2020 Hindsight Commentary: 19-2000, 20ft Halo, Now We Are Twenty-One

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by Gorillaz, Supergrass, and The Mr. T Experience.


The phone call would work better with a glimmer of false hope it was the redheaded girl looking to reconcile.

“Writing off” any concern about the tan van wasn’t really a mistake…

Why the heck would he give an LBDG acronym answer to a question about the logo without the LBDG on it? The explanation is pretty weak.

Why are there 2 doctors? And why isn’t one of them the same one from the other hospital blinks?

The AMs should be A.M. like chapter 10. (And like the Wilco album.)

Someone recently asked me how he didn’t notice the phantom card while playing all of those games. My explanation was “it’s on the bottom for a reason.” Rereading I think that logic holds up — though why it took him so long to notice the duplicate is a less explainable problem.

Aside from the very end section, not much happens in this chapter. The three big pieces are right (accepted to the study, they know about LBDG, someone left him a time-displaced playing card), but could’ve been folded into the next chapter more effectively.

20ft Halo

I guess there are at least 3 doctors, since the “first” one is different from the other two?

In hindsight, the scene revealing it to be the same hospital should have come sooner. Get accepted to the study, picked up by the van, drugged, wake up in the same hospital, a few tests, blink, LBDG, more tests, cards, older self finds him.

“Hadn’t yet happened to live that long” is now the frontrunner for most awkwardly forced lyrical reference that nobody will get but me.

The card technically should have gone through the bandage and hit his cheek based on the established time travel rules applied to displaced objects.

I forgot the redheaded girl was his first wife! (Funny how you can surprise yourself with your past self’s writing sometimes…)

Now We Are Twenty-One

And we’ve come to the backstory chapter! Yes, it’s a trope. But man, it’s a fun trope.

“Years from now and years ago…” is a great chapter opener, and would be an even better overall opening line to a story.

If time travel does exist, this “your conscience is your future self” explanation still makes a ton of sense to me.

Title alert: “Not just timely persuasions as they had come to be called…” (I can’t remember if this line begot the title or if I had the title and worked it in.)

Sometimes I think the microscopic injectable self-replicating nano time machines may have been an unnecessary and outlandish detail, but maybe not

All in all, this has been my favorite chapter to reread years later. I got so absorbed I barely stopped to nitpick as I’ve done previously. Yes, it blazes through a series of “tell don’t show” revelations, but the pace is crisp without feeling rushed and the reveals fill in a lot of blanks without feeling like infodumps. Author bias is certainly in play, but I’m sending my younger self a subliminal pat on the back for this one.

Check out the original 2008 commentary for these chapters:

19-2000  |  20ft Halo  |  Now We Are Twenty-One

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