fix echo’s handicapped limbs)

      also, if anyone knows what to make of shot’s father and the fact that in the contributors shot is stated as previously being “christopher dunyun” please elaborate. it could be that shot is his own unique character with his own cycle of going back in time.

  21. K

    I think the point a lot of people miss when it comes to the splintering theory is that everytime someone travels back in time the timeline they are a part of is completely independant of their own. So even if they murder themselves it won’t matter, it is a separate timeline and that baby they killed may have been exactlly the same as them but it isn’t them. They may have traveled to the past but it is technically their present and a completely different thing than where they are from. Think of it from the individuals perspective of time. They went to the past but its still their present. I like to think of it not so much as time travel but changing the world around them to be exactly like a certain “time” in their past.

    Does that make sense?

    The only thing that doesn’t line up for me is how Simms gets stronger when he rapes his ancestors. It makes sense that his “spawn” may be stronger since it is amplifying his own genes, but if hes from a different timeline, the woman he raped isn’t the ancestors he came from. The ancestors he came from are back in his timeline, completely unaffected by his time travel.

    Then again logic is nice but its fictional time travel. Any holes can be covered by, Oh well in this fictonal world these rules apply to time travel because of forces unknown.

    I’ve read this book 4+ times over the past few years and this is definitely one of the better explanations i’ve read. Bravo.

  22. Guaranteed

    The importance of rabies: it breaks the things in their necks that allows them to boost a peak, which is what seperates them from reality. Arguably, that means people dont need rabies to time travel, they just need to be fully in touch with reality. So if those engineers werent capable of boosting, or were fully in touch with reality, they could time travel just fine.

    Also, the significance of rabies personnaly to Rant is that he wants people to experience reality, and because rabies legitimately travels up the spinal cord upon infection, it would break the things allowing people to boost, exposing them to reality.

    As for Rant and Chet being different but the same, i have always considered them one and the same. While Chet may be paranoid about the stuff in his underwear or whatever, he still does quite a few things to ensure that Rant becomes the Rant he needs to be, such as leaving him outside when the blackwidow bit him, telling him to save his mother,etc. Not only that, but i think his actions with Echo and co. Show enough familiarity that it seems unlikely that Chet isn’t Rant. Plus the car dealer, following their encounter, refers to Chet Casey as Rant Casey.

    As for the plot hole where GTS impregnates his ancestors and yet Rant and Chet are as old as Echo who was 8 when GTS hit her, im going to attribute that to my favourite Doctor Who logic: “Wibbly, wobbly, timey wimey”. Either that, or his splintered time causes Echo’s timeline to change and she is somehow born earlier. I honestly just think that Chuck eventually just confused himself when he wrote the book and that he just missed that plot hole.

    As for some of the other characters who create more loose ends than they tie up, i think it’s safe to say that a sequel is/was planned as they seem to set up the plot for something further, but after 6 years who really knows?
    I’ve been puzzling over this book for almost a year now ans have gotten nowhere lol.

  23. Mike

    Ok. So im working on a theory of my own. It’ll take some time to put it together but thanks for this it’s damn good! I can’t believe how hard it was to find discussions of this book. Soon as I can organize my thoughts and reread it some I’d love to share what I come up with on this one.

  24. I just noticed the date of this post goes back to February 1, 2010! Talk about time travel…

    I have always been a fan of time travel, and I read Rant about 5 months ago, it gave me a whole new perspective on the subject. I think it’s time to read it again, read your theory again and go deeper on mine.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks, dude! Yeah, I’ve been planning on rereading the book, too. Tell us if you find or realize something different after reading it again. I’m sure Rant fans would appreciate more insight into the story.

  25. Rique

    Thanks for putting this together way back when you did. Rant’s one of my favorite novels, but I needed someone else to lay things out like this to really help me understand.

  26. CubanBee

    Thanks for the great explanation and god discussion on this thread through the years. I’m listening to Rant for the second time (the audio version is excellent) and this gave me some perspective as I listen. Looking forward to posting when I’m done listening!

