Commentary 22: 22 Days

The path to resolution begins here, and the narrator finally has his long awaited confrontation with Nelson.

Other tidbits:

  • We learn that the only reason a paradox hasn’t occurred is because the old man is still “displaced” in time.  Since the old man and the young narrator are the same person, time allows both of them to be protected so long as one is displaced.  In the simplest terms, if the old man was in his “present” when the narrator returned to this new body that would be the end.  The old man’s reluctance to go home is the only thing that allowed our hero to retain his consciousness despite his obvious genetic changes.  (I wish I had a clearer way to explain this.  Readers seem to be a little iffy on it except for hard core time travel geeks like me…)
  • There used to be a terrible scene with a lie detector test and a tape recording of a one way conversation just after the doctor shows up.  Read it at your own risk here.
  • The best thing to come from that aborted scene is the doctor’s “Thoughtful/Angry/Crazy man” speech, which I really like and salvaged in the final draft.
  • I also really like the soliloquy on hate the narrator gives in this chapter.  It’s one of his stronger rants exploring how hatred in general is often silly or baseless, much like his hatred of Nelson.  Fun fact:  My friend BoRyan found this scene to be fascinating, mainly because he has never felt hatred for anyone in his entire life.
  • Originally the time travel project started several years later as explained previously by the old man.  Here we learn the flipside of it from the doctor, who was visited by his future self and advised to start laying the groundwork earlier.  This is why the narrator is drawn into the project at a younger age.
  • The other thing that can be teased out of the doctor’s explanation of the earlier start is why there was a syringe during the narrator’s first brief hospital trip but not this time.  Using a similar strategy to that of the protagonist, first the doctor brought the full time travel technology back early.  Something went wrong, so he went further back and only gave hints and watched future travelers.  We’ve seen both timelines in the book.  The old man alludes to this when he says “Unless he did originally and has since undone it.”
  • “Revelity” is a word invented by a former colleague named Craig Bowers.  I may owe him a small royalty for using it…
  • There are 31 musical references in this chapter.

Read Chapter Twenty-Two Online

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