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May 1, 2010

Pagan Kennedy's remarkable book


Its cover pictured above, her 2006 novel is ostensibly a story about a drug called Mem that, once ingested, allows you to surf your past in mimetic detail, as if you were really there.

Shades of "Replay," Ken Grimwood's deservedly acclaimed story of the past captured and recaptured, over and over again and each time an alternate history.

No, Kennedy's book explores what it might be like to revisit your real past in lifelike detail as often as you wish, each smell, sight and texture identical to when it actually occurred.

No less a mind than Kurt Gödel believed time travel — to the past, not the future — to be logical and doable.

And that therefore time does not exist.

But we're here to praise Kennedy, not explore Gödel or Grimwood.

Do that on your own time.

Though her book has pretty much disappeared down the memory hole since its publication, currently ranking #550,514 on Amazon's hit parade (heh heh, just  wait and see what happens once this post appears...),


that has absolutely zero relevance to the power of the slim (171 pages) volume.

Every now and then, in the final half of the book, once Kennedy gets her mojo working (or maybe once I got my reading mojo working — after all, it's a two-way street last time I looked), you get a sense of that reality that usually only appears when you have a fever, namely, a feeling that it all does make perfect sense.

Excerpts follow.


It's more difficult than you might imagine to get angry at someone who is acting as if you don't exist....

Memories aren't just stored in your brain, you know; they're in your hands and arms and the muscles of your back.

After you've taken enough of it, the present moment begins to seem... arbitrary....

Ordinary memories "wear out" when you try to run them over and over again through your mind — they seem to tatter and fray the more you hold them up to the light of consciousness.

His voice. You couldn't resist it. He always seemed to be speaking to you as if for the last time, as if he were about to wink out, vanish, poof away into thin air.

The birds plunge into the grass, and teem among the fallen barley and wheat stalks, and then, as if on agreement, they rise up again. They're as choreographed as a cloud of dust. They're all of one mind. They have habits, yes. But they have no memory.

... I would be gripped with the kind of passionate curiosity that for me is a synonym for happiness.

May 1, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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"Though her book has pretty much disappeared down the memory hole since its publication, currently ranking #550,514 on Amazon's hit parade (heh heh, just wait and see what happens once this post appears...)"

You are SO right, Dr. Joe. The sales will hit the green light.

Posted by: Kay | May 6, 2010 7:15:37 PM

I must admit, it sounds very interesting. I'll add it to my list.

Posted by: Ana | May 1, 2010 4:34:38 PM

Ok, that little taste is all it took. I am buying!

Posted by: lt | May 1, 2010 4:21:53 PM

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