Copyright 2011 by Gary L. Pullman
Stephen King can’t seem to help himself. For the past twenty years or so, he’s been writing when he really has little or nothing more to say (worth saying, at least). Instead, it bashes Republicans, conservatives, or whatever he sees as the monster of the moment.
His self-indulgent attacks upon all-things-not-Kingly are tiresome, not entertaining.
Apparently, he’s now given up even pretending to write about horror. Instead, he’s taking up alternative history--or alternative history and science fiction--as his new “literary” genre--or genres. In his latest tome, which is quite the doorstop at over 800 pages, King stretches his readers’ ability to suspend their disbelief to the breaking point and beyond by introducing a time machine (in the form of a “wormhole.”) A local butcher has been using the device to slip back a few decades and buy some cuts of meat at way more than bargain basement prices for resale in the here and now. King’s protagonist has a better idea: he uses the time machine to throw himself (and horror fiction) back more than half a century so he can prevent the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or “JFK,” as King prefers to refer to the former president.
The whole idea sounds rather more tiresome than entertaining.
But that’s understandable. After all, 11/22/63 is King’s fiftieth book. Apparently, he’s too tired himself, at this point in his career, to trouble himself to write words when numbers will do--or, perhaps, in his pastiche-prone way, he’s simply trying to associate his book with 9/11, another date which, like 12/7/41, lives in eternal “infamy.”
Apparently out of gas (or maybe full of gas), King trots out the trite and the familiar: time travel, JFK’s assassination, chaos theory, high school, teacher-writer protagonist (the novel’s hero, Jack Epping, is a high school English teacher, as King himself once was, before he became the Big Mac and fries of the literati), domestic violence, and a classic car (shades of Christine and From a Buick 8). He even tosses a little Groundhog Day into the mix. (Something’s gotta stick, right?) About the only thing missing is a St. Bernard.
Recommendation: Don’t buy it; if you must read it, wait until your local library pays for a copy out of your tax dollar.