  27. From the Field Notes of Vinc Curtis

    I think the origin of rabies is from Shot. Remember Chet once told Buster that ‘Tell Shot never let his dog drinks in toilet.’ ? Because Chet knows the fact is: Rabies primal spread from that dog to Shot, and eventually Buster moves to the city and met Shot, he kissed Shot and photo it just for piss off his dad Chet, and because of Rant’s superhero-like physique, the variation in virus that will widely spread in nighttimer world.

    However, I don’t think rabies is a ‘key’ to reserve pioneering, even Neddy claimed that, I think they’re lying, or they’re just simply mistrust the rumors about it? We can’t proof, but I think they’re tried to mislead people for preventing them know the truth ‘key’ to back in time.

  28. Wow, that’s what I was searching for, what a information! existing here at this weblog, thanks admin of this site.

  29. Kyle Smith

    I agree with pretty much everything on here except for one thing. It seems to me that Rant and Chet are literally the exact same person, not just the same person back in time. The reason I say this is that rant’s Easter egg to echo said something like “you’ll see me in three days”. And sure enough Chet showed up 3 days later. That would only make sense if rant himself, after going back in time, was the Chet we’ve been reading about all along. That kind of flies in the face of the splintered time line theory, but again, the only way Chet would know when exactly to show up was if he was literally the Rant we’ve been reading about who went back but still remembered his promise to echo and showed up when he said he would.

    • Guaranteed

      Yeah because he’d need to have exact memory of when he jumped back in time (after 18 years) in order to meet up with his friends as seamlessly as he did. If he weren’t actually Rant, he would probably not know when to go to the City.

  30. Guaranteed

    I also think that Chet goes back in time for the sole purpose of killing gts. With gts dead, his family would no longer be threatened but some crazy dude trying to rape and kill them (let’s face it, he could rape them indefinitely to continue making himself stronger, which would also effectively end Chester/Buster’s time line and he would cease to exist). If he kills gts now, he is guaranteed to continue living and it would also ensure the safety of his mother and other ancestors. Win/win for Chet.

    On another note, i think that if you follow the logic of the book and Ned rewriting history so that boosting never happens, i think he also somehow creates the stigma around incest in our world so that nothing like what happens with Rant ever happens again.

    I now also think that the rabies IS vital to time travel, though i didnt before, becauss that would explain no time travel in our timeline. No one would willingly infect themselves with a deadly virus (especially if they know what happens at the end) so time travel is effectively impossible in our world.

    Hope that made sense.

  31. I am so confused by what you have written but I know what your saying makes sense, I think I just need to catch up!! I am going to study this book for uni and I think what you have wrote will come in handy when going through my notes so thank you :-)

    • Thank you! You’ll understand the theory once you read and study the book thoroughly. Hope it helps you somehow. :)

      • Can I just ask you what you thought about the structure of the book, it being an oral history and how you think that played a part in the narrative? I like how its structured but I do find that it means that some of the characters get forgotten at the end of it. I am sure this is to add to whole mystery behind the story and I was left thinking maybe that was Chucks point in that its not a quick fix so to speak but rather we as readers are left in the experience of it. I do agree that life is so fast now that in some ways we don’t get a chance to live it we just bypass it if that makes sense. Anyway enough Ranting! from me any comments welcome :-)

  32. tommyd

    First of all, brilliant book. I particularly enjoyed the ‘tooth fairy’ theme whereby parents and their kids continue lying to each other, knowing that they are each lying, but constantly concealing their knowledge of the lie.

    Admittedly I’m not done ‘analysing’ a lot of other parts of the book, and I would probably benefit from reading it again. But here’s the way I’ve interpreted the Green Taylor Simms/Chet Casey/Rant Casey time travel side of things so far:

    Green Taylor Simms: ‘The original version’ of ‘Rant Casey’; by which I mean that I believe Green Taylor Simms was once just a normal boy who grew up in Middleton, born to Irene Casey. He moved to the city, and ended up going back in time through Party Crashing, etc. etc. His entire persona is completely different to that of Chet or Rant Casey because their lives (and genetics) have been completely changed due to Green’s intervention.

