Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything (1962)

I'd been looking forward to reading this book for years. It's one of John D.'s few forays into science fiction, about a gold watch with the ability to stop time for everyone but the person who is holding it. This is also one of John D.'s few books that was turned into a movie, in this case a TV movie starring Pam Dawber which, based on the Youtube clips I saw, looked godawful.

About the book, it's pretty terrible, and maybe the only MacDonald novel that I just couldn't finish (I sped-read through to the end). It has a kind of joking, comedic tone that doesn't work at all, and the central conceit, the watch that stops time, gets very boring after a while. This would have made a much better novella or even short story.

The other big problem with this book is that it's laughably prurient. A huge set-piece early on involves the main character's girlfriend pulling off the bathing suits of all the woman on the beach while time is stopped, and then restarting the world with predictably wacky results. It made me think of Patrick Stewart's cameo on Extras and his "screenplay."

1 comment:

  1. This idea seems to have real legs: Nicholson Baker did something similar enough in his book, "The Fermata". Thats the only thing I remember about the book. I never read it, but I do remember that, Entertainment Weekly (I think), said that it was one of the worst books that came out that year it came out (1994, I think). I don't know why I remember that, besides the fact that one of my more deviant friends at the time REALLY wanted to read it. There's more space in the ol' mental rolodex that needs to be cleared.