The main piece of advice handed to writers is ‘re-write, re-write and re-write’. It’s as though Stephen King possesses the ability to bypass this ordinance and release masterpiece-after-masterpiece in record time. He’s a freak! It’s even crossed my mind that he could be a guise for a league of writers. You never know! At the time of writing he has 50 published novels (inc. 11.22.63 and titles under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman), which equates to releasing 1 book every year since the age of 15! That’s quite a good fact, you can use that!
11.22.63 centres around Jake Epping & his time travelling alter ego George Amberson. Jake is acquainted with Al Templeton the owner of a diner he frequents. For what appears to be no reason at all-and what seems out of the blue- Al is on his last legs. Coughing and spluttering blood everywhere, he unveils with a sense of urgency a black hole in the back of the diner that has the ability to transport its user back to 1958! The rules are; the amount of time spent in the past, know matter how long, equate to 2 minutes of the present. With every journey a reset occurs in the continuum and anything that has changed is now undone..are you following this? Al convinces George (via the act of suicide) to prevent the world from changing at a time when political decisions inevitably lead to wars and the severe loss of life. To change the course of history George is tempted into the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald and stop the assassination of John F Kennedy.
Like a bungee run with a concrete floor, Jake boundlessly tests the obdurate past pulling the nerve of paradoxical strength.
You’d think chipping away from the narrative spine would really topple this book, however it’s the making of it. What was thought to be an epic story centred on a revengeful paradox soon becomes a tangled love story made even more complex by its occupants.
It’s not just the semantics of Stephen King’s storytelling but also the way in which he drip feeds dark harmonics. Jake tests fate (literally) by carrying out a defensive kill to prevent his future friend from growing into a cripple. A creepy ‘yellow card man’ -who despite basic time travel rules-senses Jake’s lunge at change. These episodic notes are extremely intriguing and it comes as no surprise that it’s been optioned for a TV series by-yes, you named it!- JJ Abrams.
Like that sexy girl you meet, I was ultimately attracted to this book because of it’s looks, Time travel. Back to the Future, HG Wells and The Twilight Zone, I love them all! But like lust, the dust settles and it’s always about what’s inside and how fulfilled that girl can make you feel. In the case of 11.22.63 I found a keeper! Glass hour curves, a little nutty but overall a caring heart that will do everything it can to make things right.
Stephen King’s articulation to hone in sci-fi, complex characters and timeline jumping narrative shows impeccable talent. Girls if you think time travel is nerdy guess again. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good story. Love, strength & sacrifice, its got it all!
NB. I found this over on Stephen King’s Official Site, an alternative ending to 11.22.63 (please note this is in flash and won’t work on Apple devices).