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Science Fiction Fantasy Blog

Our Discussion of All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

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. –Goodreads

Below are a sampling of our comments:

  • I liked it – once I got past page 105 - you could throw out the first 100 pages since it was followed by a short and very useful summary!
  • I liked the meta-structure, but hated the first 100 pages.
  • Tom felt guilty about “killing” billions of people in his first timeline, but he also enabled billions to live in the second timeline.
  • I didn’t like Tom in any iteration.
  • This book didn’t pass the Bechdel test.
  • The author was not good at character development.
  • The author would point out that Tom is a jerk and a bad writer, but no attempt was made to correct these flaws.
  • The chapters were so short they were like potato chips that you had to keep eating.
  • The utopia of the first timeline didn’t make a lot of sense and it wasn’t all that great. It almost seemed like satire of the Jetson’s with flying cars, etc.
  • The idea that life can be better in the “dystopian” reality you have than in the utopia you think you want, is a good one.
  • Unintended consequences were a big theme – with each technological advance, you have the corresponding accident that follows.
  • It was unnecessary for the villain to explain himself at the end.
  • A few new codes are needed to accurately describe this book - for instance: "schlubs become heroes" & "whiny." 

Please add any additional thoughts or comments you may have about All Our Wrong Todays. We gave this title the codes TTL, UTP, HOME, HIT, QUE, ALT & ETH with an average rating of 3.

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