Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Book Review: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays won't be published until February, but I was lucky enough to get an advanced
reader copy and devoured it in two days. I have a lot of feelings about this book, not all negative, not all positive. It's like one of those pieces of art that is supposed to evoke a lot of emotion from you, and that's the whole point of it. It matters not if the feelings are 100% positive or 100% negative, or somewhere in between, so long as you FEEL SOMETHING.

The book tells the story of Tom, a man in his early 30's who lives in 2016. He has a total "failure to launch" vibe about him. He's the kind of guy who uses his grief over the death of his beloved mom to score with three ex-girlfriends and one of his closest female friends. His inventor dad treats him like a kid (maybe rightly so). In short, he's not your typical protagonist. However, his world is something like all the futuristic sci-fi movies you ever saw or books you ever read. Moving sidewalks, flying cars, clothes that can be recycled overnight into a completely different outfit the next day, big tall buildings in huge cities, food that is automatically made once you made your meal wish known to the machine that makes it. It's pretty cool, but for Tom, it's lonely.

But Tom's dad has made a time machine and wants to send six people back to the day, July 11, 1965, when the invention that made this futuristic world possible was first turned on. Hijinks ensue, mistakes are made by Tom, and next thing you know, he has woken up in a world where his name is John, his mom is still alive, he has a sister, and it's the 2016 you and I both know. For Tom/John, however, it's a total dystopia. How can Tom make it right, and will he want to after he discovers his family isn't dysfunctional, and the love of his life loves him back?

The world-building in the first third of the book was a lot of fun to read, but it did get bogged down in the middle a bit, enough to start to bore me. Then the last third of the book really ramps up and gets good again. My other complaint is that it did get pretty confusing with all of the time lines converging and diverging. Lots of time-wimey stuff that was pretty hard to keep up with at times, but I still recommend it as a fun read for those who love time travel and paradoxes.

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