The year 2016 at the start of this book is not the 2016 you knew. Because of the invention of the Goettreider Engine in 1965, energy production has never been an issue. Food is a formless putty that can be moulded, flavoured and shaped into any combination of dishes. Fashion trends shift by the minute, rather than by the season, since clothing is made from an endlessly malleable futuristic fabric. And, yes, hover cars exist. But while life in 2016 is good, Tom Barren isn't happy.
A perennial underachiever, Tom lives in the shadow of his scientist father's success. When Tom's mother dies in a tragic accident, his dad adds him to the team executing his most significant experiment: time travel to the exact moment Prof. Lionel Goettreider turns on his legendary machine. Tom isn't actually supposed to go on the mission—he's an understudy—but a sequence of events leads him to rashly activate the time machine on his own and catapult through time and space to 1965. The results are disastrous: A string of minute interferences on Tom's part leads to a complete malfunction of Goettreider's device.
When Tom returns to the present, it's the 2016 we knew, and everything—and everyone—he knew is gone or altered, including himself. Elan Mastai's debut novel is a must for any sci-fi fan, but anyone who appreciates whip-smart prose and intrepid imagination will also get a kick out of this fantastical time-bending tale.
All Our Wrong Todays (Doubleday Canada) by Elan Mastai, $32.