July 28, 2017

Questioning my entire existence, but in a good way | All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays
By Elan Mastai
Published on February 7, 2017
384 pages
Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel

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.


Through an exploration of time travel and the infinite possibilities of the future, Mastai shows the true nature of humanity. 

But, this book isn't all scientific and philosophical conundrums. All Our Wrong Todays is the perfect mixture of humor, romance, psychological crisis, wibbly wobbly, timey wimey, and questions about the universe.

A lot of books are good at being one thing, like how Twilight is a good guilty-pleasure romance, but not a terribly unique fantasy. Mastai created a novel that is not only a good sci-fi novel, but also a great romance and an interesting memoir (in a way). 

For starters, the time travel aspects of the storyline are incredible. I have not really delved into the realm of adult science fiction very much, but I do know that Mastai has a uniquely intricate view on the space-time continuum. Even after watching six seasons of Doctor Who and reading countless YA sci-fi books, I saw a new perspective of time travel in this novel. Even though I hate physics with a burning passion, I did enjoy the "scientific" aspects of the novel. Mastai's explanations were thorough, yet simple enough to be understood by anyone, not just science geniuses.

In the end, Tom's voice and personality pulled the whole book together. The novel had a lot of things going on at a lot of different times (literally and figuratively). There were many concepts that would have normally reminded me of the horrible days sitting in AP Physics class, but Tom's voice was the voice of unreason that made me laugh, cry, and contemplate the real meaning of life. 

I am not going to lie--I hated Tom's guts when I started the book. He was a slacker who whined in his never-ending pity party. He complained about everything, especially how much he hated himself, his life, his family, his everything basically. 

His character arc was slow going (not mind-numbingly so), but definitely rewarding. His beginning as an unlikeable narrator turned into a story with one of the best narrators ever.  Most of all, I enjoyed his wit, sarcasm, and insightful self-awareness. His narration had personality and a nerdy kind of charm that enhanced the science and complexity of his story. There is nothing like a good self-deprecating joke to break up talk about time travel. 


(AKA what I learned from reading All Our Wrong Todays)

1. Time travel is immensely complicated, but also extremely fascinating.

2. "Should" is one of the most dangerous words. Creating expectations and refusing to consider other possibilities, opportunities, and consequences is not the best way to live your life. The gray space is where humanity thrives, not in the black and white where everything is decided for us.

3. Things don't always go according to plan, which is fine as long as you don't cause the apocalypse.

Have you ever read a book that made you think differently about life? Can you deal with an unlikeable narrator if they have a redeeming character arc? Do you have any recommendations for adult sci-fi, especially involving time travel? 

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