If only you could travel in time and make everything right. OK, stop shouting, we all know this to be a bad idea. Case histories abound or they would do if I hadn’t travelled back in time and wiped them.
Tom has a very clever dad, who is emotionally cold. He had a mum but she died in a freak accident by a hover car. He does not have a sister. He doesn’t have a girl-friend neither but there is someone he really likes. Except that is doomed to disaster. If only he had a time machine to make things right. Oh wait…now Tom is not Tom anymore. He is John. He has a girl-friend. A sister. A mum and an emotionally connected Dad. A good life. But it isn’t his.
This is a story of a man who knows who he is, even though the world has different ideas. It’s the tale of two Toms and his fight for justice in a world that is not his own or it’s a story of a man who loves and who feels morally responsible for messing up the perfect world he lost.
This really is a superb bit of storytelling. I felt the description of the world of Tom was great. There are some very moving moments and a good examination of how we define ourselves. The contrast between the two worlds and the pluses and minuses of both are highlighted by the family dynamic that has been completely changed by his journey. We make that journey with him both mourning and celebrating the new reality. All this is told with great clarity. The story is linear, in as much as one about time travel can be, but, of course, it is tricky in its own little way, too.
As the writer Elan Mastai, is already a screenwriter I guess we could expect this clarity of thought and, of course, the great set pieces which show the money on the screen. I’m sure this will be on our screens at some point. That’s fine but first there are the words and these show us lost worlds and emotions that is often missing in the cinema narrative.
I loved this and if any of my friends read Science Fiction, I’d buy them all a copy. So why are they my friends if they don’t read this? OK, I’m going to get them all one anyway, as they need to read something decent. This is what I want from my SF, lots of weird stuff with a great beginning, middle and end and not necessarily all in the order you might expect. I’m pleased to say I really enjoyed my time-travelling with Tom. I look forward to the future he gave us.
(pub: Veltman Distributie Import Books. 384 pages paperback. Price: £13.22. ISBN: 978-1-10198-650-9)