    Chet Casey: Is Rant Casey. The Rant that we know is supposedly told about the whole time travel thing by Green Taylor Simms – Rant goes back to save his mum from being raped by Green Taylor Simms, but is too late and so Rant Casey is born… With the Rant Casey who came back to save his mum changing his name to Chet and raising himself.

    Rant Casey: Although the same person, lives a different childhood to that of ‘Chet’ Casey (although ultimately still ends up moving to the city and going back in time again, continuing the cycle).

    One thing I do find interesting, if my theory is correct, is the incident in which Rant is bitten by a black widow when he is a child and ‘left to die’ by Chet. Maybe Chet left him because he knew that the moment would not kill him, but would be a defining moment for Rant’s character? Or maybe Chet left him because he thought that maybe he would die – which would be theoretically beneficial for Chet. (I believe the latter to be most likely).

    Thoughts?

    • Guaranteed

      No having Rant killed off would NOT benefit Chet. Chet already failed to prevent GTS from raping irene, so it’s up to Rant to make sure it doesn’t happen. There’s also no way of becoming immortal by killing your past self so there would be no gain for Chet except maybe no more headache. So i’m going to say that Chet left Rant with the bite because he knew that Rant would not be Rant without it. The bite is what leads Rant to get bitten by other wild animals as the book progresses. If you recall from the description of Chet, he is COVERED in scars the same way Rant is. So no, it’s not an act motivated by hate that causes Rant to be left alone, but an act motivated by the knowledge that without the bite Rant may not become who he needs to be.

  33. Just wanted to clarify something that was bothering me about previous posts. Chet tells Rant to tell Shot (feeling like I am high school again here lol) Not to let the dog drink out of the toilet. Here is why. Chet knows that (he)Rant is going to infect Shot with rabies when they kiss. He also knows that Shot’s dog will get the virus from drinking out of the toilet. How does the virus get in the toilet you may ask? Shot says that when he brushes his teeth he spits in the toilet, he also states that he re-infected himself accidently by not replacing his tooth brush. SO… Rant gives Shot Rabies. Shot spits into the toilet while brushing his teeth, the dog drinks from the toilet contracting the virus, goes nuts and attacks Shot. Hope that clears that up.

  34. Jonathan Benjamin

    There’s only one reality being reshuffled by people leaping back in time, creating themselves as doubles born outside of the prime timeline, as once they leap, the existence they had no longer exists, except in their own memories, effectively going around the grand father paradox, as the entity is decoupled from the causal origins by becoming a copy. Characters do not seem to be able to leap back into the future.

    So here is how I think it goes and the two main questions it leaves :

    Charles Casey lives a normal life as a normal person until he first leaps in time somewhere between his 20′s and 30′s

    Charles Casey leaps in time by crashing into Echo Lawrence and her parents.

    He leaps as far back as three generations worth of years, screws with his great-granny, conceives his own grandmother.

    Comes back 13 years later, screws his daughter who is also his grand mother and conceives his mother.

    Comes back 13 more years later, screws his other daughter, his own mother and conceives Chet Casey.

    Goes on to live in the big city.

    Chet Casey is born. He lives a life similar to Rant, but without the father figure he will become for the other copy of himself.

    Chet Casey goes to live in the big city, meets Echo Lawrence, Shot Dunyun.

    Somewhere between the time Chet was born and when he meets Charles, Charles learns, probably from other historians (maybe from Karl Waxman), that the theory going around is that you can become a total god by resolving your origins, by killing his great-granny, granny and mother. He couldn’t have learned this before meeting Irene and conceiving Chet, or else he would’ve already have resolved his origins.

    After Charles and Chet meet and spend some time party crashing together, Charles lays it all out on him. Who he is, where they both come from, and how they can both become gods if Chet could just pretty please go back into the past to kill their mother (getting rid of Chet and resolving his origins in one fell swoop). It’s the same thing he asks Rant at the end of the book. Chet gets furious, Charles tells him he’ll do it himself if he has too. A chase similar to the one at the end of Rant insues, they both leap into the past, Charles gets sent further into the past than the first time, now with the intention of resolving his origins, while Chet ends-up just after Rant gets conceived, with the intention of protecting Irene from the original* Charles.

