“All Our Wrong Todays” (Dutton), by Elan Mastai
What if the world we know today is actually a dystopian society? Could the reason we don’t live like the Jetsons be attributed to one person’s mistake that altered the evolution of technology? Elan Mastai explores this possibility in his novel, “All Our Wrong Todays.”
It’s 2016 and life is full of handy gadgets that help you sleep, eat, drink and travel. The Earth is pollution-free, crime-free and poverty-free. There’s an algorithm to find solutions for most problems, which helps society continue to move forward at a rapid pace. Thanks to an incredible invention in 1965, the world as we know it never existed.
Tom Barren is a normal guy who works for his genius father in a research lab. After his mother dies and the love of his life breaks his heart, Tom bursts into the lab one night and tests his father’s time machine. He chooses to travel back to that fateful day in 1965 when history changed forever. Not only does he want to be the first man to time travel, he also wants to be part of something spectacular. Instead, he inadvertently alters time and space, thereby creating a new 2016. Our 2016.
In the beginning, Tom is overcome with emotion that he’s stranded in a wasteland version of his home. Close friends were never born. Inventions were never pioneered. Technology seems to have stalled. Just as he begins to panic, Tom’s mother enters the picture. A woman who has been dead for years. His sweet father follows, along with a sister he never had in his world.
Tom learns he is a world-renowned architect. He has a loving relationship with his family. He seeks out the girl who broke his heart and immediately falls in love with this slightly alternated version. Suddenly, this 2016 doesn’t seem like such a bad place. Should he fix what he did to history? Or should he stay in this world, knowing he would always battle his secret truth?
“All Our Wrong Todays” is an incredibly creative work. It’s as if Mastai time traveled and took copious notes of what a future utopian world would be. The science is as engaging as the romance. Mastai has mastered the art of endearing himself to an audience through both knowledge and entertainment. It’s definitely out of this world — or an alternate universe.