Time Travel discussion

11/22/63
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Book Club Discussions > 11-22-63 (by Stephen King): General Discussion

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message 1: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Jun 21, 2012 01:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
About the Author: Stephen King Stephen King
Stephen King is the author of this novel. I suppose that if you're not familiar with him, you've been living under a rock for the past few decades and probably need to be left there.

About the Novel: 11/22/63 by Stephen King 11/22/63
GoodReads Blurb ...
...Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. ... [His] friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time. ...


Where to Buy: This is one you can find practically anywhere. Since it's Stephen King and Kennedy all wrapped up in one nice, neat little 849-paged package, I bet you could even find it at your grocery store. There is a way to get a free edition of the audio book, but the audio book is 30 hours and 44 minutes long. Eek! (I bet you read faster than that in your head.) Please note that there are 2 different Kindle editions of the book. $2 more will buy you a 13-minute film "written and narrated by Stephen King and enhanced with historic footage from CBS News, that will take you back—as King’s novel does—to Kennedy era America." However, the audio/video content is only available for iPads, iPhones, & iPod Touch devices. Wow. I can't believe that 425 pieces of paper and a cover cost less to produce than a paperless version ...

Audible Audio Edition w/ 30-day Trial Membership: FREE
Hardcover: $11.50-$23.10
Paperback: $13.59
Kindle: $16.99
Enhanced Kindle Edition with Audio/Video (for Apple devices): $18.99
Audible Audio Edition: $44.95

When to Read:
June 15 - August 15

Spoilers:
Please use spoiler tags when discussing spoilers. To learn how to, please click on the "(some html is okay)" link on the far right above the "comment" box.


message 2: by John, Moderator in Memory (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
In reference to the Kindle Edition with the extra video, it states that the audio/video content is only available for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices. I was considering shelling out the extra $2, but I am a lowly droid user. Darn it. I'm suprised the special audio/video editon isn't compatible with the Kindle Fire. Not that I have one, just saying.


message 3: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
John wrote: "In reference to the Kindle Edition with the extra video, it states that the audio/video content is only available for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices. I was considering shelling out the ext..."

Thanks for noticing that!


message 4: by Melanie (new) - added it

Melanie | 50 comments Hey good point! I have a Fire so I'd pay the extra if it would work.


Chris (chrismd) | 2 comments Just a carry over from the pre-discussion thread: I have never read Stephen King before. In fact, I pretty much swore I would never read Stephen King. I don't do well with horror, creepy, etc. But I love time travel and the JFK assassination link was enough to make me curious. I picked up the book on display at the library and 20 minutes later I was still standing there reading. It's easily the best book I've read in a number of years.


message 6: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
DISCUSSION QUESTION #1
Are you normally a reader of Stephen King novels? Did it affect your desire to give this one a try?

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2
In this novel, any time you travel back in time, it's to the exact same day and time. Thus, everything is reset with the future as a clean slate. What do you think about the time travel rules Stephen King has set up in this novel?

DISCUSSION QUESTION #3
Stephen King has set his novel in a very detailed 1950s. Have you read any other time travel novels that truly have felt as if they were transporting you to that time or place with a similar level of detail?


Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 421 comments Question 1: I have read very few Stephen King, with very mixed results, I loved Carrie, was so-so on Thinner, and had a really hard time getting through The Stand. So I was ot sure what to expect on this one, but the subject matter beign time travel swayed me to want to read it.

Question 2: The "clean slate" rule has its pros and cons. If you go back in time and really screw things up, you can always come back and start over. but you are aging with each reset, so having to wait aroudn until the event you want to chagne happens, could really age you if you got it worng too many times. It does have its advanatages if you re just wanting to go back in time to buy things at cheap prices though!

Question 3: I loved reliving the old way of life through Stephen King's eyes. although I am a little to young to actually remember things exactly the way they were experienced by the character in the book, it did bring back some good and bad memories from my childhood. Makes you realized that progress is not always for the good!


message 8: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Amy:

#1) I think I've read every King book so far execpt this TT one, strange given I write TT books myself.

#2) Any take on TT is a twist on any one of the standard treatments, so telling it in a different way is the trick & King is free to follow any rules he wishes, I did.

#3) Not to push but you asked & my latest TT novel is very historical & so many people have asked 'what's real & what's not' that I wrote the followling note to include in the new illustrated edition:

Notes on History
________________________

For continuity, a few historic timelines were altered. For example, Sir Francis Walsingham died before his protégé, but only by a short interval. Otherwise, the plot unfolds within the eras described unhampered by fiction.

