Elan Mastai,
All Our Wrong Todays
(Dutton, 2017)

Tom Barren, the son of a noted but difficult scientist and inventor, lives in a perfect society: flying cars, moving sidewalks, basic needs met instantly and completely; a world without war -- in short, a utopia, with its roots in 1965. Now, in 2016, the ideal society has been achieved.

When Barren's father invents a time machine, his son is one of the people chosen to take the first trip into the past. Through a series of errors, the well-meaning but ineffectual Tom screws up the first trip by impregnating his fellow time traveler, a young woman who has been preparing for this journey for her entire life.

Sick at what he has done, Barren impulsively commandeers the time machine and sets off on a journey to make things right. Instead of correcting his earlier error, he makes another one and winds up in 2016 again. This time, though, it is our 2016, which is everything his own time isn't.

Will he be able to undo all of his errors and fix things so that the "right" 2016 will be restored?

That's the plot line of All Our Wrong Todays, the first novel by screenwriter Elan Mastai. The fact is, a plot summary does not do justice the joys to be found in this book; the voice, the tone and level of imagination is astonishing. The book succeeds not only as fantasy and science fiction, but as a thought-provoking examination of the nature of reality. The author asks the question "What happened to the future we were supposed to have?" and offers some provocative and imaginative answers.

The fact that the book is essentially a comedy makes the examination more fun.

All Our Wrong Todays is a fine entertainment which will remain in your mind and imagination long after you've read it.

book review by
Michael Scott Cain

15 April 2017

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