All Our Wrong Todays
by Elan Mastai
You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.
Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.
4 of 5 Stars
I’m pretty much compelled with some inner obsession to pick up any book I find that deals with time travel. Because of this deep fascination, I’ve read a lot of books with this theme and they can get a little repetitive. I’ve found that very few of them really deal all the way with the true dynamics and mathematical issues surrounding the possibility of traveling through time. I’ve just come to accept this as part of the story – ignoring the parts that make it less than realistic. The fact that I’m so used to ignoring these things is what made this book a little shocking at first. For the first time in my reading experience, I’ve encountered a book that addressed the spatial issue in time travel. I’ve got a friend who I’ve debated time travel with countless times and he always refers back to the issue of how the earth is constantly moving. To travel through time we have to move through time and space to an exact location which would require intense amounts of math that no computers are capable of. I could go on about my joy with this forever, but you’ll get it more if you read the book.
In retrospect after reading this book, I shouldn’t like Tom at all. He’s immature, lazy, lacks any drive, is obsessed with women and sex enough to make me believe he’s addicted. I dislike most of the choices he makes and was perpetually annoyed with him. Somehow, though, I really connected with this character. Even though he’s carrying around some personality traits that are frustrating, it’s understandable how he got them. His backstory is well fleshed out, his pain became my pain. As the story progressed this only became more and more intense. I felt his mistakes, missteps, losses, and failures on a personal level that kept the story moving really well.
While I didn’t connect with the other characters as well they are equally fleshed out and interesting. I especially fell in love with Penny as a romantic interest for Tom, she is the extra piece he needed. That leads me to the romance in the story which I found interesting. I’m not a big fan of the romance genre normally but it felt right in this book. It didn’t completely take over the story which I appreciated.
Overall, if you are a fan of time travel and want something refreshing this is perfect. Time travel is a large component but it’s a story that is far more about the characters and relationships. If you aren’t normally a fan of science fiction and want to go out of your comfort zone a little, this will work well.
Big thanks to Dutton and Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.