    Now comes my two questions. First of all, who is Rant dealing with when it comes to Green Taylor Simms? When Charles Casey leaps back a second time along with Chet, no matter if it’s further in the past than the first time, the moment will come in that reality he is now in when the first Charles Casey will appear for the first time (from the car crash with Echo’s parents), effectively creating yet another copy. There should be two Green Taylor Simms aka Charles Casey in Rant’s life, along with Chet obviously. The Charles Casey who jumped two times, and the one who jumped only once. Which version befriends Rant? What happened to the other one? Which all leads to my second big question: Did Chet save Irene by killing the Charles who leaped twice, the one who was trying to resolve his origins and was seemingly succeeding throughout Rant’s childhood by killing both greatgranny and granny? This would explain why the Green Taylor Simms Rant met had not already resolved his origins, because he was the Green Taylor Simms who had only leaped once, and did not already know about resolving origins when he met up and boinked with his ancestry. There is no other way this works without two original Charles Casey, because the Green Taylor Simms Rant knew isn’t the same one as Chet knew, because otherwise he wouldn’t ask him the same favor twice about killing his own mother, and also having started to do it himself like we saw in Rant’s childhood. Whatever happened to the one who was trying to resolve his origins, the one who leaped back into the past at the same time as Chet? Did the original GTS get him, or did Chet get him before he could kill Irene?

    Those are the questions I hope a sequel will one day answer…

    • Guaranteed

      I think your questions just leave an even larger amount of discontinuity in the story. Im pretty adament in think that Rant and Chet are the same person at different points in their shared lifetime, rather than seperate people sharing dna and similar experiences. Now if you want to know where the second GTS goes, im pretty sure hes the ‘historian’ talking about rant in the book. So clearly he succeeded in some way to become immortal.

  35. Jonathan Benjamin

    RE: Garanteed

    The reason why Echo is older in both Rant and Chet’s lives is because Charles Casey is a pedophile quite simply. In all liklelyhood, Greatgranny didn’t get pregnant of granny at 13, nor did granny get pregnant of Irene at 13, and neither did Irene get pregnant of Charles at 13. They all did in the case of Chet and Rant, which cuts out a lot of years if they were all pregnant at around 18 the first time around in Charles’ orginal timeline. It’s between 15 and 25 years of difference between both timelines, which explains why Echo was younger when Charles had his accident with her parents.

    It’s not a plot hole.

    • Guaranteed

      Ok, but if echo follows her normal timeline, then Rant should be way older than her. With GTS raping his mother’s line, it takes 39 years for him to be born. Then another 18 for him to leave for the city. So 57 years before he leaves Middleton. If ypu arbitrarily say that in GTS’s timeline, his great grandmother, grandmother, and mother have kids at 20, that’s 60 years before he’s born, then another 18 before he goes to the city and crashes into 8 year old echo. So in the original timeline, 70 years before echo is born. In rant’s timeline, she was born in the same hear aa him, that would mean 31 years before she was born in GTS’s timeline. How is that not a gaping wound of a plothole?

  36. Matherly

    I’ve read Rant twice and the only conclusion i didn’t come to, the only one you mentioned that I didn’t think of, was that Chet and Rant weren’t the same person….or were, was, is? Whatever.Awesome article though. This is my favorite Palahniuk novel to day, seconded by Survivor, which you should check out. I feel it really plays on the medias effect on someone and how, if someone was to rise to global fame, would only want their story to be heard, even if they have to die to tell it.

  37. jordan

    Wouldn’t the fact that there is no epidemic now be proof that rant successfully saved his mom?

  38. jordan

    I think that you are right! If so wouldn’t the fact that there is no epidemic be proof that rant successfully saved his mom?

    • Rick Iafrate

      It could also mean that Irene was killed by future simms. Either way it means rant has never been born and chet, rant and simms are historians.

