SYNOPSIS: In the world Tess lives in, time travel is real, and reality is fluid. Cultural Geologists, traveling to the past through five natural rock formations known as the Machines, can edit the past in minor ways. But, going to a punk concert in her past, Tess realizes that someone is trying to edit women’s rights out of history. Jumping between past, present, and future, Newitz tracks her quest to protect the female future and redeem her own troubled, violent past.
THOUGHTS: The more convoluted aspects of time-travel fiction are really well handled, and the science aspects are thoroughly enough explained. The book has a lot of energy, definitely capturing the punk culture that forms a big part of the background. There were a couple of things that kept me from really loving it, though. First, I struggle sometimes with time-travel fiction when it’s set in the past because I get distracted by historical details since I study history. I had to keep reminding myself that The Future of Another Timeline has an alternate past, but I still kept pausing and mentally arguing with how events unfolded, especially where they intersected with real political and social movements. Second, and related to this point, I felt the book lacked ultimate empathy. Some movements and characters were under-nuanced, seeming like caricatures of the views they were supposed to represent. I understand—and appreciate—a lot of the progressive sentiment of the book. And I’m not saying that people from past times shouldn’t be critiqued. But, I think there needs to be understanding, too, before critical response, and that was missing. Still, it was a fun read, and definitely one that made me think. .