All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Those of us who crossed the space time continuum with Marty McFly will likely enjoy Mastai’s take on time travel.   

Tom Barren is from the Jetsons versions of 2016 - a utopia of flying cars, moving sidewalks, liquid polymer outifts that recycle daily, and more.  All courtesy of the Goettreider engine, a source of unlimited absolute clean energy, invented by Lionel Goettreider on July 11, 1965.

Tom is an only child whose mother died in a freak accident.  He is mostly a disappointment to his genius father, inventor of a time travelling machine. Tom and Penelope are training to be cosmonauts, or time travelers.  Tom is in love with Penelope, and following a glorious night with her, things go horribly wrong. In an emotionally-fueled bad decision, he travels back in time to witness the Goettreider engine’s unveiling and alters the future as he knew it. 

When Tom returns to 2016, it’s no longer the utopia he knew but rather the altered present (our today) his interference created. In this 2016 he is John, not Tom.  He is a successful architect and his family, including a sister, is delightful.  He locates a slightly altered Penelope and explains to her what is going on.  As he attempts to reset the future, John finds that he is torn between what he perceives is the right thing for all of humanity and the right thing for himself.  Does he deny the world all the boundless good that came from the Goettreider engine because his own circumstances are so much better in this substandard present?

For a science fiction title, All Our Wrong Todays is an entertaining mix of sci fi, humor and a dash of romance.  It deftly blends the realistic fiction of navigating relationships with the physics of time travel. In some ways, its alternate realities are similar to Station Eleven but with a much lighter tone.  The audio, read by Mastai himself, was outstanding.  This is his first novel. 

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