Caesar, Agrippa, and the Roman cohort are portrayed accurately and the Battle of Munda in 45 BC Iberia did change the flow of western civilization. While some experts deny Agrippa was present at the celebrated encounter on the plain, others disagree. Whatever the case, he never wrote an account as depicted.

Many historians hold that Marlowe, undeniably a literary genius, was also a spy, and some even think his earlier arrest in Holland (not in this book) was an undercover endeavor, conceived to infiltrate Catholics plotting against the Queen.
Exacting details of his murder are documented, for there was an inquest.
Henry Percy, known to history as the Wizard Earl, and Lord Burlghley, etc. were real people and the politics involved is a correct representation of the times.

The bizarre facts of Schumann’s true life are beyond numerous. As well as being a highly prolific composer, he virtually invented the academic study of music and competent experts often quote him to this day. Given his near lifelong chronic mental condition, his piercing and diverse output in so many fields is astounding.
While his symptoms are now well known, only a few of them have been employed in this reconstruction. His doctors, and the therapy they attempted during his last days at the asylum are true portrayals. Brahms, who was there as indicated, left a detailed accounting in numerous letters, the pertinent passages of which were later reworked and published for posterity’s sake.
As stated, Clara and her father were indeed famous, and their relationships with the eminent musicians covered in this book are a fair approximation.

Note on Context
_______________________

The unnamed ancient civilization, and the true purpose of the hardware it created, is the subject of my first Epic Fable entitled Beyond the Elastic Limit, published by PreCognitionPress, in book or ebook.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

No I am not. And actually wouldn't have given this book a 2nd look except my brother-in-law, who is also not a King reader, suggested it.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

It's a very interesting angle on time travel. It's one that works very well for this book, but I don't necessarily think would carry over to other time travel stories or scenarios.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #3

I have to say that this book did one of the best books I've ever read on any topic of making me feel 'inside' the story.


Chris (chrismd) | 2 comments 1. First King I've ever read. I was blown away by how good the writing was.

2. I liked the rules of this time travel. But I thought it wasn't just a reset. Each time he went back he created a new time thread that the drunk with the colored card (and others presumably like him) had to keep track of. That's why they drank. I thought that was a real interesting touch, especially if you think of how many times the diner owner went back just to buy meat!

3. I think a sense of period detail is critical to time travel stories. I loved the 50s, early 60s world King created. I also thought it was a time not everyone would feel comfortable traveling back to. Jake was the right man to fit in.


message 11: by Glynn (last edited Jun 27, 2012 04:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Glynn | 235 comments Q1. I have read a number of Mr. Kings books and they are pretty formulaic. This one seems to be following the trend. He's an entertaining writer though so I might make it to the end...

Q2. This time travel rule seems good as any and in this book's context (as someone else mentioned) it works.

Q3. Haven't gotten far enough to really feel the detail but it is a good thing. I think To Say Nothing of the Dog did a pretty good job with sense of detail. I knew nothing of that time and place before reading it


message 12: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Jun 27, 2012 11:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Question #1
While I've enjoyed several Stephen King movies (minus the child-with-supernatural-powers element), I've been reluctant to read his books. I tend to prize brevity over loquaciousness when it comes to words in books and assumed that his 900-paged books were filled largely with superfluousness. Plus, I find holding large books to be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. So, other than reading Carrie when a cousin passed it to me years ago (and trashing it after reading it so my mother wouldn't find it), I've never read King. I have to say that my preconceived notions about reading him have been wrong if this book is any indication. I'm finding my eyes not being able to read as quickly as I want to get through some of the pages in the more suspenseful parts. I'm finding myself enjoying being completely absorbed in the world of the book in a way that you can't in a short book. 850 pages gives the author room to develop the characters and the setting such that the reader can take up residence in the book for a while.

Question #2
I like the rules that King has set up for his time travelers. It's very nice and neat and allows the time traveler not to have to deal with the what-ifs of encountering himself. It also allows the time-traveler to re-do mistakes. And since he has to have the patience of months or years to re-do the mistakes that he made, he has plenty of time to decide how to remedy his mistakes or whether or not the cause is worthwhile for months or years of waiting. Another bonus of this time travel formula is that it allows an author to not have to explain the time travel in any scientific terms whatsoever.

