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Fantastic observations and insights, cat.I have always liked this story. I always see the black pac-man like blobs from the movie now, I wish I didn't. They are much scarier in the story.
I found it interesting how different SK treats time travel in The Langoliers as opposed to 11/22/63.
"I think we've gone into the past and discovered the unlovely truth of time-travel: you can't appear in the Texas State School Book Depository on November 22, 1963, and put a stop to the Kennedy assassination."
"Take a good look around you, fellow time-travellers. This is the past. It is empty; it is silent. It is a world-perhaps a universe- with all the sense and meaning of a discarded paint-can."
The whole 11/22/63 book could not have happened in The Langoliers level of the Tower. It is a scary thought that yesterday and all yesterdays are just systematically disposed of. Nothing left to even show you were there. It hurts my head to try to wrap my head around.
Then, the opposite...
"Why shouldn't it be beautiful? This is the place where life- all life, maybe- begins. The place where life is freshly minted every second of every day; the cradle of creation and the wellspring if time. No langoliers allowed beyond this point."
Everything is possible, everything brand new. Fun to be had, mistakes to be made. I just really liked that paragraph.
I remembered Toomey of course, and the pilot and Dinah but did not remember how they got back, or even if they got back. Very enjoyable reread for me.