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11/22/63

15 Jan 2018

A recommendation from Taya led me to pick up 11/22/63, yet another Stephen King book that she said I would enjoy. It turns out that I should have started reading King a long time ago because he has so many books and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one that I have read so far. This book is part sci-fi, part historical fiction, part thriller. Definitely not in the standard horror genre that many of his other books fit in to.

The primary theme of this book is that the narrative of time is something that we live within and breaking out of that requires the same amount of effort as swimming against the current. The more decisive a particular moment is to the future, the faster the current moves against you. Now this is all hypothetical and fantastical as it involves time travel through the store room of a diner. But the idea that the past would fight against the agent of change seems plausible. At one point someone refers to the future or past or time as malevolent, and the main character says that isn't the word he'd use (as obdurate is clearly the one that is hammered in as the word of choice) but that he gets the sentiment. It is easy for us to personify things like time because our own sense of freedom of choice is scary.

I have read a lot about time travel throughout my life, including from the science side about how certain types of time travel could be possible. This book met most of the time travel genre's criticisms head on by being written in the first person by someone who could just say well I was an english major so it hurts my head to think about those issues. Things like killing your own grandpa in the past are necessarily pardoxical, and I am usually the first to rail against a piece of fiction that violates those principles. However, I felt okay with the way things were explained away in this book. There was something comforting that made the suspension of disbelief easy to digest.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you lived during this time. I have a feeling those that can understand the nostaglia of the late fifties and early sixties from personal experience will find this book to be that much more enjoyable.


Category: book