Hey Bookworms, what did YOU do last weekend? January is pretty bleak in the Midwest. It’s cold. Sometimes it snows. It gets dark early. Not fun. The only good part about cold weather is that you’re not expected to leave the house to be productive. It is perfectly acceptable to spend the weekend READING while lounging in front of the fire… Under a blanket… In your penguin slippers.
I spent the entirety of my weekend snuggled up under blankets, reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I’m pretty careful when it comes to Stephen King… I tread lightly because I don’t like having nightmares. I’m not a fan of scary clowns. The dead? Let them rest in peace. Don’t go raising them just to scare me. I absolutely REFUSE to go into “haunted houses” at Halloween. Just no. I’m anxious enough, thankyouverymuch. However, I decided to give King another shot because I really enjoyed The Stand.
11/22/63 isn’t a ghost story, it’s a time travel story! I feel like I repeat myself a lot on this blog, but… I LOVE TIME TRAVEL! An average guy in Maine (and obviously it’s Maine, because it’s Stephen King and he always writes about Maine) stumbles upon a bubble in the time space continuum that takes him back to 1958. Well, he doesn’t exactly stumble upon it. He’s introduced to it and given a mission. He’s to go back in time and make sure Kennedy does NOT get assassinated. The theory behind his mission is that the Kennedy assassination put any number of rotten scenarios into motion: the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Vietnam War, global warming…
So our average guy, Jake, decides to make this happen, for the good of mankind and all. Can you imagine the kind of power you’d have in the past? Haven’t we all had the same fantasy while watching Back To The Future? By going back in time, you’d have the advantage of knowing the next big stock, the winner of the next big game. You could make a fortune. How would what you changed affect the future?! Would your changes cause you to disappear a la Marty McFly? Would your changes result in hideous wars and pestilence? Or would your changes result in… wait for it… WORLD PEACE?!
Jake’s journey through his the 50s isn’t an easy one. Every time he tries to make a significant change to the past, he’s met with ridiculous and endless obstacles. Turns out, the past isn’t fond of being meddled with. Several times throughout the book, Jake refers to the past as an angry machine with teeth. I’m about to admit something terrible for a book snob. I never finished reading The Langoliers… I watched the miniseries instead. All I could picture when I read “angry machine with teeth” in reference to time travel were those badly animated cannonballs with teeth that devoured the stale past in The Langoliers. I’m not THAT familiar with King, but I know that he combined a lot of elements of his different novels into The Dark Tower Series. I’m not sure if King was intentionally pulling a Dark Tower here or if he was just out of ideas, but, dude. I noticed.
I’m not going to be Spoilerella today, so I won’t tell you if Jake’s mission succeeds, or if he breaks the future, or if he gets everything he ever wanted. You can read it for yourself if you’re curious. All in all? I liked this book. It was long, as King novels tend to be, but it was entertaining. The best part? It’s unlikely to give you nightmares. You time travel aficionados will likely find this as amusing as I did.
So Bookworms, if you could go back in time, what major event would you change? Do you think there would be unintended nasty consequences to your changes?