  39. Rick Iafrate

    Everyone always seems to look over this fact but Green Taylor Simms is credited as a historian. Meaning SOMETHING happened when Rant went back for certain. Either Irene is dead or Rant succeeded. Or both for all that matters. That doesn’t mean much but it does mean that either Rant stopped simms or the future “old simms” killed Irene before rant could get there.

    The book is confirming that Simms is immortal and exists outside of time. Also Echo would become a historian just by stopping her 8 year old self from getting into the car with her parents. Her parents could die in the crash regardless of whether echos 8 yr old body hit them or not. OR they could’ve successfully been transported to the past. Either way Echo would avoid the deformations she originally had.

  40. Eric

    Awesome theories and comments! I just finished the novel, reading 130 pages straight… and all I could do is keep reading all of the theories because all of you have made so much more sense of it all… Damn my eyes hurt.

  41. Phew Thats a great attempt to clarify this dense work of prose… I read Rant about 6 years ago and just re engaged with it as an Audio book which has been a great way to pick up on the different voices io the book although from reading your clarifications their should have been more similarities between some than I have appreciated… I love the tone and flavour of Mr Palahniuk’s writing so I dont always worry if I miss or “under”stand his work, I know I’ll get a chance to reread or see it in a different medium… but this has been great, I am currently putting an article together about “Liminality” that was cemented by my recent listen to Rant and your work has inspired me to pull it together… thanks :-) I will be scouring your blog for more

  42. Albert

    Great text, man. I must say it opened my eyes for some details i’d missed. After reading this I remembered that the girl found naked laughing after the accident can’t be Tina Something, at least I think, because on the 36th chapter (Hit Men II) Tina is commenting about what Waxman said after seeing her (naked lady).. “That’s where I want to get”. To me it’s clear that Tina was with Waxman in the accident scene and saw him saying those words about another woman (probably Echo). As Tyler Durden would say… “But that’s me, and I could be wrong”. Anyway, it’s another epic novel Chuck wrote that is making me a bigger fan of his work. Thanks for the enlightment on the book.

  43. Davana

    I pretty much got the same analysis: HOWEVER! Your account doesn’t mention one of the pretty important components for time travel: Rabies. When “Charles Casey/ Taylor Green Simms” went to the city originally people would have had ports for boosting right? So that means that they wouldn’t have been able to time travel unless they had rabies. My theory is the Charles Casey was born a natural super spreader for rabies. He didn’t know it. He went to the city and through his interaction with the traffic testers- gave them rabies. Therefore he is the reason they were able to go back in time in the first place. Remember when he wakes up in the past the they say, “Did you know you had rabies?” And think about the preface to the book “Do you ever wish you’d never been born.” So if everyone went back into the past and succeeded like they hoped too. Echo would create a world with clean air, Shot would eliminate boosting, Neddy would get rid of the I-SEE-U-ACT. And Rant would prevent himself from ever being born. So the traffic people would never get rabies- they would never be able to travel back in time. And the entire story ceases to exist.

  44. Buster Casey ;)

    I know the REAL TRUE ENDING!

    Proof Included from Chuck’s AMA on Reddit Last year (verified)

    So this is what happens:

    Rant goes back to the moment when his maternal grandmother was fated to first meet his maternal grandfather. He steps in and foils the introduction, thus preventing his own birth. This action places him outside of physical time and space. Leaving him immortal.

    Chuck also states that after that action, Rant begins to seek out other Immortals. He also claims that he has written most of the second book.

    What I enjoyed about finally learning the truth about what happened is that I always assumed Rant had gone back to approximately the same moment in time that Chet had, only a few minutes early rather than late. Providing Rant enough time to stop Green Taylor Simms from raping Irene. Understanding and now actually knowing that Rant went way further back in time (about 40 years or so) than I ever imagined and just interrupted his bloodline completely by foiling the initial introduction of his grandparents, thus leaving him immortal, is just brilliant! I wish more people knew the truth! Spread the word!!

    Proof from Chuck Palahniuk’s Verified AMA on Reddit: http://tinypic.com/r/2njjcpu/8

  45. Jenny Spiers

    Awesome interpretation! Changed the way I saw the book – what do you think of the recently-announced film version?

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