Question 3:
So many time travel authors seem to handle time travel like being plopped down in the middle of a history book. But truly finding yourself in the past would not be facts and numbers as much as it would be the way people talk, the food they eat, the culture of the time, and the scenery of the time. I like how King is focusing on the details of real life in the late '50s and early '60s rather than just the historical event and people surrounding the assassination of Kennedy. I enjoy details such as how the time traveler has discovered that food is better in the past, enjoys seeing stately elm trees in the landscape that are a rarity in our time, wows everyone with his lindy hop, and how he tries to integrate the time period's slang into his speech without realizing that he's saying phrases that are unfamiliar slang to the time period. I think that the only time travel books that have really transported me to the time period like this are Jack Finney's time travel series beginning with Time and Again.

Aside...
By the way, has anyone else cast the main character, Jake, as Will, the student-inspiring glee club director from the television show Glee? If this ever becomes a movie, I'd be very disappointed not to see him stereotyped into the part.


message 13: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
DISCUSSION QUESTION #4
While waiting for time to pass, Jake occupies his time in the past by teaching high school again. He makes his mark on the past by being a teacher who inspires his students by his belief in them and care for them. This ideal type of teacher seems great fodder for fiction (Dead Poet's Society, Glee, Mr. Holland's Opus), but have you ever had such an inspiring teacher in real life?

DISCUSSION QUESTION #5
If you were a time traveler with a mission like Jake's, would you tell anyone in the past that you were a time traveler or would you keep it from even your closest friends and/or lovers? Why or why not?

DISCUSSION QUESTION #6
Who do you think might make good actors for some of the main character parts if this were to become a movie?


Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 421 comments Amy wrote: By the way, has anyone else cast the main character, Jake, as Will, the student-inspiring glee club director from the television show Glee? If this ever becomes a movie, I'd be very disappointed not to see him stereotyped into the part.
I hadn't thought of that Amy, but now that you mention it-yes i could see it!


message 15: by Andy (new) - added it

Andy Taylor (sooguy) | 89 comments "DISCUSSION QUESTION #1
Are you normally a reader of Stephen King novels? Did it affect your desire to give this one a try?


A. I haven't read any Stephen King in ages. I think The Dark Tower series or Misery may have been the last one I read. I love some of his earlier work - The Stand, The Shining etc, but grew away from his style. I decided to give this one a chance because A) Stephen King (can't be any worse than Crichton's Timeline) B) It's Time Travel!

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2
In this novel, any time you travel back in time, it's to the exact same day and time. Thus, everything is reset with the future as a clean slate. What do you think about the time travel rules Stephen King has set up in this novel?


I found it interesting limitation that made for some unique challenges.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #3
Stephen King has set his novel in a very detailed 1950s. Have you read any other time travel novels that truly have felt as if they were transporting you to that time or place with a similar level of detail?


Actually this is one of my rules by which I measure a good time travel book. It needs to be able to make a time period I have little or no knowledge of resonate with me. If it doesn't it fails. I can think of several GREAT books that succeed in this.It also has to be integrated with the story and characters and can't be simple set dressings.

Time and Again by Jack Finney perfectly sets up an early 1880s New York City in such rich detail.

Household Gods by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove transport you to Roman Empire circa 170 A.D. in such detail that you wonder how they knew all that stuff about the period.

Canadian author Terrence Green also does this remarkably well in both Shadow of Ashland and in Witness to Life where he uses two different techniques to transport his characters through time and reveals some very rich historical settings (mainly Toronto).


message 16: by Andy (new) - added it

Andy Taylor (sooguy) | 89 comments Question 4 - Inspirational Teachers

Yes I have had a teacher like that. Mr. Henderson in my Grade 8 class is legendary. He was the first person that treat us "kids" like people and he was a very personable man in touch with his emotions. Everyone whose ever had him talks about him such glowing tones.

Question 5 - I am not sure. Depends on what the consequences were. If I was in the past as long as Jake I think I would have a hard time not telling someone.

Question 6 - Haven't given it much thought. I don't like casting characters much in my head.


Glynn | 235 comments I am about 1/3 of the way through and on page 270 Jake mentions books he reads while staying in the cabin. One of the books is about time-travelling people trying to uncover a lost speech of Abraham Lincoln. The book is The Lincoln Hunters and it actually exists. Maybe a good one for a future read?


message 18: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Glynn wrote: "I am about 1/3 of the way through and on page 270 Jake mentions books he reads while staying in the cabin. One of the books is about time-travelling people trying to uncover a lost speech of Abraha..."

