The classic time-traveler’s dilemma: if you could go back in time and, say, kill Hitler before he could make his rise to power, and so prevent World War II and the holocaust—would you do it, not knowing what this act may change?
In Stephen King’s 11.22.63 Jake Epping doesn’t get the chance to go back and kill Hitler. There’s no time machine. Just a wormhole to 11:58 a.m. on September 9, 1958. That means that, by just hanging around a bit in the past, he eventually might get a chance to prevent Kennedy getting shot in Dallas, on Elm Street, on November 22nd, 1963, and thus making the world a better place. You know, that other old tid-bit about butterflies flapping their wings and hurricanes in China.
But of course, it’s a Stephen King novel, so it isn’t that straightforward. Our hero finds that the past doesn’t like to be changed, and that actually living in the past generates its own set of complications. Also, you have to account for Hitler’s Time Travel Exemption Act.
Let’s be clear: as a self-confessed Stephen King fanboy, I find it hard to be objective about 11.22.63. I just think it’s a damn fine book, definitely one of his best.
- Book read
- Stephen King — 22.11.63 (a novel)
- First line
- I have never been what you’d call a crying man.