All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm always on the prowl for a good time-travel and alternate-reality kick, so when this one slid by me, blaring on its speakers that it was a very self-aware member of its species, I just had to turn my head an look.
I'm so glad I did. :) Hell, I even considered just reading the first couple of pages and then putting it off until closer to its actual publication date. It's months away! And yet, I went ahead and read it because I got sucked in.
It's a memoir. Yes. An alternate reality memoir with several time-machine encounters. So we're told not to expect any of the old tropes of "novelization".
We're dealing with a man's demons. The things he's done. The things he hasn't done. How he's treated people in his life, etc.
And it was fascinating even as I was getting anxious to get to the time travel bits. I was annoyed because Tom's voice was annoying and he kept repeating himself and he didn't seem like all that nice a guy. And yet, we're told that he's confronting his demons, so we sit back and try to be patient for the grand cataclysm that he's teased that he'd caused.
And then it happens. All the little build-ups, all the memories, all the little crappy things he's done comes back to show us that he'd been living in a freaking utopia. :) Everything else gets darker and more real at this point. And then all that talk about ex-girlfriends and his one encounter with Penelope that tipped him over the edge to do his utterly reckless *thing* then becomes a reason for living and continuing... and here it comes...
A love story?
Yes. A love story. A time-traveling alternate-dimensional love story with apocalyptic undertones.
And then Tom's voice becomes charming at long last. :)
Too bad the demons are still out to play.
This novel, ahem, memoir, just kept getting better and better. I really loved it by the end. I'm not saying it doesn't have its flaws, but those flaws are *worked* into the text and the author's skill at turning them into something beautiful cannot be underemphasized.
I'm so glad I didn't put this off. It's well-worth reading. Even from a straight SF standpoint, the author goes much deeper into paradoxes and consequences than I usually see in these kinds of novels.
But the real joy is in the characters. There's some real depth here.
Thanks goes to Netgalley for the ARC!
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