Interesting. Keep it in mind for next time we nominate.


message 19: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Jul 04, 2012 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
My husband pointed out to me that parts of 11/22/63 is set in Derry, Maine which is the same town where Stephen King set his novel It by Stephen King It. It's the same town with the same history and same characters. The current novel refers back to Derry's past when a serial-killer terrorized the town in a clown costume. This is a theme prominently featured in It. A quick skim through the Wikipedia article for It, and you'll find several of the characters that Jake encounters during his visit to Derry such as the lindy-hopping Bev & Richie. Now I wish I'd read It first. Any insight from those who did read or watch It?


message 20: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Jul 01, 2012 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Oh, hmm ... this is the blurb from Amazon for It: "Moving back and forth between 1958 and 1985, the story tells of seven children in a small Maine town who discover the source of a series of horrifying murders. Having conquered the evil force once, they are summoned together 27 years later when the cycle begins again." 27 years later yet again would be 2012. Interesting. It makes me wonder how long Stephen King's been planning to write 11/22/63 with a wormhole backward from 2012 ... hmm ... Wonder what's happening in Derry in 2012.


Glynn | 235 comments "It" was also a tv mini-series. I caught a bit of the series but wasn't super interested in it when it came out. Never read the book. I knew there was something familiar about Derry when I was reading that part. They even mentioned clowns.


message 22: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Jul 02, 2012 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Okay, now that I have a good start on our BOM, I thought I would take a stab at our discussion questions.

#1 Are you normally a reader of Stephen King novels? Did it affect your desire to give this one a try? I have never been a big King fan. The last book I read was "Needful Things," which was only my fourth King book. The fact that this book is by King was not nearly as interesting as the fact that it is a time-travel book that has gotten some great reviews.

#2 In this novel, any time you travel back in time, it's to the exact same day and time. Thus, everything is reset with the future as a clean slate. What do you think about the time travel rules Stephen King has set up in this novel? It is definately a unique and interesting idea. I still can't get my head around (view spoiler). I keep wondering what would happen if he accidently slipped and fell back into the portal just as he was returning to the present. Everything he had worked so hard for would be erased instantly. That would suck.

#3 Stephen King has set his novel in a very detailed 1950s. Have you read any other time travel novels that truly have felt as if they were transporting you to that time or place with a similar level of detail? I did feel that way when I read "The Mirror" by Marlys Millhiser. However, it helped that I was familiar with the area and it's history.

#4 While waiting for time to pass, Jake occupies his time in the past by teaching high school again. He makes his mark on the past by being a teacher who inspires his students by his belief in them and care for them. This ideal type of teacher seems great fodder for fiction (Dead Poet's Society, Glee, Mr. Holland's Opus), but have you ever had such an inspiring teacher in real life? I had a band teacher in high school who was very inspiring when it came to helping students discover their musical talents. He made being a band geek in the 1980s seem cool.

#5 If you were a time traveler with a mission like Jake's, would you tell anyone in the past that you were a time traveler or would you keep it from even your closest friends and/or lovers? Why or why not? I would probably keep mum about being a time traveler. I would be more likely to say that I have had a vision of the future like Nostradamus. I think people might be a little more apt to believe that over the fact that I was a time traveler.

#6 Who do you think might make good actors for some of the main character parts if this were to become a movie? I usually don't think about a paticular actor as I read a book unless the movie is already in the works. When I read "The Hunger Games," the movie had already been cast, so I did picture those actors as I read. As a result, I was super excited to see the movie when it came out and never really got into the whole debate over whether Jennifer Lawrence could pull off Katniss.


message 23: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Jul 02, 2012 08:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
DISCUSSION QUESTION #4
I've never had a truly inspirational teacher. I had some really good ones, but none that tended to inspire change or greatness in their students.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #5
The problem of the time traveler is that they can't really tell someone that they're a time traveler without sounding insane. I think it would almost have to be something that you showed rather than told to someone that you became close to.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #6
I immediately saw Jake as Matthew Morrison (who plays Will, the student-inspiring glee club director from the television show Glee). I keep trying to cast Sadie. I think I've decided that a blonde Hilary Swank would be the best choice ... made taller through the magic of cinema ... or Deborah Ann Woll turned blonde.

