Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Title: All Our Wrong Todays
Author: Elan Mastai
Format: ARC
Publisher: Dutton
Publish Date: February 7, 2017
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

"All Our Wrong Todays" is a sci-fi story that shows the cascading effects of decisions. Tom is at a dead end. He works for an elite company that specializes in time travel in 2016. The problem is the company is owned by his father and Tom's elite job is really a pity job, which means that his co-workers who had to fight to get these jobs are almost unilaterally against him. Pushed to find a different outcome for his own life, Tom makes a decision that disrupts the whole course of the world. Will he regret it?

Tom's 2016 looks vastly different than our 2016. Imagine all of those stories about the future from the 1950s: hover crafts, flying cars, space-y looking buildings and you have what Tom's original 2016 looks like. I loved the juxtaposition between his initial 2016 and the 2016 he finds later on in the book (trying not give away the twists and turns here too much). The difference in detail was really good and makes the reader feel like they are really experiencing things along with Tom.

The world building in this book is really good. I was a little worried about this in the beginning of the book. Tom dives into a couple very technical discussions which do serve a purpose in setting the stage for the book but it's a lot of telling and not necessarily showing. It's necessary to have these things explained but makes for a dry beginning with a lot of circles. Once the context is set up, the book really takes off and makes for a great, thought-provoking read!

Overall, this is a book that I am going to be thinking about for a long time after I read the last pages. Decisions are powerful and I loved exploring how one decision changed not only Tom's life but the course of the world. 


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