Off The Shelf: 11/22/63

11-22-63If you only read Stephen King for the horror, you’re missing some of the best stuff he’s ever written.  And 11/22/63 should be on everyone’s reading list.  Alternative history, History, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy Quest…if you’re a fan of any of those topics, this is the book for you.

It’s not that we didn’t know he had it in him.  After all, parts of the Dark Tower series are unabashedly romantic (in the non-adventure definition of the term), as was some of his later works.  This mellowing of sensibilities has led to some of King’s best writing in years, I think, and I’m not afraid to say it.  11/22/63 was one of the best books I’ve read in years, full stop. Never mind that it comes from the same mind that gave us such great science fiction stories as The Long Walk or The Running Man.  Those references alone should get you through the gate, but stick with it for one of the most satisfying Stephen King books ever.

If you are aware of the date the title refers to (and in this case, it has nothing to do with Doctor Who) then you know why a time travel book concerning itself with that day in November, 1963 might be important.  By keeping the travel mechanism vague, but the circumstances or rules of travel concrete, Stephen King managed to create a work that contains some of the best time travel theory I’ve ever read…and I’ve read a lot!

So you have the date, and you know it’s about time travel.  That’s all I’m going to give you.  Everyone should discover the details of this one on their own.  I wouldn’t even read the jacket notes.  Just jump in and realize that you are about to read a completely moving piece of fiction from a writer that just keeps getting better and better.

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