Tom Barren, ne’er-do-well time traveler, is to blame for everything.
In “All Our Wrong Todays,” a fun and funny debut novel from Canadian screenwriter Elan Mastai, we discover that he is the reason we do not live in a technologically advanced and enlightened utopia.
On Monday, July 11, 2016, Tom hopped in his genius dad’s prototype time machine, traveled five decades into the past and changed a pivotal event in world history.
Then, he returned to 2016 to find everything different, to find a dystopia.
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But here’s the twist: That dystopia is the world that we, readers of Mastai’s book, live in.
Turns out he robbed us of the futuristic Jetsons-style lifestyle we should be enjoying, one that comes with “flying cars, robot maids, food pills, teleportation, jet packs, moving sidewalks, ray guns, hover boards, space vacations and moon bases.”
The author — best known for writing The F Word, a 2013 romantic comedy that starred Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan — found inspiration for All Our Wrong Todays in his grandfather’s library.
“When I was growing up, there was a bookshelf in my grandparents’ house and lining it were old science-fiction paperbacks from the 1950s and 1960s,” Mastai says in press materials. “I was fascinated by them, especially the lurid, colorfully painted covers depicting imagined planets and imagined futures.
“Even as a child, I knew there was a disconnect between the future these magazines depicted and the actual real world I lived in. I wondered what had gone wrong. When I sat down to write All Our Wrong Todays, I did it with that collection of old pulp sci-fi on the shelf next to my desk.”
So, can Tom Barren, who’s not the brightest star in the galaxy, figure out a way to fix the flow of history and bring back the “better” 2016?
Only time will tell.
David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram
All Our Wrong Todays
- By Elan Mastai
- Dutton, $26