Here's a site with Lee Harvey Oswald actor lookalikes: http://totallylookslike.icanhascheezb...


message 24: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken | 9 comments Love 11/22/63 so far (about 70% the way done.) Having recently finished the last of the Dark Tower series recently, it seems to me that Stephen King's latest books also seem to include references (commercials, sales pitches) for his earlier books. I haven't read It but it seems to be prevalent in this book. This story will stand on it's own easily, so I think I can pass on the rest of the infomercial part.


message 25: by John, Moderator in Memory (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Someone will have to help me with the references to "It" since I haven't read it, and I never saw the movie. I imagine it has something to do with (view spoiler)


message 26: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Sorry John, can't help you as I'm Time Traveling over the holiday & won't be back in your Timeframe until next week.

Enjoy the 4th everybody and

Happy Birthday America.


message 27: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken | 9 comments Nice book. (view spoiler)

After the whole of last year working through the Dark Tower series, I was officially tired of Stephen King, especially with the way that one ended and that we had all the references to It and 'Salem's Lot to put up with towards the end on a story that would easily stand on it's own. 11/22/63 easily stands on it's own without those references and no need for a series on this one.


message 28: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
This is definitely one of those books that, when you finish, you're not sure you can find another to take its place in exactly the same way.

I have to admit that I was hoping that the ending would be (view spoiler) (DO NOT CLICK THE SPOILER TAG UNLESS YOU WANT THE ENDING SPOILED FOR YOU!!!)

I found it interesting in the Afterward to this book to find that King had originally conceived of the book in the early '70s when the Kennedy assassination was fresher in the American mind and when the Vietnam war was something you'd definitely hope could be reversed by some change in history (such as Kennedy remaining in office longer).

Another thing I found interesting was that King had originally intended to dedicate this book to Jack Finney Jack Finney who wrote the only other time travel novel that truly swept me away into its world: Time and Again by Jack Finney Time and Again. I do wish we'd read it as a group some time.


Glynn | 235 comments This holiday break got to read steadily for a while. One word repeated over and over in this book is "obdurate." Will not forget what it means. Some other observations:
Pg 289 - "The past harmonizes with itself."
Pg 292 - "The past senses change agents and it has teeth."
Pg 310 - "The past is sly as well as obdurate, it fights back."


message 30: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Glynn wrote: "This holiday break got to read steadily for a while. One word repeated over and over in this book is "obdurate." Will not forget what it means. Some other observations:
Pg 289 - "The past harmoniz..."


I don't think I've ever seen this in any other time travel novel (the past fighting change). It does add an interesting element for sure. Of course, you have to ask why it's fighting so hard. During his final travel back in time, (view spoiler) Don't you think?


Glynn | 235 comments Amy wrote: "DISCUSSION QUESTIONS #4, #5, #6:

Q4. I did have a very inspirational teacher in high school. His name was Joseph Cipriano. He taught Philosophy and also Latin. He was very witty and really stretched my imagination in lots of ways. I lost track of him after high school but heard that he had moved upstate and became the mayor of a small town.

Q5. It would be tempting to tell someone just to see their reaction. I might think twice about that for fear of ending up in a loony bin with no hope of escape back to my own time!

Q6. I used to be able to think about actors who could play the parts in books I was reading but recently haven't been able to picture that so well. I'm thinking that Keanu Reeves as Jake, and Charlize Theron as Sadie? They are both tall. Maybe Danny DeVito could be the yellow card man.


Glynn | 235 comments Amy wrote: During his final travel back in time, (view spoiler) Don't you think?

Yes. I think that is true... :)


message 33: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
By the way, if anyone else has any discussion questions to add, feel free. The questions I asked were just the main things I pondered while reading the novel.


message 34: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken | 9 comments Glynn wrote: "Amy wrote: "DISCUSSION QUESTIONS #4, #5, #6:

Q4. I did have a very inspirational teacher in high school. His name was Joseph Cipriano. He taught Philosophy and also Latin. He was very witty and r..."


