All Our Wrong Today’s by Elan Mastai

imageYou 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.

Imagine Dark Matter on steroids, throw in a helping of 11/22/63 and sprinkle on  a bit of Back to the Future and you have All Our Wrong Today’s.

Tom is a bit of a screw up in the sense that his father is a genius and he isn’t.  He’s the kind of guy who girls just can’t get into and he gets jobs on the basis that because his father is a genius, then he must have some brains, but eventually his employers find out that he is a screw up and let him go.  Victor Barren is working on time travel and when he finally gets it up and running he puts Tom on a back up team for the trial run.  When a tragedy strikes and Tom ends up back in 1965 he changes life, not only as he knows it, but for everyone.  It all goes to hell from there.

Tom, Tom/John and others who make an appearance in Tom’s personality is fascinating to read.  How he longs for what he lost only to find that what he has just might be better than the failure of a life he left behind in the other 2016 timeline.  In our 2016 he is relatively famous, rich but also a bit of a dick. When he tries to prove to his current family that he isn’t nuts and that he has traveled through time from another time line, that opens up another can of worms for him.  Can he make things right or will it all go tits up and make things worse?

This is one hell of a mind twisting story that leaves your brain scrambled at the end trying to figure out just what is going on for a brief time.  There is a lot of scientific and technical talk but it is intrinsic to the story and while it seems all bit strange it really adds to the storyline.  There is a lot of internal monologue that floats in and out of normal speech with others, but there is a lot of rambling in Tom’s head. The internal battle to fight the other current reality personality in his head is also akin to him fighting the demons of his past as well as his present. He fights against the fact that his fathering the other timeline barely acknowledge his existence and he struggles with the family he has in the current time line. When he finds the proof he needs for them believe him it doesn’t go the way he expects.  He seems to always be at the receiving end of things he can’t control.  He wanted to prove his past father proud but instead he screws things up badly.  This is a story of a guy who in trying to do right just made it worse.

I know that this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it was a brilliant and amazing book!  One that dragged me in, I savoured and devoured it in equal measure.  The sheer brilliance in the way its written shines, well for me anyway, throughout the book.  It’s the detail in all the scientific  bits that you know aren’t real but written in such a way that is seems oh so real at the same time.I have to admit that I am struggling to find the words to do justice to this book but there is so much to take in and digest that I feel I am not doing it properly. It’s an audacious first novel,the attention to detail, the time taken to make it perfect shows…… oh and it took him 15 years to write!

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

5 stars

Crash

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Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson

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Jim Pike, yes that is his name, is disillusioned after two tours in Afghanistan. He has watched people he loves and cares for die and blames himself for not being able to stop it. He packs it in and takes a job that is safe, or so he thinks. He works as a bellboy at the Botany Bay Hotel in Houston and a Gulfcon is being held. Trekkies from all over will descend on the hotel in the next few days but fellow hotel workers are acting strange and start to disappear one by one. What starts off with a seemingly drunken convention goer starts a chain of events that will bring down the whole of humanity, as we know it. Jim becomes the reluctant leader of a pack of zombie survivors who try to get away from the hotel in one piece.

This book is a mash up of zombies, Trekkies, Apocalypse Now and Dawn of the Dead. The satire drips in globs and the irony is well written. I loved the use of not only Star Trek dialog but also the use of Star Wars dialog as well. The SW fans didn’t come out well in this book I have to say but the whole thing is not only funny but also well written.   It is a spoof and parodies many sci –fi movies but it’s one that works.   There are funny grotesque bits, like zombies chowing down on “Spock’s” brain. It is a survival story with humor and grimness alike.

This is a fun read if you are a fan of ST and sci-fi. I am a huge sci-fi geek to this book appealed to me. It’s a short read but I loved how it all worked out and it gave a small insight to convention life and die-hard fans. Some parts did drag out a bit longer than it should have, to me anyway. Sit back and enjoy the ride, oh and what ever you do, don’t wear a red shirt, we all know how it ends for those poor guys.

4/5 stars

Crash

 

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Book Review: A Long, Long Sleep by Ana Sheehan

10271616 The premise of this book just really appealed to me as soon as I heard about it – a dystopian and sci-fi retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It just sounded like it could be amazing if it was well done and luckily this was. I was concerned because there was a lot that comes with a retelling of a classic like this.

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep in stasis for 62 years when she’s abruptly awoken to a whole new world, confused as to her surroundings and where her family and friends are exactly. She finds herself thrust into school, trying to explain why she had been put into stasis repeatedly in her short 16 year life and attempting to make friends. For more complications she find she is heir to a huge empire that she can barely comprehend.

She tries to make friends and fails except for with Bren, the boy that rescues her from her stasis tube. He tries to bring her into his group of friend but Rose doesn’t adapt to that either. Rose finds a link of some sorts to Otto, a robot – kind of – in her grade that she begins a semi friendship with. All of this is new to her and she can’t figure out any feelings with anyone.

I really enjoyed this book for both the sci-fi aspects and the YA aspects to it. The sci-fi wasn’t too heavy handed or complicated. It seemed very straight forward and done well. So if the sci-fi part of this book description freaks you out you can ignore that part. The YA aspects with the friendship between Rose and Otto was kind of beautiful to me. I loved their hesitating friendship and how it flourished. It seemed very true to life – however much it could be with a semi robot in the mix.

I thought this was a very well written and well done retelling of a classic fairy tale. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.

4 Stars

~Melinda

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