This blog is for yesterday, which I missed due to a half hour trip to the pub after work turning into a night of being classy (at least that’s what I’m calling it). Anyway, this topic presents a bit of a problem for me, in as much as I don’t particularly find many endings or plot twists surprising. I find them thought provoking, certainly, but they very rarely surprise me.
There are a few in particular which do stand out, though, in some cases because they surprised me a little, though others only for sheer awesomeness. I am going to look at three of them now, but please, if you’re worried I might reveal too much, don’t read on. I will try not to reveal everything, at least, and certainly not the endings.
One plot twist I loved (which is arguably a main part of the plot, but oh well), is in a novel by Stephen Fry called Making History. The book begins with Michael, who is writing a doctoral thesis on Hitler, meeting a physicist who shares this interest and, with him creates a machine which can send something back in time, such a small object. Soon the two steal a permanent male contraceptive pill, developed by Michael’s biochemist ex girlfriend, and send it back in time to the water supply where Hitler’s parents lived, before he was born, and essentially stop him from being born. The big twist here comes of course in the way that this changes history from this point onwards. The political history and unease of Germany still exists after World War One, but the Nazis are led by a frighteningly more competent leader who actually leads them to victory, helping Germany take over all of Europe, actually eradicating the Jewish population of Europe using the exact same formula used for the pill that created this alternate history in the first place (I think that did actually shock me), and causing the Cold War to instead happen between Germany and America. It is quite a confronting story, and I love that Fry went down this whole avenue of thinking – that perhaps, although none of us want to think about it, that period of history could have in fact been worse. There is of course a lot more to this story, and the ending is interesting, but I won’t reveal any more, but rather will recommend you read this one – it is thought provoking, to say the least.
Another awesome plot twist is in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, in that, well, the Earth is destroyed, and quite early on in the story. I mean, really, you don’t get any bigger than that, do you? In fact, all his books are full of great twists. For example, in The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, I remember being pleasantly surprised the first time I read it when I realised the end of the universe at which this restaurant was situated wasn’t the physical end, but the chronological end – the restaurant is caught in a time bubble, which watches the universe explode and come to an end around it, before sending the customers back in time to before it happens.
Lastly, one of my favourite endings is the ending of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I won’t reveal what it is, but what I will say is that this is a book which messes with your emotions, and for much of the last part of the book you feel like you’re being knocked down with grief over and over. But the last chapter actually made me burst into laughter for most of it. And then the very last sentence made me gasp and hold my hand over my mouth staring at the book wide-eyed for several minutes. I am not exaggerating any of this – the ending of this book really caused me to react this way. It’s just that good.
Are there any books you know of with surprising or amazing plot twists and endings?