Not sure who I'd have as Jake, but I couldn't get Laura Dern out of my head when reading Sadie.


message 35: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Laura Dern would make a great Sadie. Definitely.


message 36: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Sheridan (mikesheridan) | 2 comments DISCUSSION QUESTION #1
I've read a lot of his books, but because this was a time travel book it jumped to the top of my reading list at the time.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2
I like his rules, they are simple and easy for non time travel reader to understand. Plus it remove most of the paradox problems.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #3
No i don't think so, maybe because he travels back to a time that isn't something we can't truly understand because it so different like say Medieval. He sets it in a time with a lot happening in it, but it's not completely different from now.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #4
Nope, i've had teachers I've liked that's about where it ends.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #5
Unless I could 100% prove it to them, I would keep it to myself. Honestly if someone told me that I would be calling the crazy house. Plus who likes the thought of knowing you are the past.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #6
I pictured Ryan Gosling as Jake & Rachel McAdams as Sadie


message 37: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
DISCUSSION QUESTION #7
Jake, a common English teacher, seems to easily take on a time traveling mission that can only be accomplished by murdering someone. Is it justifiable for someone to murder for the greater good? If you were asked to take on a similar mission, would you be able to?

DISCUSSION QUESTION #8
If you could go back in time and change one event in history that you think would accomplish the most good for humanity, what would it be and why? Also, what possible negative consequences can you imagine as a result?

DISCUSSION QUESTION #9
How did you expect the book to end? How did you like the ending? Please uses spoiler cuts for your answers.

DISCUSSION QUESTION #10
In the afterword, Stephen King says that his son suggested the ending that was published. However, the original ending was very different. You can find the original, unpublished ending on Stephen King's website. What do you think of the original ending? Which ending do you like best? Please uses spoiler cuts for your answers.


message 38: by Dan (new)

Dan | 60 comments I hate to be the naysayer here, but I must say I was disappointed with this book. I agree there are some interesting elements. What I do not care for is the rather typical Stephen King aspects of the novel that are entirely superfluous. Mind you, I think Stephen King is a powerful writer, but there are certain common quirks that appear in much of his writing. For example, the entire episode with Harry's family was not necessary, and much of the description reeked of King's affection for describing gruesome events in great detail. The same was true of Sadie's ex-husband inflicting his knife wound--not necessary, and really just an opportunity for King to go into a little more frivolous graphic detail about the nature of the wound. Again, I think King has a true talent for vividly depicting this type of event (read Gerald's Game for a scene that made me physically ill; that is powerful writing indeed), but it's partly like seeing an actor you know too well trying to play a new character in a movie--you can't help but notice the actor and it can ruin the movie. In this book it was like red flags kept going up saying, "Here's another typical Stephen King scene."


message 39: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "I hate to be the naysayer here, but I must say I was disappointed with this book. I agree there are some interesting elements. What I do not care for is the rather typical Stephen King aspects of t..."

And that's probably why I enjoyed it. Since the last book I read of his was in the '80s, I don't know what's so typical of King that I would be cringing over it. I did hear a bit of that from my husband as he was reading it though. It would be interesting to compare the star ratings for this book from people who have read several of King's books versus those of us who have not.


message 40: by John, Moderator in Memory (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Well, I finally finished this book last night and I LOVED IT. The book got a little slow at times, but for the most part this was an easy read. I did check out the alternate ending on King's website, and I must say that I like the published ending better. (view spoiler)


message 41: by Scott (last edited Sep 09, 2012 04:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (artrobot) I'm late to this party (and joined this group a month ago) but I hope no one minds my two cents now that I've read this one. I loved the book despite some predictable plot points near the end. All the details made it an entertaining journey and I was impressed it never felt slow to me even though it took about half it's entirety to get to Jake's main mission.

I'd read the Dark Tower series and a couple other King books with more grotesque elements I don't care for. I especially dislike when he combines sex and the grotesque or sexual violence in general. I did fear King would include more of that here. I kept finding, however that the love scenes were sweet, never over done and the violence kept the wonderful 50s from feeling too sweet or safe and highlighted the dangers of his mission into the 60s. It felt appropriate for this story, to me.

I did like the bittersweet published ending. The alternate seemed anticlimactic for Jake's journey.

Of course part of me was hoping for the happiest possible ending but I knew better than that from King or the trajectory of this story. It would have felt cheap. This ending suggests (view spoiler) I guess that's not overly original in the time travel romance genre but I'm completely satisfied.

As I'm left wondering about the card carrying (view spoiler)

I also wonder about the accuracy in King's depiction of Lee Harvey Oswald. This doesn't make me want to read up on all the conspiracy but his aparent assertion that he was a patsy after the JFK assasination doesn't seem to gel with all that Jake observed before that day. It could just be part of his other almost bipolar personality flaws but he wanted to be famous and he publicly disliked JFK at that point (pro Cuba/Castro). For his other contradictions though, he seemed to love his family at times and be very cocky about his job skill and value but beat his wife and kept loosing his jobs (major insecurity?)

