All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai


All Our Wrong Todays was one of the books I received in the special book sleeve edition of My Chronicle Book Box. This was a one-off box, and as with the regular quarterly box, there were multiple genre options. As I get the crime and mystery quarterly I opted for the science fiction and fantasy option for this box. This wasn’t a book I was familiar with, but as it was described as a time-travelling romance I was intrigued as it sounded different from sci-fi books I have read in the past!

The events in this novel begin in 2016, although it is a vision of 2016 where the world is more advanced in terms of technology and scientific development, a utopian world which is perhaps representative of what we expected from sci-fi and fantasy stories of years gone by. In this world is Tom Barren, whose father is one of those leading the way in science, specifically as an expert on time travel.  And with a major project approaching, these advancements look set to continue – that is until Tom’s behaviour jeopardises this opportunity, both for himself, his family and the world. We see what happens when something horrifying happens to someone Tom holds dear, and he sets out to put things right, only to destroy everything. The perfect world he is accustomed to is gone, and in its place a bleaker, dysfunctional world. The premise was an interesting one, the concept of time travel, and how one man’s interference had such a catastrophic effect. We see how the world has changed immeasurably, and how in his attempts to save one person, he has wiped millions from existence, and changed the paths of millions more, as he rewrites history.

Whilst I read fantasy fairy regularly, science fiction is something I pick up less frequently. The reason for this is that I find some sci-fi inaccessible, in that I find it hard to keep track of what’s going on and understanding the terminology. In the case of All Our Wrong Todays, for the most part I found it easy to read, and I was able to keep track of events as they unfold. There are even a couple of summary sections in the first half of the novel which recap events which was an unusual addition but helpful. The format in general is a little different, and it is told in the form of a memoir in which Tom records events for future generations, although in a fairly casual tone considering the extent of his adventures! Another thing worth noting about the format is that the chapters are extremely short. In a book of less than 400 pages there were over 130 chapters with some being less than a page long. This certainly gives it a ‘just one more chapter’ feel and as someone who likes to read whenever I have a few spare minutes this worked quite well for me, but it was a little disjointed in parts, and I felt like some of these chapters could have been merged. This book is also described as being charming and romantic but there were a couple of things I had an issue with. There were encounters between the characters that made for uncomfortable reading, and even under the guise of Tom being an alternate version of himself, it nonetheless made me feel a bit uneasy for its female characters. However, whilst there were aspects of the story I found problematic there were some interesting points raised through this story, and it is certainly one that makes you think. Particularly about love and loss, and how in this case where the past is rewritten, reuniting the characters with those they have loved and lost.

Prior to reading All Our Wrong Todays I was intrigued by the concept, and looking forward to reading a story which was a little different from my usual reads. On completion I found it to be a flawed, but for the most part enjoyable read about time travel, and the story of a man who travels through time to reverse the errors made in the present, to save the person he loves.

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