Friday, June 22, 2007

time has come today (time!)

I know a guy who spent some years working intermittently on a novel about time travel. He might still be. Once, he was talking about it, and he said a big problem working on it has been that new novels about time travel keep coming out. He kept having to go back and revise what he had already written to take into account ways that other original ideas that were coming out in these new novels made what he was doing not original anymore. When I was doing short short fiction, I thought about writing a story about a guy trying to write a novel about time travel who keeps getting thwarted by an evil time traveler from the future who gives other, struggling-but-speedier novelists the guy's good ideas.

I kept thinking of this guy yesterday, because I read The Time Traveler's Wife on the plane back from Chicago. I thought it was quite original: it's a love story, the man has a disease akin to epilepsy only he time travels instead of having seizures--digressive link to everybody's favorite epileptic here--and the book basically permutes through all sorts of different clever ways this allows the lives of him and his true love to be tangled up with one another.

I really enjoyed reading it, although the prose itself is middling sometimes to the point of distraction. Even then, there was this sad part that had my eyes well up and me willing myself urgently not to have tears start down my face while in the middle seat on an airplane. I succeeded. I do worry I am going to become one of those people who is strange to sit next to on planes. My last plane trip, I read The McSweeney's Book of Lists, and thought the person next to me must think I was insane because of how I kept giggling uncontrollably.

6 comments:

Brayden said...

I thought the book had its moments, but I couldn't get over the creepiness of the adult man falling in love with the woman at the same time that he played tea with her as a little girl. And the fact that he transported through time nude and that the little girl kept an extra pair of clothes for him just added to the creepiness.

You have better luck than me. When I tried to hold tears in, it always comes out of my body in the form of a sob. I can't remember if I've ever actually sobbed on a plane, but I can remember feeling afraid that I would once.

jeremy said...

The way his biography worked, he fell in love with her first, and then started meeting her when she was a little girl. I liked how the time travel was this thing inside him he couldn't control and kept throwing him to times that were sometimes opportune and sometimes not.

Simpleton said...

I liked the book very much until I got to the end, which ruined it for me (feet).

Brayden said...

It's been a while since I read it so I'm sure you're right about the order of events. Still, I couldn't help but feel like the situation with the little girl was a little creepy given that he was in love with the adult her. Clever idea though, the inadvertent time traveling.

Chip said...

Try reading Richard Russo's "Straight Man" on an intercity bus. I rarely have occasion to guffaw (assuming that's a verb and not just a noun), but damn, that book is funny. I think the other passengers thought I was insane.

Lucy said...

I also read the Time Traveller's Wife on a plane, but was less successful at keeping the tears at bay. I should really know better than to read/watch anything remotely sad on a plane.