All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Welcome to 2016, but not as we know it. This version of 2016 was like a picture-perfect scene from a science-fiction movie: a world free from war and poverty, with hover cars, space-tourism, food replicators, shiny buildings and AI that catered to every whim. This was the resplendent 2016 we were supposed to have, thanks to the invention in 1965 of the Goettreider Engine, which created a sustainable form of energy that transformed the planet. With all of the major problems in the world gone, humans were free to dedicate their time to the pursuit of science and entertainment, culminating in what could be the most exciting development yet: a time machine. But of course, this perfect future would be completely derailed if, say, someone went back in time and messed up Goettreider's experiment. Maybe the result would be a world similar to the one we live in now: the world we were never meant to have.
|All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
|Category: General Fiction
|Reviewer: Louise Jones
|Summary: A time traveller derails the future by messing up a pivotal point in history. Can he get the future back on track without losing the new family and woman he loves?
|Date: March 2017
|Publisher: Michael Joseph
|External links: Author's website
All Our Wrong Todays examines the aftermath of this disastrous accident, when a chrononaut called Tom managed to completely derail the future and create the one we have now. He is suddenly thrust into an alternative 2016 which, to him seems primitive, but not without its appeal. For example, in his own world, he has lost the woman of his dreams, his mother is dead and his father, distant. He's also a bit of a hopeless loser. But in this alternative version of 2016, he is a successful architect named John, who designs futuristic buildings. His dream girl is besotted with him, his mother is alive and he even has a sister. So why go back? Because Tom feels that he doesn't deserve this new, happy life. In his own mind, he is a murderer who just wiped out the lives of billions. Tom seeks to do all he can to find the inventor of the Goettreider Engine and get the future back on track, even if it means losing his loving family and girlfriend.
I loved the premise of this book; it was so fresh and unique, especially the idea that OUR world is the dystopia in this case. The first person narrative is engaging and spurs the reader to keep turning the pages to see what decisions Tom will make and also work out how he even intends to put things right without access to a time machine in our world. I have to confess, I was so hooked that I read the entire book in one go. The chapters are only one or two pages long, so it was all too easy to just read another, and another, and another...
In spite of the compelling plot and unique storyline, there were plenty of things that disappointed me about the story. I had a big problem with the main love interest Penelope/Penny. She was a very different character in both worlds, but Tom loved her nonetheless because he had an intense physical attraction toward her. There is nothing in the text that indicates that their relationship is anything more than physical, so it is hard for the reader to relate to them and care about their relationship. In fact, most female characters are treated as either sexual objects or disposable characters; it is only the males that have any real impact on the direction of the story. Another aspect of the story that I didn't enjoy was the Jekyll and Hyde element. It seemed to add an extra layer onto an already complicated plot and felt unnecessary. When the author chose to expand the multiple-personality plot line in the final chapters, the result was messy and unconvincing; it spoiled what had the potential to be a good ending.
So I have very mixed feelings about the book. I understand that it is going to be made into a motion picture so maybe it will translate better on the big screen than it does on the printed page. Thanks to the publishers for my review copy.
Fans of Time Travel stories may enjoy The Time Traveller's Almanac by Anne VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
You can read more book reviews or buy All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai at Amazon.com.
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