Release date: February 7, 2017
My rating: 4 out of 5
The Short Of It:
A funny, imaginative mind-bender about time travel, finding purpose, and the world we're meant to be in.
The Long Of It:
Tom Barren lives in a 2016 that's a technological utopia, made possible by the 1965 invention of a clean, infinite energy source. His world has flying cars, food synthesizers, robots and Sunday jaunts to the moon, not to mention extremely low crime and poverty rates and what basically amounts to world peace -- and yet Tom is not happy.
His father is an genius inventor who's perpetually disappointed in his son, and his mother just died in a freak accident. He's depressed, his life lacks purpose and direction, he has no girlfriend and few friends. He's basically a loser.
And that's before a royal screw-up with a time travel machine lands him in our version of 2016. The thing is, in our world (which seems like a hideous wasteland to Tom), he's an extremely successful architect with a loving father, a mother who's still alive -- and a sister! As Tom navigates this alternate world, gets to know his new self and tries desperately to figure out how to set things right and return where he belongs, he begins to wonder if maybe -- despite its scratchy cotton clothing, books made of paper, ugly buildings, polluted air and distinct lack of self-driving hover cars -- he'd rather stay in our world.
That's where the book takes a surprising turn into intense, enthralling, mind-bending territory. If you liked Blake Crouch's sci-fi thriller "Dark Matter" (one of my favorite reads of 2016), you'll enjoy "All Our Wrong Todays."
I really wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book -- all I knew was that it involved time travel from a place where 1950s fantasies about the future actually happened -- but I was so pleasantly surprised by this addicting story that I read the entire thing in two days. I loved the imaginative, whimsical look at what our world could be if the we'd had completely clean, neverending energy for the past 50 years, and I enjoyed the conversational writing style (the book is posed as Sam's memoir of the time travel misadventure that changed his life).
Despite the time travel element, the inventions and the theories, I'd classify this book more as regular fiction than science fiction (though, of course, there's some of that too). It's got a lot of action going on, but I'd say above all it's a character study of Sam as he searches for purpose and peace in his life and deals with the unintended effects of his choices. And that makes it a good choice for all readers, even if sci-fi isn't in your reading wheelhouse. "All Our Wrong Todays" was fun, riveting and thought-provoking -- plus impossible to put down -- and I happily give it my recommendation!
*I received a free advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.