I keep thinking about time travel. What if I could travel back in time? What would I change, if anything? Considering the butterfly effect, even the most minute differences in past actions could have a drastic effect on the future.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that all of the small occurances within one’s life build and build to create our current reality. Any small change could send somebody’s life, or all of history, veering off into another direction.
This is the premise of Stephen King’s newest novel 11/22/63. Any fan of Stephen King will know right away that this isn’t his typical type of story, although, also typically King, it is extremely imaginative.
It’s 2012, and recently divorced highschool teacher Jake Epping is just going through the motions, trying to make life work for him. All of that changes one day when he discovers what he calls a “rabbit hole” where he can travel back in time to a specific date and place in 1959. While thinking about what past event he could change to have the maximum beneficial impact on future life, he comes to the decision that he must prevent John F. Kennedy from being assassinated.
The portal allows for whoever is using it to re-enter it and return to the present, although if you enter the “rabbit hole” again and travel back to 1959, then the whole thing re-sets, and whatever you have changed in the past is no longer affecting the future (or so it seems). So Jake’s mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination comes down to him finding and killing (or stopping) Lee Harvey Oswald from pulling the trigger. But what if the conspiracy theorists are right and Oswald was set-up and really had nothing to do with the assassination? Jake has to make sure he’s got the right man before he acts.
And so begins the adventure’s of Jake Epping (now George Amberson, to be on the safe side) in what he calls the “Land of Ago”. The momentum builds to a breathtaking climax as Jake struggles against the obdurate past to alter history for the better
11/22/63 is an immensely enjoyable and believable story. With a thorough knowledge of American culture in the 1960′s, King takes us back to a time before internet and cell phones, where doctor’s smoke cigarettes and racial bigotry still ruled much of the land. This brilliant story ends with a mind bending twist that will keep you awake at night wondering what you would change if you could go back and do it all over again.
Thanks for reading!