Sunday, December 18, 2016

All Our Wrong Todays

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Penguin Publishing Group: 2/7/17
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9781101985137

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai is a highly recommended novel of a screw-up, time travel, alternate universes, and romance.

Tom Barren comes from the world we were supposed to have in 2016, the future as envisioned by all the science fiction in the nineteen fifties, and The Jetsons (1962-63) - flying cars, all automatic doors, food and clothes synthesizers, etc. This is because in his universe on July 11, 1965 Lionel Goettreider turns on his invention, the Goettreider Engine, in front of the sixteen witnesses, and changes our future. His machine generates an unlimited source of clean energy. But Tom screwed that all up, and maybe Penelope did too.

Tom's father is a brilliant scientist in the field of time travel and is developing the first successful time travel machine. Although his father is arrogant and treats Tom with disdain, Tom is working for him, sort of, because he can't seem to find his place or a direction to his life in his 2016. When Tom falls in love, a totally unexpected occurrence, it sets into motion an impetuous decision that sends Tom into our 2016, a sharp contrast to the advanced 2016. Surprisingly, this reality may be better in many ways, but is this where Tom really belongs or does he need to try and get his 2016 back.

All Our Wrong Todays is a novel that you need to stick with through what may seem like a weak start. Tom's lack of self-esteem and confidence at the start of the novel as he tells us that he made a mistake and changed our future doesn't make sense until you get further into the novel. This means that the rather blundering diffident character you meet at the beginning doesn't seem very appealing. What Mastai is doing is developing Tom's character, which will contrast nicely with what happens later. Once the novel takes off, it is remarkable.

Mastai has created a time travel novel with interesting twists that open up alternate paths, but also seems to promote the idea that of a soulmate through all universes. It is extremely well written and, after the sluggish start, pick up speed and is an intelligent novel filled with insights. The dialogue sets it apart and elevates the plot. As other reviews have mentioned, this would make a fantastic movie.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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