Here’s another sneak peek at some of the artwork from the upcoming The Book that Proves Time Travel Happens, showing a young person in nineteenth-century attire clinging to a log being swept toward a waterfall. (Of course there’s a waterfall. You don’t have a character cling to a log in a swiftly-flowing river without there being a waterfall.) It’s a deliberate echo of Eliza’s escape across the Ohio River in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book that features prominently in The Book that Proves Time Travel Happens. Stowe, being a sensible writer, has her heroine cross the river in winter when it’s frozen. My characters lack all sense and try it in mid-August.
In The Book that Proves Time Travel Happens a first edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin plays the role of what Alfred Hitchcock used to call a MacGuffin, something that drives a story's plot but which the story's audience really couldn't care less about, like the bird in The Maltese Falcon or the ruby sneakers in The Wizard of Oz. At one point in TBTPTTH, a first edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin winds up in a Ziploc bag, and the Ziploc bag turns out to be more important than the book. (Such is the nature of MacGuffins.)
Pictured here on the day he sold What We Found in the Sofa. His mood is cautiously optimistic.