2020 Hindsight Commentary: 22 Days, 23:59 End of the World, 24 Hour Party People

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 22-20s, Carter USM, and Happy Mondays.

22 Days

I alternate between thinking the split “For What It’s Worth” quote is super forced or conversationally clever.

It seems the old man figures out the “rules” of paradox prevention a little too fast, but that might be because he already knew the answer.

The Hate vs Love monologue always reminds me of the song “Love, Hate, Love” by Alice In Chains. But it’s really me conflating that song title over the lyrics to the song “Confusion” from the same album.

I have no idea what “That’s probably how you blinked out of the hospital the first time” means. I think he’s saying he lost the ability to time travel previously but got it back — though that’s unnecessarily convoluted.

Involving the Dad in the final jailbreak is the right move, though the manner of the recruitment feels a little too convenient.

23:59 End of the World

My third favorite chapter title (behind Wounded Kite at :17 and Won One)

“The plan itself was actually quite good” was not my best work for the opening line of a chapter.

“Winging it isn’t really the right word”—because winging it is a phrase…

Trapping Nelson I the past works plot-wise, but the setup and aftermath are pretty lame. I mentioned in the original commentary that I decided to stash Nelson away in case there is ever a sequel. Whether or not that happens is still a big question mark, but if there is a major arc would involve the narrator and Nelson teaming up on a time travel mission.

Can we trust what we learn about the Dad’s mindset when the old man is the go-between messenger?

Though a bit of a sneaky trick, the cliffhanger does pump some much needed intrigue into a sagging narrative.

24 Hour Party People

The explanation of the many little deaths is super confusing, but after a few rereads I think it does work.

“Repeating trips to narrow events down to a single cause and effect pair would ensure that positive changes are allowed to repeat universally rather than risking they’ll come undone accidentally” more or less sums up how time travel works in the 2017 novel The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland.

“Timely persuasion as a means to infinite perfection.” 🙂

On the other hand, I don’t think “if our timing wasn’t right…one of us would be dead from the other’s point of view” makes any sense at all.

I’ve always been wish washy on if I’d ever do a sequel, including in this series of 2020 hindsight posts. But in the midst of rereading this chapter I got an idea for a short story companion piece type thing and spent an hour loosely outlining it…

Check out the original 2008 commentary for these chapters:

22 Days  |  23:59 End of the World  |  24 Hour Party People

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