Friday, November 20, 2015

Time Travel Machines and Alternate Histories

Last night, as I drove home, I thought about trying to get to the library before it closes.  I have a book  on hold, and it's arrived.  But given the traffic, I decided I probably wouldn't make it. 

I knew I had a book already.  Earlier this week, I read this post of Wendy's, and I pulled Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet off the shelf.

Wendy calls it "a Thanksgiving book appropriate for November."  I only made it through the first chapter before I crashed into sleep (not the book's fault), but it's also like falling through a hole in time, with its talk of nuclear war, a war that will happen suddenly because a Latin American dictator won't pay attention to reason and may push the button.

Ah, yes, the nuclear nightmares of my youth--although I was always more afraid of the Eastern bloc despots.

I read the book on a family car trip, so I must have been in high school.  I remember reading about Meg all grown up and finding great comfort that she had outgrown all the awkward physical traits that she had in adolescence.  I remember reading the book and falling in love with Charles Wallace.

I look forward to reading the rest of it.

I may also watch the first episode of The Man in the High Castle, based on the book by Philip K. Dick--my favorite book by him .  The whole first season is available on Amazon Prime today, but I can't imagine when I'd have time to watch it, even if I was a member of Amazon Prime.

It got a great review on NPR's Fresh Air.  I'd like to see the first episode to observe this part of the review:  "The Man in the High Castle is Dick's alternative history story, based on a chilling hypothetical: What if the Allies had lost World War II? The action takes place on American soil in 1962, almost a generation after the war. Back when the novel was written, that was the present day. Now it's a period piece, but that somehow makes it even more evocative."

An alternate history set in 1962--what strands will be woven together?  Lots of alternative history here--interesting to think of the meaning of that word history.

Interesting to think of my own history, as I return to these classic texts of my adolescence.  I read Philip K. Dick in high school, right along L'Engle.  A few years ago, I reread The Man in the High Castle and A Wrinkle in Time.  They both hold up well, decades after they were written, decades after I read them.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I read The Man in the High Castle fairly recently, in the scheme of things, and did not know about the series. Thanks! Likewise, thanks for the heads-up on the grown-up Meg book. Where have I been?