Flashback Future


Technological advances dictate the kinds of things we’ll have available to us in the future, like smartphones, flying cars, and clean energy. In traveling to witness the miraculous feat that created his world, the narrator of All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai greatly impacts the trajectory of the world as he knew it.

The development of the Goettreider Engine in 1965 helped to create the technologically advanced world of 2016 that Tom Barren knows, and struggles to find a place in. With his father’s work on time-travel technology, Tom is given a job as a back-up chrononaut for a mission to go back to see the birth of the Goettrieder Engine. With a series of quick decisions, Tom manages to drastically change his life, as well as the universe. After accidentally interacting with the events of the past, Tom alters reality such that the 2016 he returns to is unfamiliar to him, but incredibly familiar to readers. As Tom tries to correct his errors, he learns just who he is and what’s important to him in life.

I have read many time-travel stories, which makes it difficult to read something “new,” but I appreciated that Mastai’s version as addresses some of the technicalities and paradoxes that would undoubtedly arise from such travel where others choose to gloss over them. Toward the beginning of the novel, there were portions of narrative that seemed to jump randomly between thoughts with little or no connection to the paragraph that proceeded it and the way that Tom addresses the reader shifts without much reason, but once Tom travels in time, the story becomes a bit more narratively cohesive with tangential thoughts linking to what comes later and Tom’s voice becomes much clearer. The chapters are short, which makes the pacing of the story go quickly, driving the narrative forward toward its interesting end.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

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