If I had read this and been a part of this conversation with every one else, I would have asked:
(#11) Did you became interested in learning more about these events after reading this book or if you were already well versed in the subject, do you think King's version fits with what really happened? (minus Jake's involvement, of course)


message 42: by Tealc (last edited Feb 26, 2013 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tealc | 34 comments One week length of read and not very enthusiast after finishing it. This book and its readers would have benefited from being half shorter, the part where he tries to stop Kennedy's assassination doesn't happen until about 700 and something pages into the book and King compensates by writing cheap violent actions.
The decision to kill Oswald is presented as simple and with no other possible choice. What about stopping Oswald from being present on the parade route that day? Drugs, sequestration, everything else would save both Kennedy's life and Oswald's with no murder. No, in King’s world killing is presented as the only possible plan in order to alter the course of events. So yeah, did not enjoy it, minority report.


message 43: by Dan (new)

Dan | 60 comments I am with you on this one. I was quite disappointed. Cheap, violent action is one of King's strong points, but it was not what I wanted to read in a time travel book.


message 44: by Holly (new)

Holly | 8 comments Dan wrote: "I am with you on this one. I was quite disappointed. Cheap, violent action is one of King's strong points, but it was not what I wanted to read in a time travel book."

Agree, I had to put this aside because of the cheap, violent action....tired of King resorting to this avenue to add dare I type, "depth". Under the Dome failed for this very reason as well.


message 45: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
a flurry of negatives at the tail here :) I havent read the book myself, just find it interesting after all the positives! So when I do get around to reading the book (if ever), I will lower expectations and be wary of excessive and very graphic violence, at least that's what I am getting from your comments.


message 46: by Dan (new)

Dan | 60 comments Tej, in my opinion it is not just a matter of graphic violence. The problem is pointless violence. King is a master of writing graphic violence. The graphic is not always extensive, but he has a way of writing it in such detail that it can literally be sickening (and I have to applaud him for his writing ability in that regard). However, most or all of the violence in this book was simply not needed. In some ways it was as though King decided he wanted to write one more of his standard novels with the usual violence and he thought that adding a time travel twist would be interesting for a change of pace. Thus, time travel is in some ways an afterthought and not well developed.


Tealc | 34 comments Dan wrote: "I was quite disappointed. Cheap, violent action is one of King's strong points, but it was not what I wanted to read in a time travel book."

Yes, this is the point, the time travel leitmotiv is "wonderful" but almost missing, squeezed in a few pages from 800.

I am sure that there are a lot King's fans who look at those many pages calculating how much blood can flow from them, he is indeed very good on this but, for time travel perspective is disappointing.


message 48: by Scott (last edited Feb 28, 2013 11:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (artrobot) I would just like to reiterate my opinion, as someone who is NOT a fan of over the top violence, that I found King's description here to be very appropriate. It could be that I was expecting more (this being a King novel) or that the scenes in the smaller town nearer the beginning set a certain expectation for the rest of the novel. It made the stakes and tension higher for me. There was nothing pretty about the real life assassination of JFK and this type of grittier reality served as a contrast to the idealized 50s prevalent on TV at the time and represented in the town where the portal through time comes out. This also seems important in selling the idea that time does not want to be changed. Like classic literary characters, the main character goes through hell to get to his goal as he and we know he must at that point.

The film Django Unchained, on the other hand, is an example to me, of entirely pointless over the top violence specifically in the last act where it takes a sharp turn to gory cartoon for no other apparent reason than shock or "cool" factor.


message 49: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Interesting points on the use of violence. I am not a fan of excessive graphic violence. I dont mind it when it serve rhe story and to heighten the fear and thrill for the protagonist in danger but i do get revolted by reslistic graphic violence and find it hard to stomach. I like cartoonish violence in spaghetti westerns and OTT horror films. I sometime find it cool. But from what you guys are describing, im a little too scared to ever read this one now!


message 50: by John, Moderator in Memory (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
I apparently didn't find the violence in this novel to be excessive or graphic as I have a hard time even remembering any violence at all other than the attack from the ex husband. But even that didn't seem graphic as it played into the story quite well. To me, this was much more a story about the desire for a simpler way of life and a romance that defied time itself.


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