Thursday, May 31, 2012

22/11/63 or 11/22/63?

I keep getting the title wrong. I know what it stands for (the day JFK was assassinated) and my non-USA-formatted mind keeps referring to it as 22/11/63, not 11/22/63. Either way, you know the book I mean. Stephen King's time travel epic. About JFK. The very thick one, the one that makes you wish you'd bought it on Kindle so that your wrists don't get sore from holding it up. Yeah, that one.

It took me a few days to get into 22/11/63... er... 11/22/63. As a JFK conspiracy theory nut, I loved the premise: oh, to go back in time and see what's what! As a scientist, though, I was cautious: would preventing the assassination be ultimately better for the world? As a reader, I wanted to be swept by the pace of the novel, only to be left drifting to admire the world in 1958, with its cigarette smoke haze and its root beer that tasted food-additive free.

Don't get me wrong: it was a great journey. Today's world is too rushed, too global, too connected, too commercial, so I revelled in the slower pace of half a century ago. It's just that the pace was more literary-novel than thriller. I can live with that.

The book introduces several intriguing ideas, so if you're a time travel fan, read it. If you're a history fan, read it. If you're not a horror book reader, read it.

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